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The Waterfront BlogDid You Know? The Lehigh River

Did You Know? The Lehigh River

“The River Beckons”

The first ever tagline for The Waterfront project. In fact, this whole project is based completely around the Lehigh River; it was imperative to concentrate on the waterway’s natural scenery and serene atmosphere. There is a deficit of waterfront property available in the Lehigh Valley, but the benefits and quality of life simply being around water far exceeded what was available in the Lehigh Valley to date. From that existing issue developed The Waterfront plans today. 

However, in the process of learning about the emotional and physical attributes of the upcoming river district, a unique and captivating history behind the river was soon uncovered. The name “Lehigh” originated from “Lechauwekink”, a word the Lenni Lenape Indians, native to this region, used to describe the river. “Lechauwekink” directly translates to “where there are forks” most likely referring to the variety of tributaries on the river. To learn more, visit The Museum of Indian Culture, located by the Lehigh Parkway where you can learn more about the American Indian Tribes that inhabited the Lehigh region hundreds of years ago. 

 – Local Germans summarized the name to “Lecha”, subsequently English settlers would commonly mispronounce it as “Lehigh”. Hence, “Lehigh” stuck as the primary pronunciation. 

 – At 190 miles long, the Lehigh River runs through 7 counties and the cities of Lehighton, Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton. The source of the river is Pocono Peak Lake in Wayne County with the mouth being at the Delaware River in Easton. It’s classified as one of Pennsylvania’s Scenic Rivers meaning all or most portions of the river are undeveloped and remain in their natural state.

– Around 1818, the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company began to build a canal via The Lehigh River to transfer anthracite coal from the Pocono regions as far as Philadelphia. The canal was still used when the local steel industry was at its peak. The canal has since been transformed into the D & L Trail. A wonderful museum that you can visit to learn more about the culture and history of the Lehigh Canal is the National Canal Museum in Easton.

– There are a variety of recreational activities locals can partake in on the Lehigh River. In the upper course of the river, you can whitewater raft as well as canoe and kayak throughout. Jet-skis and boats are common on the Lehigh in Allentown. In warmer months the river is extremely active with fishing activity and hikers.

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