It’s that time of year . . .

The Gadfly invites “local color” photos of this sort

. . . when Mother Nature’s l’ill childrun head out on their own



sit too long in that chair

and you might have some trouble

getting up








someone’s feeling

left out







every house

needs a

greeter flower




Can you tell Gadfly’s not getting much work done on this hot day?

Bethlehem Moment: A trip to South Bethlehem, 1906

(Latest in a series of posts on Bethlehem Moments)

Bethlehem Moment 11
City Council
July 16, 2019

John Smith, 833 Carlton Ave

Read by Kate McVey, 1221 Lorain Ave.

Video coming

Bethlehem Moment: Saturday, May 19, 1906

A trip through South Bethlehem’s foreign district last night was a revelation. More than three hours were spent in the residential district of 5000 or more of South Bethlehem’s foreign population. Every type of foreigner — men, women, and children — were observed. Their modes of living were noticed and their methods of recreation after a hard day’s work were specially observed. With the illumination of only the house coal oil lamp the trip grew in interest step by step.

The men were sitting in parties beside beer kegs. Although it was now 9 o’clock many of the women were still doing housework. Some were ironing, other were washing clothes, while others were baking or sewing.  The children were allowed to roam about the yard and entertain themselves as best they could.

An evening party here in a room no more than 6×10 feet, in the midst of all its furnishings including bed, tables, chairs, etc., dancing was indulged in by at least four couples. The music was furnished by members of the party alternatively playing the mouth organ. The making of a “strudl,” a favorite dish, was keenly watched. The housewife makes what appears to be a dough. She then spreads a cloth over a 3×4 table, on which she places the dough and rolls it to the thinness of a drumhead the full length and width of the table. The dough prepared and rolled, she proceeds to place in the dough various kinds of vegetables and rolls, dough and vegetables into the shape of a sausage. This is placed in an oven, baked and served.

It’s beer from morning to night and sometimes from night to morning.  While there are many who have their liquor at their homes, there are still many more who patronize the various saloons. The proprietor of one saloon said he had as high as 700 come into his place in one night, and he only keeps open until 10:30 o’clock.

What appeared singular was the fact that quiet reigned. There was no fuss, not even loud talking notwithstanding that at least a dozen or more nationalities elbowed past one another.

Another fact noticeable last night was the positive evidence that the low or objectionable class of foreigners, the class the public at large hears much about, is not in South Bethlehem to an alarming degree. There seems to be more of the better class that keep to themselves and hustle after the dollar day in and day out.

Edited from an article in the Bethlehem Globe-Times.


The mural’d Southside

(The latest in a series of posts on the Southside and Neighborhoods)

Gadfly has rolling in his head some adjectives Kim Carrell-Smith has used recently in these pages about the “feel” of the Southside, the “feel” that we have and the “feel” that we want: cool, eccentric, quirky.

Gadfly loves the “feel” of the murals.

How ’bout the recent one on the Cafe the Lodge?

mural cafe

O, my, just gorgeous, right?

Well, the 3rd item at the Historical Conservation Commission meeting last night was approval for murals from Missy Hartney of the Southside Arts District for murals at three locations: Molly’s, Lehigh Pizza, and Bonn Place Brewing.

Take a look!

mural 1

mural 2

mural 3

mural 4

mural 5

mural 6
will hang vertically

Great idea!

“Our house, now silent, embarrassed, a piece of plywood, like a bandage, / Covering its wound.”

The Gadfly invites your creative work in whatever medium

Tony Hanna is the Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem. Before assuming that role in 2010, he was the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Bethlehem, a position he held for 11 years. Prior to that he was the Executive Director of Historic Bethlehem Partnership for 4 years, from 1995 to 1999. More importantly, almost 50 years ago as a young Engineering student at Lehigh University, he was fortunate enough to take two non-engineering elective courses in American Literature. His professor, a young member of the English Department, Ed Gallagher.


