Pine St Residential between Railroad and Second
Address: 119 Pine St
Name: Dr. John Schneller, Dr. Carl J. Newhard, and Dr. Wm. R. Dewar
Year built: 1890
Dr. Newhard opened a practice here in 1934 at 119 Pine St, before renovating and moving to 218 Pine St. He resided in Hokendauqua, and earlier, practiced there, before moving into the office at 119 Pine, vacated by Dr. John Schneller, Sr upon his death. In 1948, Dr William R. Dewar started his practice here. A naval reservist, he joined the CCC (Civil Conservation Corps) for a year of active duty in 1950, before returning to his practice in 1952.
Site History: The property was owned by William Michel (sp) at the time the Union Foundry was below the alley. When John Fritz sold the foundry in the 1850s, Michel and Thomas were the next owners of the foundry for a short period. The foundry vacated the site in 1901. Schneller, who owned the Schneller Block on Front St below Strawberry, bought the property above Railroad. The Majestic Theater was built on the property below Railroad (1909).
Address: 125 Pine St
Built by: Schneller
Year built: 1900
Also built by Schneller, this home was passed down to his son, Dr. John Schneller, after his death. See site history for 119 Pine St.
Address: 534 Second St – SW corner of Second and Pine
Year Built: 1940Built in 1940 by Catherine Schneller, the widow of Dr J. S. Schneller. Dr. Schneller was one of two sons of the Schneller who ran the hardware store in the “Schneller Block” at Front & Strawberry. Catherine lived here at the end of the block of row houses built in 1909. She replaced the end-of-the-row home with this newer home in 1940 .
On the even side of street, the 1898 directory lists a residence at 130 Pine St occupied by Frank C. Beck, a newsdealer, and his wife Sarah. This building no longer exists and no builidng along Pine is associated with that number on the Sanborn maps, though there are two, on either side of the blacksmith shop, that had Front St numbers (fractional). There was also a dwelling shown at the extreme rear, SW corner of the Oliver Williams property (no number shown).
Address: 616 Second St – NW corner of Pine & Second
Year built: 1875
Built by: Oliver Williams
Williams worked for Catasauqua Manufacturing Co for 25 years starting in 1867, first as manager, then President. It was the largest merchant iron mill east of Alleghenies during that time. Williams also was one of the founders of Bryden Horseshoe Works, where he served as Treasurer and President, and was President of Union Foundry and Machine Co until his death in 1904 (he and his brother David and Wm Hopkins purchased Union Foundry from D. Thomas in 1869). He was VP of Whitehall Portland Cement Co in Cementon, President of Cement National Bank in Seigfried, PA, President of the National Iron Association, President of the Eastern Bar Iron Association, and a member of the American Institute of Mining Engineers.
Williams was born in S. Wales in 1831, came to America with his parents at the age of two, and to ‘Craneville’ in 1840. For a time he left Catasauqua, moving to Philadelphia where he learned the iron moulder trade (1849), then switched to the optical business (1853), moved to Milwaukee for a time, then entered the leather business in Chicago (1853). He married Anna Heilig of Germantown.
He was a lifelong friend of David Thomas, and when David Thomas was looking for someone to run the Catasauqua Manufacturing Co, he offered the position to Oliver Williams in 1867, who then returned to Catasauqua where he remained for the rest of his life. He was a member of the Amphion Choral Society and the Oratorio Society of Allentown and attended the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Oliver had three brothers – Thomas P, David W., John – who also settled in Catasauqua with their families.
Other Occupants: George and Jessica HoltonGeorge Holten was born in London in 1868 where he obtained a scientific education and came to America in 1886. Prior to being hired by Oliver Williams, Holton worked at Pencoyd Iron Works of Philadelphia, then G.W.G. Ferris of Pittsburgh inspecting cast iron segments used in the construction of the first tunnel under the Hudson River (Hoboken Tunnel). In 1892, Oliver Williams hired Holten as a salesman for Bryden Horseshoe Co. Holten went on to establish sales offices throughout country and moved up to sales manager and VP. Upon the death of Williams, Holten became president and treasurer until his death in 1913. He was responsible for the Bryden getting the order to supply the English government with horseshoes during the English-Boer war, keeping the local works steadily employed during a time of economic stagnation in the American marketplace.
