Wealth and Prosperity in Mauch Chunk/Jim Thorpe PA

All the information that I’m about to post here came from the Mauch
Chunck
Historical Society I will include the link to the site. I  did not
write any of
this it’s right from the site I’m only barrowing the information from them. I do
not own any of the information that  I’m about to post. Here
is the link to the
page where you can find all the information on and where I
barrowed the
information from as well
:http://mauchchunkhistory.com/home.html

 

900
Mauch Chunk,
founded in 1818 as a company town, went through a boom period that lasted
through the rest of the century as the importance of anthracite became central
to the American Industrial Revolution and the American way of life. Men of
modest means and men of no means at all came to the town and got swept up in the
success and opportunity the town afforded them. Some became millionaires several
times over. Even those who did not become millionaires did well for themselves –
the tide of prosperity raised nearly all the boats of Mauch Chunk.

This vigorous era
reached its peak in the last quarter of the 19th century. As that era began most
of Mauch Chunk’s “old money” families were still centered here. The next
generation was still young, but they were maturing and not all were destined to
remain in Mauch Chunk.

Industry in Mauch
Chunk bustled and there was plenty of employment in various enterprises. These
included the coal business, three railroads and their attendant shops and yards,
the Lehigh Canal and the boat building enterprises, breweries, construction
companies, two iron plants plus a wire rope mill, two newspapers, a tannery and
a tallow plant. Besides these businesses, Mauch Chunk was also the county seat
and there was a wealth of lawyers along with the clerks and secretaries needed
in the various offices.

During this era
there was an exceptional set of individuals who were the leaders of the town and
industry. Nearly all had made their fortune and fame in the coal and rail
industries and nearly all were millionaires. And in the late 19th century, being
a millionaire truly meant something. They included (in order of when they passed
from the scene):

1. John Lentz
1793-1875
2. Daniel Bertsch 1801-1877
3. Asa Packer 1805-1879
4.
Charles Albright 1830-1880
5. John Leisenring 1819-1884
6. Harry E. Packer
1850-1884
7. Fisher Hazard 1829-1888
8. Alexander W. Butler
1823-1889
9. Andrew A. Douglas 1818-1890
10. Albert G. Brodhead
1815-1891
11. William Lilly 1821-1893

12. Robert Klotz
1819-1895
13. Charles O. Skeer 1818-1898
14. James I. Blakslee
1815-1901
15. Allen Craig 1835-1902
16. Nathan D. Cortright
1817-1902
17. Francis R. Sayre 1821-1908
18. John C. Dolon
1832-1914
19. Leonard Yaeger 1824-1919
20. John S. Wentz 1838-1919
21.
Mahlon Kemmerer 1843-1925

These were the men
who built the great mansions on Front Hill overlooking the Lehigh. These were
the men who built the townhouses of Millionaire’s Row on Broadway. These were
the “royalty” of old Mauch Chunk.

As time
progressed, these town fathers began to die out and in some cases the next
generation moved on to the bigger ponds of Bethlehem, Philadelphia and New York.
The coal and rail industries would soon start shifting their main offices to the
bigger cities, too. Still, the momentum of prosperity continued to carry the
town along and there was a wave of construction during this final quarter of the
19th century that reshaped the town. It was high times in old Mauch Chunk while
it lasted.

Even as business
shifted elsewhere and the old families faded from the scene, another industry
had been growing, that of tourism. Mauch Chunk had been a tourism town since the
early 1820s when visitors came to see the taming of the wilderness. By the late
years of the century tourism had grown until, for a time, Mauch Chunk was the
2nd

most popular
attraction in the United States – 2nd only to Niagara Falls.

 

 

Wealth and Prosperity
The
victorian Era 1875-1900

Mauch Chunk,
founded in 1818 as a company town, went through a boom period that lasted
through the rest of the century as the importance of anthracite became central
to the American Industrial Revolution and the American way of life. Men of
modest means and men of no means at all came to the town and got swept up in the
success and opportunity the town afforded them. Some became millionaires several
times over. Even those who did not become millionaires did well for themselves –
the tide of prosperity raised nearly all the boats of Mauch Chunk.

This vigorous era
reached its peak in the last quarter of the 19th century. As that era began most
of Mauch Chunk’s “old money” families were still centered here. The next
generation was still young, but they were maturing and not all were destined to
remain in Mauch Chunk.

Industry in Mauch
Chunk bustled and there was plenty of employment in various enterprises. These
included the coal business, three railroads and their attendant shops and yards,
the Lehigh Canal and the boat building enterprises, breweries, construction
companies, two iron plants plus a wire rope mill, two newspapers, a tannery and
a tallow plant. Besides these businesses, Mauch Chunk was also the county seat
and there was a wealth of lawyers along with the clerks and secretaries needed
in the various offices.

During this era
there was an exceptional set of individuals who were the leaders of the town and
industry. Nearly all had made their fortune and fame in the coal and rail
industries and nearly all were millionaires. And in the late 19th century, being
a millionaire truly meant something. They included (in order of when they passed
from the scene):

1. John Lentz
1793-1875
2. Daniel Bertsch 1801-1877
3. Asa Packer 1805-1879
4.
Charles Albright 1830-1880
5. John Leisenring 1819-1884
6. Harry E. Packer
1850-1884
7. Fisher Hazard 1829-1888
8. Alexander W. Butler
1823-1889
9. Andrew A. Douglas 1818-1890
10. Albert G. Brodhead
1815-1891
11. William Lilly 1821-1893

12. Robert Klotz
1819-1895
13. Charles O. Skeer 1818-1898
14. James I. Blakslee
1815-1901
15. Allen Craig 1835-1902
16. Nathan D. Cortright
1817-1902
17. Francis R. Sayre 1821-1908
18. John C. Dolon
1832-1914
19. Leonard Yaeger 1824-1919
20. John S. Wentz 1838-1919
21.
Mahlon Kemmerer 1843-1925

These were the men
who built the great mansions on Front Hill overlooking the Lehigh. These were
the men who built the townhouses of Millionaire’s Row on Broadway. These were
the “royalty” of old Mauch Chunk.

As time
progressed, these town fathers began to die out and in some cases the next
generation moved on to the bigger ponds of Bethlehem, Philadelphia and New York.
The coal and rail industries would soon start shifting their main offices to the
bigger cities, too. Still, the momentum of prosperity continued to carry the
town along and there was a wave of construction during this final quarter of the
19th century that reshaped the town. It was high times in old Mauch Chunk while
it lasted.

Even as business
shifted elsewhere and the old families faded from the scene, another industry
had been growing, that of tourism. Mauch Chunk had been a tourism town since the
early 1820s when visitors came to see the taming of the wilderness. By the late
years of the century tourism had grown until, for a time, Mauch Chunk was the
2nd

most popular
attraction in the United States – 2nd only to Niagara Falls.

 

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