Robbed, we are now statistics, a police report number, lucky

No one was hurt. We are told they’re only things, some money, not much

We don’t keep cash in the house, except for my Etruscan money pot. Filled

Bloated, actually, ready to be emptied for our upcoming vacation, smashed

Like our vacation plans. The quarters, dimes, and nickels used to buy drugs

Or maybe food or clothing, I would feel better, but I won’t count on it. Drugs.

Our jewelry, each piece with a story, each a piece of our lives, a connection to

A friend, a family member, an event, a trip, a memory, our memories, stolen

And our house, violated, the front door, that said welcome, be our guest

Smashed, penetrated, like rapists they entered and crawled through the hole

And stole pieces of our souls, pieces of our memories, and

Our innocence, our feeling that this can’t happen to us. But it does and

It hurts and it stings and Pat, sitting silently, trying to remember what we’re

Missing, and when she does, she cries and she says, “I can’t live here anymore.”

They have taken more than things, they have taken our home, the only home

We’ve ever owned. Year after year, no problems, no regrets, no incidents

Sure, there was the time that I didn’t lock my car door and my briefcase was

Stolen. Kids, the police said, and the briefcase was recovered in a field. Kids,

Looking for a wallet, some money, not interested in boring files or magazines

About planning or development in Philadelphia or New York. This kind of thing

Only happens there, right? Philadelphia or New York? Not in West Allentown.

Maybe downtown, but not here. Why here, why us, why our house?

Our house, now silent, embarrassed, a piece of plywood, like a bandage,

Covering its wound. No answers, no suspects, just memories and the loss

The loss of faith, of innocence, of our home.


In the garden with H. D. (19)

(19th in a series of posts on H.D.)

Finding H.D.:
A Community Exploration of the Life and Work of Hilda Doolittle

Bethlehem-born writer Hilda Doolittle — H. D. —  (1886-1961) is
the “Lehigh Valley’s most important literary figure.”


we are unworthy of your beauty,
you are near beauty the sun,
you are that Lord become woman

O strong tree
sway and bend
and speak to me;
utter words
that I may
and cut upon my tablets
words to make men pause
and cry




O wild-wood,
let no serpent
with drawn hood,
know the world we know







swear to me,
by his mountain,
by his stream,
none shall mar
the Pythian dream






Finding H.D.:
A Community Exploration of the Life and Work of Hilda Doolittle

photos by Jennie Gilrain

Possible topics for Bethlehem Moments

(Latest in a series of posts on Bethlehem Moments)

In the last post in this series, Gadfly published a draft guide to resources on Bethlehem history for people committed to or considering doing a Bethlehem Moment.

Here now for the same purpose is — thanks to Scott Gordon! — a short list of possible topics.

This is only a sample to get you thinking. The topics for the Moments can be big or small, well known or unknown.

Note that several of the Moments so far are about day-to-day activities from the newspaper rather than what one follower called more “hard news” in the list below.  Gadfly can give you the link to where you can browse the Bethlehem sections of the Morning Call. Lots of interesting “history” there!

Anyway, the idea is that it should be your choice.

The founding (1741-1762)

The War and Occupied Bethlehem (1775-1778)

The first bridge (1794)

The canal (1829)

The end of Moravian Bethlehem as an exclusive community (1845/1847)

The railroad (1850s)

Beginnings of industry on the south side (1850s)

The Lehigh River flood (1862)

The Bethlehem Steel Strike (1910)

The unification of the three boroughs (1917)

Prohibition and the rough south side (1920s)

WWII and the Steel (1940s)

Origins of Historic Preservation/Restoration (1950s)

The Lost Neighborhood (early 1960s)

New City Center (1967)

People wishing to do one or hear more about the Bethlehem Moments should contact the Gadfly — Ed Gallagher — through the “Contact” link here or at

It’s an honor to do one of these Bethlehem Moments.