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The Borough’s Police Department is made up of a Chief, two Sergeants, eleven Patrolmen, and a number of special Officers. The Police Headquarters are on the second floor of Municipal Building. Two horses are used in the Department for mounted officers. The Department is supplied with a modern Police Alarm System, installed in the winter of 1913, which embraces 15 alarm stations. The Chief of Police is Michael J. Lynch.



The first lighting of streets in the Borough was done with coal-oil and gasoline lamps erected on cast-iron posts. In 1883 the use of gas largely supplanted that of oil and gasoline and continued until 1887 when Council entered into a contract with the Bethlehem Electric Light Company for thirty (30) arc lights to burn from dusk until 11 P. M., at least seventeen nights per month at a cost of thirty cents per light per night, the term of the contract being three years. Before this contract was entered into, the question of building a lighting plant of its own was discussed. Discussion of the same subject has been revived every now and then, but the lighting of the streets continues to be done under contract. There are at present 127 arc lights and 82 incandescent lights. The price of the arcs is twenty cents per light per night, and of the incandescents twenty dollars per light per year.



The Bethlehem City Water Company is the outgrowth of different water companies incorporated at various times for the purpose of furnishing public utilities.

The original Company was the Bethlehem South Gas and Water Company, incorporated April 13, 1864, with the following incorporators:

Robt. H. Sayre; John Smylie, Sr.; James McMahon; Wm. H. Sayre; and E.P. Wilbur, Sr.; who subsequently elected E.P. Wilbur, Sr., President; H.S. Goodwin, Secretary and Treasurer; and B.E. Lehman, Superintendent and General Manager. This Company was incorporated for the purpose of supplying gas and water to the village of Bethlehem South and the adjoining villages in Saucon, Salisbury and Hanover Townships in Northampton and Lehigh Counties.

During 1892 and 1893 a Subsidence Reservoir and new Pump Station were constructed and put into operation.

On November 27, 1899, the present Superintendent, H.M. Ueberroth, was elected Superintendent, and a new policy of expansion and extension of service went into immediate effect.

Some of the results of this new policy were the purchase of the property of the Mountain Water Co., together with all their rights, titles and interests, the extension of mains to Northampton Heights and the laying of mains from 11th Avenue and Broad Street, West Bethlehem, to the Melrose Hotel, Rittersville.

That the Company was desirous of giving its consumers the best water possible is evidenced by their contracting with the Keystone Engineering Company for the construction of a Filter Plant.

On November 30, 1903, the Bethlehem City Water Company purchased all the franchises and properties of the Bethlehem Consolidated Water Company into which was merged the Mountain Water Company, and the Bethlehem South Gas and Water Company. The new Company immediately engaged an engineer to prepare plans for a Slow Sand Filter to be constructed at the reservoir. By October, 1904, the Filter Plant was completed and the Company supplied its consumers with filtered water.

On September 26, 1906, the holdings of the Company were still further increased by the purchase of 30 acres of land along the Lehigh Valley Railroad, west of Fountain Hill. This purchase permitted making extensive improvements at its Pumping Station. In 1908 the new Pumping Station was put into operation, and the Old Station permanently closed, it being subsequently dismantled.

In 1912 the Company’s mains were extended to Didier in Saucon Township, and in 1914 from Didier to the Borough Line of Hellertown, Pa.

The Company now has under ground 60 miles of mains, ranging in size from 4 inches to 24 inches in diameter, assuring an ample supply of water for domestic purposes, and a splendid pressure for fire service.

It is supplying pure filtered water to a population of 35,000 in South Bethlehem, Fountain Hill, Northampton Heights, Didier, Lower Saucon and Salisbury Townships, Bethlehem (West Side), and Rittersville.

The daily consumption is 4,500,000 gallons.

In order to demonstrate to the Public the purity of the water furnished by this Company, the following is a copy of the recent analyses made by F.W. Green, Bacteriologist, Little Falls, N.J.:

1915 South Bethlehem water analyses

Its present officers are: M.P. Quinn, President; H.P. Brower, Secretary and Treasurer; H.M. Ueberroth, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer and General Superintendent, with offices in the E.P. Wilbur Trust Company Building, South Bethlehem, Pa., and in the Fidelity Building, Philadelphia, Pa.




