Preserve America Community:
Easton, Pennsylvania, (population 26,000) was founded in 1735 by Thomas Penn at the junction of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers. Easton was created to be the seat of a new county, Northampton, and its stores and dwellings were developed to meet the needs of the government workers.
On July 8, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read aloud on Easton’s courthouse steps, one of only three public readings, and the new 13-star flag was flown for the first time. After the Revolution, Easton grew and was incorporated as a borough in 1789.
The completion of the Lehigh Canal in 1829 and the Delaware Canal in 1831 placed Easton at the center of activity. Tanneries, distilleries, and flour mills flourished as Easton served as a water transportation hub for shipments to Philadelphia and eventually New York via the Morris Canal in New Jersey.
Easton has stepped up efforts to preserve its historic assets by establishing a Local Historic District in 2005. The county’s Historical and Genealogical Society owns the Mixsell House Museum, which occupies a home dating to the early 19th century and houses artifacts from pre-colonial times to the present. Another property is the Jacob Nicholas House, named for its original owner, a Durham boat captain.
Each July, Easton hosts Heritage Day, an event that celebrates the reading of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The day begins with a reenactment of the reading of the Declaration, in costume, and is followed by performances by bands throughout town, including the Easton Municipal Band, which was present during the first reading. Other events include a Revolutionary War encampment, period activities, and historical walking tours.
For more information
City of Easton: www.easton-pa.gov
Community Web site: www.eastonpaonline.com
Online walking tour: www.walkingeaston.com
Posted March 16, 2009