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Old 01-07-2018, 11:35 PM   #1
The future is unwritten
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 64,213
Jan 8th, 2018: Bethlehem PA

You’ve heard of the star that appeared over the little town of Bethlehem.
Bethlehem, PA, was a star. Rich from steel and railroads, but that was then and this is now.
This lovely little cottage has an unusual garden shed attached.

This rather unique duo of abandoned delights can be found in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Once, Bethlehem was one of the richest, most industrious cities in America. It was the headquarters of not only Bethlehem Steel, the second largest steel company in the country, but the sprawling, Lehigh Valley Railroad.
One of the great, old railway companies, the Lehigh spread its reach from Buffalo, through Pennsylvania and down to New York City. Mostly used to transport rich seams of anthracite coal, it became known as the Route of the Black Diamond. Its headquarters were in Bethlehem, PA, and money flowed through the city, which soon became home to many grandiose mansions for the wealthy industrialists.

The house was designed in a Victorian Gothic style, mixed with Italianate flourishes. With a sweeping driveway, twenty eight rooms, and stained glass from the design studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany. With no expense spared, Wilbur’s mansion had one of the few telephones to be found in Bethlehem.
In 1925, the secret society, which had maintained a presence in Bethlehem since 1853, built a large, Art Deco temple, which they joined onto the Victorian mansion through it’s kitchen. The two architectural styles are in stark contrast to each other, and make for an unusual spectacle.

However, the Masons would be rocked by scandal in 2013, when it was discovered that their banqueting manager, who had overseen events in the Wilbur mansion, had stolen a quarter of a million dollars from the Bethlehem Temple Association. With their savings drained, the Masons had to sell.
Today, the mansion stands empty, despite being sold in 2015. Kept in pristine condition by its Masonic owners, many of the ornate fittings installed by the former railroad baron are still there. Plans by the new owners are for the old mansion to be turned into apartments and office space. The Art Deco temple however seems beyond repair, and is due to be torn down. According to the developers, “decades of mold and the degradation of the structural steel make it unable to be saved.”

Bethlehem steel, no doubt.

Everything is interesting... look closer.
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:16 AM   #2
The Un-Tuckian
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: South Central...KY that is
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Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
Bethlehem steel, no doubt.

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