Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Where was US 22 in Allentown/Bethlehem?

I have a fascination with old maps and how cities, towns, and roads change over time. One of the questions I've asked is how US highway 22 was routed through Bethlehem before the current expressway was built. Remember, it was the Autobahn that started the whole expressway thing, so it couldn't have been there very long. Plus, as you go out west of Allentown, there are various roads called "Old Highway 22" and such. These lead eventually into Allentown on Tilghman St. It's easy to see that Tilghman is fairly wide, and the bridge over the Lehigh is old. I can follow the path onto Union Blvd and the curves, but once downtown Bethlehem comes into play, I get lost.

Well, the internet has finally answered my question. Maptech has historical maps including our area that show (almost) exactly where 22 was. (If it says "Currently Not Available", try hitting reload.) The 1939 editions, in particular, reveal that US 22 leaves Bethlehem on Easton Ave. In between, it seems that US 22 used Main St and/or New St to get between Union and Elizabeth.

I coupled these maps with AutoStitch to create full quadrangle historical maps. Now to find a nice large-format printer. Or should I just buy them from Maptech?

1 comment:

Nate said...


Going the other way, I've lost the trail of roads labeled "Old 22" in Bethel. The "Old 22" west of route 501 is a road with no outlet (I had a friend who lived back there). I'm pretty sure that even before the expressway 22 did continue west of there, but I'm not sure exactly where. Now I can go try to find it.