Between Strawberry and Pine Streets
Address: 540 Fourth St
Name: John T. Williams/R. S. Weaver
Year built: 1875-1880
Built by: Either John T. Williams, Jr. or his father John Williams
John T. Williams was the son of John & Emma Williams (325 Bridge St – no longer standing) and brother of Lizzie Horn and Annie Boyer of 546 & 548 Fourth. He worked as a weigh master at the Crane Iron Co until his retirement. He was married to Lilian Metzgar of Allentown. All of their children moved away.
The residence remained in the Williams family until purchased by Ralph and Mame Weaver in 1927. The Weaver ownership lasted until the late 1950s.
Weaver was raised in Catasauqua, graduated HS in 1888, and started out as a clerk at the National Bank of Catasauqua (in the 1890 directory, he is listed as living on Bridge above Second). He went on to become supt and gen mgr of the Catasauqua Gas Co, before moving to Port Jervis NY as supt of their Gas & Electric Co. He returned in 1903 and worked closely with Colonel Fuller and the Fuller family businesses. After Col Fuller’s death, he became president of Allentown Portland Cement Co, Valley Forge Cement Co, and Willow Brook Farms. He never married; he died in 1939.
Weaver was a descendent of the Frederick Weaver family who immigrated to this area in 1727. Weaver’s father Benjamin Hines Weaver came to Catasauqua in 1859 as a mining agent for the Lehigh Crane Iron; the family lived on Bridge St (north side) above Second, in a home owned by the David Thomas family. During the Civil War, Benjamin H Weaver, then a Sgt in Company C of the 47th, was injured at Cedar Mountain. VA. His wife Mary Duff Weaver died in 1903, at which time the Weavers lived on Walnut above Fifth.
When Ralph returned from NY, he moved into 604 Second (no longer standing, part of the Oliver Williams estate) with his father, Benjamin, and sister, Mary N. After that home was razed (bet 1910-2), they moved to 517 Fifth (across from the Dery Mansion). In 1917, the Weavers moved to 563 Howertown (Weaver bought the home from H Morley Holton, brother of Geo Holten, Bryden). Benjamin H Weaver died there in 1919 at the age of 86. In 1927, Ralph bought this, the Williams home. His sister Mary continued to live here until her death in 1957, at which time the home passed to “10 nieces and nephews”, one of which was Atty Thomas A Weaver, Sr. (son of Harry). Thos A Weaver, Sr (purchased 502 Pine in 1956) was an Asst DA for LC, solicitor for the borough and CASD, and a leader of the Lehigh Presbytery (died in 2000). The next occupant of 540 Fourth was his son, Ralph Steele Weaver, II, named after his father’s uncle.
Ralph had 3 other sisters (proceeded him in death) and three brothers. His brother Harry remained in the area, starting as an apprentice chemist for the Crane Iron in 1889 and went on to work for many iron furnaces in the region. Harry partnered with Bowen of Allentown in organizing the Allentown Iron Manufacturing Co, which focused on cold blast charcoal iron. In 1914 Harry became president of Lehigh Smelting (zinc). He was a member of the Catasauqua School Board and chaired the Education Committee for Catasauqua’s Old Home Week celebration in 1914, at which time he lived at 37 Front St. He later moved to Macungie and bred beef cattle. He married Linnie Erdman of Catasauqua and they had six children. He passed away in 1943; his wife preceded him in death in 1910.
The 1929/1930 directory lists this as the home of Ralph S. Weaver and a daughter, Mary N. Weaver. At that time he was associated with Allentown Portland Cement, Valley Forge Cement Co, Fuller Co and Willow Brook Co, all headquartered at 128 Bridge St..
Site History:The site was purchased by David Thomas early on, then sold for development much later. The 1876 map shows the lot being owned by W. Williams, possibly Walter Williams, one of John’s brothers.
