Northampton County

Situated in the Lehigh Valley along the Delaware River, Northampton County is home to a population of approximately 280,000. Northampton’s history dates back to the colonial days of William Penn, as the land was part of the original land grant from King Charles II that enabled Penn to found his colony.

The Moravian community also played a large role in the founding of the county, when they purchased a 500 acre tract of land along the Lehigh River in 1741. The Moravian Church continues to influence cultural life in the area.

Northampton County was home to the Bethlehem Steel company, which dominated the American steel industry for most of the late 19th and 20th Centuries, and was also one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world. Bethlehem Steel was the inspiration for Billy Joel’s song, “Allentown,” which is just one of the many ways that the legacy of Bethlehem Steel endures.

The County is home to many colleges and universities, including Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Moravian College, and Northampton Community College. Lafayette and Lehigh enjoy a storied rivalry. Their football teams having butted heads 144 times since 1884, making the Leopards vs. the Mountain Hawks the oldest college football rivalry in the nation.

Historic Bethlehem is a culturally rich area of Northampton County. Walking tours with John Adams, as well as a number of museums and exhibitions keep the history alive and preserve the area’s cultural heritage. Musikfest, dubbed America’s Music Festival, is a 10-day event each August, which showcases music from every genre imaginable.

Impressive year-round, Historic Bethlehem shines brightest at Christmastime, when the star atop South Mountain serves as a brilliant reminder that Bethlehem really is “Christmas City, USA.”

Along with being a cultural center, Northampton County is also blessed with great natural beauty. Both the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers run through the county, making water sports, such as kayaking and white-water rafting, popular forms of recreation. Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge, a federal designated protection area for threatened and endangered species, runs along and partly through Northampton County.