South Bethlehem has a large number of residents who are commonly referred to as the “Foreign Population”. These embrace people of the Slovak, Hungarian, Wend, Polish and Italian races. The first of these people to come here were the Slovaks and Hungarians,. the first arrival being about the year 1877, since which time their numbers have constantly increased and representatives of their races added. Under the advice and leadership of their priests and ministers they have progressed very favorably, and many of them have acquired fine homes. They are industrious and progressive and form a very important part of the Borough’s population. The southeastern part of the town is made up in the greater part of these peoples. They have their own churches and schools, and are ardent supporters of every movement for the progress of the Borough.



Slovak is the name of the inhabitants of northern Hungary. They are descendants of the Slavs that settled on the south of the Carpathians, between the Danube and Tisa where they maintained themselves for nine centuries. A few emigrants came to America in 1869 and their success brought others. In 1882 the exodus was sufficiently important to be investigated by the Hungarian Government. It is estimated that there are now some 500,000 Slovaks in the United States, including the native born, Pennsylvania having about 270,000. The first Slovak emigrants came to South Bethlehem in 1878. Among them were: Geo. Tomko, John Tabula, Michael Balik, Stephen Tomko, John Balsay, Andrew Derner, Andrew Yurasek, and John Balsay, Jr. Later the little colony of Slavs was augmented by fellow countrymen from the coal regions, among whom were: Stephen Bednar Gasdaska, Stephen Gaspar, John Zeleznik, George Zboyoszky, Andrew Yanos, John Poniak, George Slofkosky, John Jurashek, John Resetko, Joseph Petro, Stephen Bires, John Jurasen, John Pulik, George Check, John Smith, Andrew Mickolay, John Todart, and John Bednar. They found a good friend in Dr. Brauner, a Bohemian, who aided them in securing work at the iron works. The Slavs first attended the Church of the Holy Infancy, but later Monsignor Heinen, of Mauch Chunk, assisted them in the organization of a congregation from which their present Church of SS. Cyrillus and Methodius grew. Land was bought from the Lehigh University by Father Heinen and Rev. Francis Vlossak, who came here from Louvain, Belgium, having been ordained at the American College in Rome. Rev. John Novaczky was the first pastor of the first Church, built in 1891. In 1896, the present pastor, Father Vlossak, took charge of the congregation and has continued ever since, except for a short period, when he had been transferred to Philadelphia. Rev. Joseph Panvek and Rev. Martin Meres were the pastors during that period. The present handsome rectory was built by the latter. The Parochial School has 400 pupils in charge of seven sisters of the Mission of the Sacred Heart. Besides the Church, School, and Rectory, the Slavs have two halls, the National Hall and the Catholic Sokol Hall, on Thomas Street. In order to encourage the people to have their own homes, Father Vlossak, years ago, bought up land near the church and sold it to members of his congregation, and hundreds of fine homes now dot the hillside. Three hundred families comprise the congregation. Among the many Slavs who became prominent citizens was the late John Gosztonyi, and the following: George Slofkosky, Otto Tachovsky, George Zboyovsky, George and Stephen Soltis, and John B. Gasdaska, who are active in everything that tends to promote the best interests of the community.



The Magyars or Hungarians, of whom there are quite a large number in our town, had their origin in the Ural Mountains. In the Ninth Century they migrated to Hungary, being like most of the races at that time — migratory in character. In 970, under their ruler, Duke Geza, they were converted to Christianity, and in the year 985 St. Adalbert, Archbishop of Prague, baptized the Duke and his son, Vaik, the latter being given the name Stephen. The latter succeeded his father on the throne in 997 and was crowned King of Hungary in 1001, Pope Sylvester presenting the crown, ar Gran. The Hungarian people thrived, and they have become one of the great races. There was some immigration in 1848 – 1849, after the war for independence, but it was not until 1880 that the great tide of those peoples began to flow toward the United States. In that year many of them made their homes here. Among the first comers were: Michael Orascz, Julius Hauser, Stephen Vaszil, George Medoe, Matthew Kuti, John Boszormenyi, N. Vasharhelyi, and Frank Grabacs. Like the other races from Southern Europe, which had come here, they found work mostly in the iron works. They have thrived here, built homes, churches and schools and organized societies for various purposes. Their two churches are: St. John's Capestrian (Roman Catholic), of which Rev. John P. Schimko is the rector; and The Reformed Church, of which Rev. Emil Nagy is the rector. The most prominent of their societies is the First Hungarian Sick and Beneficial Society. They also have other beneficial societies and a number of singing societies. “The Hungarian Weekly” is a newspaper published and edited by Nicholas Manaylovics. While the greater number of them are employed in the steel works, others are engaged in business, and all are a thrifty and progressive part of our population.


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