George Holten also served as a Director of the National Bank of Catasauqua and president and treasurer of Emanuel & Co. He was a member of the Catasauqua Club, Livingston Club (Allentown), Bryden Gun Club, Railroad and Engineers Club (NYC), VP of Lehigh Valley Symphony Society. He married Jessica Williams (the boss’s daughter). He died when he was only 45 suddenly and unexpextedly, leaving the Bryden and many organizatios in which he was involved missing his “executive ability, personal magnetism, pleasant address”.
The house was later the home of the Houghtons and in the 1940s-1950s was the home and office of Dr. Adamiak. It is now the home and office of the Lathrops: Janice Lathrop has been active in the historic preservation of Catasauqua’s architectural heritage as a founding and long term board member of the Historic Catasauqua Preservation Association.
Stained glass window inside entrance foyer
Queen Anne Tudor. The landscaping was featured in Country Homes Magazine in Sept 1922. The central hall has cherry wood wainscoting and an open staircase which extends to the third floor; large stained glass window is in the ceiling. Formal living and dining rooms and library have Victorian wainscoting and stained and leaded glass windows. The solarium has a cathedral ceiling and leads to the patio and gardens. Property is completely enclosed by a stone and iron fence.
Other Site History:
Miss Edith Pritchard Hudders was one of the prominent landmarks of the early village. She was of New England origin, born in Susquehanna County, her ancestors from Wales. She was educated and an expert with the needle. She taught school in the church basement and gave sewing lessons two days a week. Every woman with daughters was a patron of Miss Hudders, and the latter, with a calm and dignified manner, would cut a big apple pie for her pupils as willingly as she would a switch from the limb on which the apple had grown. Her home was on the corner of Second and Pine, the land now part of the 616 Second St lot.
The 1890 directory lists this now-gone residence as the home of George & Amelia Bower. Born in Lehighton in 1832 and originally a teacher, he married in 1851, and, in 1858, George Bower opened a meat business in Catasauqua with a slaughterhouse on Canal & Mulberry. In 1880, he was elected Sheriff of Lehigh County. He also served a term as Burgess, served nine years as a Borough councilman and three years on the school board. They had ten children. His son C. D. W. Bower took over the butcher business from his father in 1878 and opened the borough’s first meat market, expanding to two locations: one on Front and one on Second just south of Bridge. His daughter Emma married George W. Applegate, son of Jacob Applegate, and partner in J. Applegate & Sons Department Store which was next door to the Bower Meat Market on the SW corner of Bridge and Second. George and Jessica Holten purchased her father’s property after his death and later the Hudder property, tearing down the Hudder home to expand the lawn.
Address: 613 Second St: NE Corner of Pine and Second Sts
Name: Presbyterian Church (& Manse)
Year built: 1854-56
Built by: Congregation.
Prior to the construction of this church, the congregation, formed in 1839, held services in the home of David Thomas while constructing a church on the north side of Church St near Howertown Rd in 1840, the land for which was donated by the Crane Iron Co. When the ‘Church St’ building became too small, David Thomas/Lehigh Crane Iron donated land at 2nd and Pine for the construction of this larger church.
Though the church was completed in 1856, the congregation would not worship in the church until it was debt free. That same year, David Thomas built his home on the opposite corner of Pine St. David Thomas was a generous benefactor to the congregation for many years and donated the pipe organ in 1868.
Samuel Thomas, David Thomas’s son, gave a beautiful speech on the history of the church upon the Semi-Centennial Jubilee in 1904.
Architectural Notes:Built of brick, semi-Gothic in style, the main building is 40X63ft, exclusive of tower and pulpit recess. It has a transept on the south side and a organ transept on the north side. Memorials in the church include several stained glass windows, one of which is dedicated to Joan Dery, who died of typhoid fever in 1909 and was the daughter of D. G. Dery of Dery Silk. The chime of 11 bells was donated to the church in 1925 by members of the Thomas family in memory of Edwin Thomas. One of the original 1855 bells still remains. The 150 ft steeple was built by Cain Semmel, a local builder who resided at 527 Third St. There are 16 stained glass windows in the sanctuary; of special interest are two Tiffany windows.