Architectural Notes:Queen Anne styling with wraparound porch, round turret and textured gables. Double oak doors open into a central hall with wainscoting and elegant staircase which goes to the third floor. To the left of the center hall was the music room and the right, the library and dining room. The house appears to have been built, at least in part, on an older foundation, though no such building appears on any of the older maps/drawings.
Address: 546-548 Fourth St
Name: Frank & Lizzie Williams Horn – Edward & Annie Williams Boyer
Year built: 1885
Built by: John Williams
Edward D. Boyer, pharmacist and storekeeper, married Annie Williams, daughter of John Williams. Frank Horn, son of Melchior M. Horn, a founder of the National Bank of Catasauqua and its first Cashier, married Lizzie Williams, also a daughter of John Williams. Horn followed in his father’s profession and, after starting out as a cashier, became President of the National ank of Catasauqua.
John Williams built this double home for his daughters and their husbands on the SW corner of Fourth and Pine.
Dr Edward J. Rehrig, dentist, and his wife Nellie moved to 548 Fourth in 1914, moving in 1917 to 603 Pine. In 1912, they lived at 218 Pine. In 1910, Rehrig boarded at the Eagle Hotel. He had an office in bank building at Front and Bridge and for a few years in the Edgar Building at 527 Front. The Rehrig’s were no longer in town in 1920.
Architectural Notes:Queen Anne styling. Stories built with contrasting materials: the first floor is stone, while the upper stories are a mix of shingle, timbers and wood.
Address: 545 Fourth St
Name: James Thomas
Year built: 1902
Built by: James & Mary Ann Thomas
James Thomas was born in Philadelphia, September 22, 1836, and was the youngest son of Hopkin Thomas and his wife Catherine (Richards) Thomas. He inherited his father’s genius in mechanics, and early in youth thoroughly learned the iron industry, in which business his attentions were engaged all his active life and in which he was eminently successful.
James Thomas came to Catasauqua, from Tamaqua, with his parents in 1853 at age 17. He apprenticed at the Crane Iron Works under the tutelage of his father, Hopkin Thomas, Master Mechanic, where he gained extensive knowledge of the iron-making business.
In 1861 Thomas married Mary Ann Davies, who was born in Wales and was the daughter of Daniel Davies, a colleague of Hopkin Thomas and the sister of George Davies, who would become Thomas’s partner in the Davies & Thomas Foundry. When the civil war came, Capt. James Thomas led Company F of the 34th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Emergency Volunteers. Also during his life, he worked at the Carbon Iron Works in Parryville, PA and was general manager of the Irondale and Eureka Iron Companies in Birmingham, AL, making the first coke in Alabama.
The Davies & Thomas Company, Catasauqua, Pa.
The Wahnetah Silk Company, Catasauqua, Pa.
Along with George Davies, he was a partner in the Davies and Thomas Foundry and created the Wahnetah Silk Company. The partners also founded the Catasauqua Electric Light and Power Co and the Bethlehem Electric Light and Power Company.
James Thomas was a member or Grace M. E, Church, Porter Lodge, F. & A M., Catasauqua Chapter, and Allen Commandery, No. 20, Knights Templar. He was a Republican and was appointed as delegate to the national convention held in Minneapolis in 1892. (His daughter Ruth Thomas McKee recalled that he was disgusted with the back-room negotiations conducted at the convention and never again sought to be involved with politics.) He served for several years on the school board. He was a director of the Catasauqua National Bank. He supported erection of the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church at Fifth and Walnut Streets, where he was also an officer and was superintendent of the Sunday school for many years.
His biographies state “Mr. Thomas was one of the best informed men, reading broadly upon all matters of general interest and carrying his investigations into the best of literature. He was public-spirited, which, together with his high social standing and courteous manners, made him a very popular and honored citizen.”
