Just about everyone has seen the beautiful communities known as Parkridge and Lynfield. These state of the art, modern homes were designed and built to provide tenants with the kinds of modern amenities we all expect.
Many people, particularly youngsters and folks new to Bethlehem are not aware of the history of those two neighborhoods. You can find a lots of information on our History Page, but here we offer vintage photos of the properties as they once looked.
On the right, at the top, is a view of the former Parkridge project as it looked in the mid 1970's. This is a view, looking northwest, from the former Oak Lane. Off in the distance, you can see the old Rosemont Elementary School on Pennsylvania Avenue. Although the school still stands, today's Parkridge youngsters attend Clearview School. Back when the Parkridge Defense Project opened during World War II, there was an elementary school on the property, inside the community building.
The three black & white photos show views of the former South Terrace project. Built at the same time as Parkridge, it too was originally intended as "temporary war worker housing", built to ease the huge housing crisis created when Bethlehem Steel expanded to meet the war effort. Thousands of workers (and their families) were imported to Bethlehem to work at the flagship plant, providing war materiel for the allies. The men and women who worked in the plant in that era were genuine hometown heroes, providing what was needed to win the world war. The photos show the cramped nature of the "temporary" units. As many of you know, those 500 apartments were pressed into service as low-income public housing in 1953, and they continued to serve BHA until the 1980's.
At around the same time South Terrace and Parkridge were built to accomodate the influx of war workers in Bethlehem, the new Bethlehem Housing Authority committed to its first official public housing community. Construction of the project, known as Pembroke began just before the entry of the U.S. into WW II. When it was completed, it was pressed into service as "Temporary War Housing" and it was intended to revert to low-income public housing after the war. As most people know, Pembroke, South Terrace and Parkridge would all become low-income public housing after the end of the war to meet the needs of a growing city. Pembroke recently celebrated 65 years of service. The community has undergone several major comprehensive renovations, most recently in 1995. The photo at right shows a Pembroke building around 1975, prior to major renovations. At the time it was built in the early 1940's, the community was surrounded by farmland. Old timers would tell you that living in Pembroke was like living "in the country". Pembroke Road in those days was known as the Rt. 22 bypass, and Stefko Boulevard was called Newton Avenue and was little more than a dirt road from Pembroke Rd. toward Bethlehem Township.
1993- Mark Iampietro and Gene Gonzalez flank the retiring Ed Logar. Logar served the maintenance and planning functions at BHA for many years.
1956- Mayor Pfeifle and commissioner Litzenberger present Henri A. Bodder (left) with a citation, congratulating him for his years of service as a board member.
Some of the BHA staff members who attended the ground breaking ceremony for the brand new Parkridge community, in the late 1980's. Among those shown are director Frank Loretti on the left, Mayor Ken Smith, center, rear, and present BHA director Clara Kendy, next to the mayor.
2014 will mark BHA's 75th anniversary year. All throughout the year, there will be special programs designed to educate the public as to the role our organization has played in providing affordable housing for people in need. On this page, we share photos and other images of BHA's rich history, celebrating the people and events that shaped the organization.
Here are some clippings from local papers covering the opening of Marvine in 1952, the groundbreaking for the Litzenberger building in 1966 and the dedication of the Pfeifle Homes in 1962.
From the 1970's - Clockwise from top left.
Personnel Manager Marge Pereda, from maintenance Carl Drake and Parkridge manager June McNally.
Right: Posing in 1962 are maintenance supervisors. From l - r- Dick Murphy, Floyd Derr, Ed Logar, unknown, Fred Packard, Joe Rittoper and Frank Arnold.
Left: Mark Iampietro and a young friend respond to a vehicle accident resulting in damages to 1100 block of Marvine Street. Circa December 1990.
BHA's original headquarters was in the building seen center right of this picture from the early 1950's. The Bethlehem Trust Building was located at the northwest corner of Broad and Main Streets. The BHA offices eventually moved to a building on Pembroke Rd. before ironically moving back to Main Street in 1973.
In case you were wondering: The land upon which the northeast properties exist was at one time farmland. The acreage was purchased by BHA to make room for hundreds of much needed housing units after WWII. Here is a picture that shows just how rural the area was in 1952 as Marvine was being built.
Beginning around 1974, special shoulder patches were designed and created for use by the maintenance department, as called for by then executive director Frank Loretti. The circular patch (top left) was introduced with new maintenance uniforms in 1975-76 and was designed by a BHA employee. This patch was featured on the left shoulder of maintenance employees for years until it was modernized in the 1980's. The updated patch is rectangular and is shown at the bottom. This is the patch worn today, and it is placed on the shirt or jacket front/left breast area. The brown version was never used.
In the early 1990's, the Authority received grant money to start an anti-drug program. Among the early ideas was to start "resident patrols". These early volunteers wore blue jackets, supplied by the Authority, and emblazzoned with the oval patch shown (top right).
When former mayor and long-time BHA chairman Robert Pfeifle died in 1958, his funeral was said to be one of the largest in City history. Click here to read about it.
Left to right: View from above of the new (1962) Pfeifle Homes...Monocacy Tower from the parking garage...downtown Bethlehem today and 40 years earlier...West Broad looking toward Main....the original iron bridge known as the New Street Toll bridge. Motorists paid a nickel to use it, pedestrians had to ante up a penny! The bridge was about 100 years old when it was replaced in 1970 by the Fahey Bridge.
From 1979, BHA commissioners pose with Marjorie B. Fink. From left - right, Rev. Frank Flisser, William Gorscan, Robert Donchez, Joe Albanese and Victor Garcia.
452 North New Street- This was the home of Robert Nuemeyer and family. The Federalist style home still stands along New Street. It has historic value, being built in the 1840's.
2025 Kemmerer Street is located in the northeast area, a block or two off of Easton Avenue. Ralph J. Bartholomew and family moved here from Fountain Hill and stayed until his death.
BHA pioneer, chairman and five-term Bethlehem Mayor Robert Pfeifle and family resided at 424 Webster Street until he passed away in 1958. All that is left is this parking lot, owned by Lehigh University. (photo shown below)
331 Prospect Avenue- Long-time commissioner Henri A. Bodder and family resided here in this lovely, frame home located in west Bethlehem.
Where did the people who provided homes for their fellow citizens live? Mayor Robert Pfeifle, first executive Robert Nuemeyer, executive director Ralph Bartholomew and long-time commissioner Henri Bodder all resided in Bethlehem. Their homes are shown below.