The land on which Fountain Hill now sits was originally farmland as much of Bethlehem’s surrounding area originally was. The tract of land below the Lehigh River was divided into several farms in the 18th century, most notably the Luckenbach, Jacobi, Crown Inn (and farm), Fuerer, and Hoffert farms. Much of the land to the east of the Crown Inn was sold to railroad companies or into building lots in the mid-nineteenth century. By the time Agustus Fiot bought a 107 acre parcel of the original Hoffert farm, much of South Bethlehem was filled with factories and railroad lines. Franz Heinreich Oppelt also purchased some 34 acres of the original Hoffert farm to develop a place for his “water cure” at the current location of St. Luke’s Hospital. Fiot named his estate, “Fountainbleau,” after the French village where he was born. When Fiot died in 1866, his property was sold to Tinsley Jeter, who dubbed his new development “Fountain Hill,” possibly as a nod to Fiot’s “Fountainbleau” or to the numerous springs that served as tourist destinations. In September 1893 residents of Fountain Hill asked the Lehigh County Court for permission to form a town organization. Incorporation was official late in November 1893, with a borough council established in December of that same year. In 1905 a movement to join Fountain Hill and South Bethlehem was rejected soundly on the basis that Fountain Hill was now wholly independent and successful in its own growth. The borough expanded again in 1919 when it annexed 255 acres of the adjoining Salisbury Township and was split into two wards in 1923. A small piece of land was annexed in 1949 completed what we know as Fountain Hill today.
For further reading check out Karol Strelecki’s Images of America: Fountain Hill.
Sources: Hunter, Colleen F. and Balsai, Jeff. A Condensed History of Fountain Hill: Condensed and Amended from “The History of Fountain Hill” by Earl J. Bauman. 1976