He and his wife had the following children: Blanche T., wife of Charles R. Horn; Mary C. Thomas (died at the age of twenty-eight years); Rowland D. Thomas; Mrs. Ruth (Thomas) McKee, wife of William Wier McKee; Helen T., wife of Dr. James L. Hornbeck; Catherine R. Thomas (died aged eighteen years) and Hopkin Thomas. James Thomas died December 18, 1906 at his home following an illness with stomach disorders.
Upon James’s death, Mary Ann Thomas sold the home in 1910 to Grace Williams Kohler, oldest daughter of Oliver Williams.
Richard Otto Koehler came to America in 1893 from Chemnitz Gerrmany and became a clerk at the Unicorn Silk Mill. He also worked for the Bryden, Catasauqua Casting, and the Lehigh Clutch Co as a sales agent, traveling extensively. He and Grace Williams married in 1902; he died in 1913. After her husbands death, Grace married Pelham Harding. The 1930 directory lists this as the residence of both the Hardings and of William and Henrietta Conley, suggesting that the home was converted into apartments. Mrs. Harding passed away in 1945 and Pelham Harding died in 1947. They are all buried at Fairview Cemetery. The 1929/1930 directory lists this as the home of Anna Heilig Kohler (she married a Mr.Eastman shortly thereafter, and had their first child in January 1930). Grace Harding’s heirs, Paul Harding and Anne Eastman sold the property to the Binders in 1945, the current owners. The home/apartments have fallen into disrepair.
The property was part of the Peter farm purchased by David Thomas. The Thomas’s lived at 17 Second before building this home.
.Architectural Notes:The architecture is influenced by the Romanesque style, built of deep set stone.
Address: Corner of 4th & Pine Streets
Name: Holy Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church
Year built: 1926
Built by: Daughters of Mr. & Mrs. Oliver Williams
This church replaced the English Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity church at Third and Bridge (now the Library) built in 1874. The congregation was originally part of the German-speaking St Paul’s on Howertown Road, but split off in 1873 to form their own English speaking group, constructing the English Church of the Holy Trinity at Third and Bridge St, currently the Catasauqua Library.
As a memorial to their mother, Jessica Holton, Winifred Emmanuel, and Grace Harding donated funds to build this new church at Fourth & Pine, which began services in 1926. The center stained glass window and the window at the back of the altar were relocated from the previous church building. Other windows were donated by local families at that time. The congregation also purchased a three manual Moeller pipe organ for the church. In 1989, five rooms were added on between the church and parish building. The coal cellar was remodeled into a Sunday School room.
Other Site History: Land was originally part of Faust Farm, purchased by David Thomas. The deed book shows that Lizzie & Louise horn sold land to Holy Trinity in 1928,1929
Address: 605 Fourth St
Name: William W. McKee
Year built: 1891
Built by: James Thomas
Wm. McKee was the son of James H. McKee, who formed the firm of McKee, Fuller & Co with James W. Fuller II, as a car builder and manufacturer of wheels and axles for railroad cars. McKee, Fuller & Co later took over the operations of the Lehigh Car, Wheel and Axle Works at Ferndale (Fullerton).
William McKee served first as a mining engineer with Eckley Coxe Coal Co. before going to work in the family business where he became President of McKee, Fuller & Co and a stockholder in Lehigh Car, Wheel and Axle Co at Fullerton. Later he had charge of the Catasauqua Electric Light and Power Co. He graduated from Polytechnic School in Philadelphia and the University of Freiburg, Germany.
He married Ruth, daughter of James and Mary Ann (Davies) Thomas. The house was a wedding gift from Ruth’s father, James Thomas who lived at 545 Fourth St. William was a member of the Porter Lodge, Lulu Temple (Philadelphia) and the Catasauqua Club.
Architectural Notes:The home is granite construction, Queen Anne style with wrap-around porch. Note the copper beech trees in the neighborhood. These trees are reported to have been brought here by David Thomas from Wales, and many mansions in the neighborhood had large lawns shaded by copper beech trees. The trees have recently been reaching the end of their life after ~ 150 yrs.
Site History: The home is now apartments and was recently renovated by the current owner.