Where the parking lot for the church is, there was previously a home owned by R. A Boyer: it can be seen in the 1873 Fowler & Bailey lithograph.
Address: 525 Second St – SE corner of Pine and Second Sts
Name: David Thomas Mansion/Mouer Apts
Year built: 1856
Built by: David Thomas
Prior to constructing this residence, Mr. Thomas lived at the SE corner of Front and Church, in a 2-story home built by the Lehigh Crane Iron Co. 525 2nd St was originally clapboard, but was encased in stone later by his grandson, Edwin.
Born in Wales, David Thomas received an education, being the sole son of a small farmer. Ambition and thirst for knowledge led to employment at Neath Abbey Iron Works at age 17, followed 5 years later by the position of superintendent at the Yniscedwyn Iron Works (and associated iron and coal mines) in the Swansea Valley. Thomas continued as superintendent for 22 years, though the works suffered from financial difficulties and change in ownership. In 1823, when George Crane took over, Thomas had already been experimenting unsuccessfully with using anthracite coal. After obtaining plans and a license from James Nielson for use of a hot blast process, Thomas and Crane constructed ovens for heating the blast in 1836, and declared success in 1837. Josiah White’s nephew, Soloman W. Roberts, was in Wales in 1836-1837 as an inspector of rails ordered by the Philadelphia and Reading railroad, when he met Crane and Thomas. He took back plans and specifications to his uncle upon his return in late 1937. Josiah White and Erskine Hazard organized the Lehigh Crane Iron Co and Erskine and his son Alexander went to Wales to meet with Crane in Nov, 1838. They signed a contract with Thomas on Dec 31, 1838 to design and build an iron furnace for the Lehigh Crane Iron Co on the bank of the Lehigh Canal/River. They purchased land from Frederick Biery, extending from what is now the canal to Howertown Rd, and between Church and Wood Sts. Employing Crane’s patented hot blast process, it became the first commercially successful iron furnace in America to use exclusively anthracite coal as fuel. Thomas remained in charge through 1855, erecting 5 furnaces, and then stayed on as cashier until 1865.
Shortly after the successful start of the Crane, he and others created The Thomas Iron Co in 1854, which built furnaces in Hokendauqua (Butz farm) and Lock Ridge (Alburtis), established the Catasauqua & Foglesville Railroad which connected Hokendauqua to the Lehigh Valley Railroad, coal and ore fields, purchased the Ironton Railroad, purchased the Keystone Furnace in Glendon, and Saucon Iron near Hellertown. David’s son Samuel served as President until 1887. The last of these furnaces, stacks 1&3 at Hokendauqua were upgraded in the 1920’s, shut down in 1927 and sold to Bethlehem Steel for scrap in the 1930’s. David Thomas was also a stockholder in the Carbon Iron Co at Parryville, PA.
Also in 1854, he purchased (with W. Michel) the Union Foundry and Machine Co (an early venture of Fritz of Bethlehem Steel fame) located at the corner of Pine and Front. He sold the business to Williams and Hopkins in 1869.
In 1863, he was one of founders of Catasauqua Manufacturing Co (CMC), serving as until 1879. CMC manufactured armor plate for ships during the Civil War, then tanks and boiler plate and sheet-iron afterward. The plant added an 18in bar iron and a 10in guide mill in 1866-7. Thomas purchased the Ferndale (Fullerton) rolling mill in 1870.
With Ritter & MacHose, he founded the Lehigh Fire Brick Co in 1868 to make lining for furnaces. Upon retirement of the other partners, his sons Samuel and John, and son-in law Joshua Hunt joined the business. D. Thomas retained financial interest until his death. The business was located at the NE corner of Spring and Brick St, between Front and the canal.
Thomas was president of the Catasauqua and Fogelsville Railroad and director of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. He was one of the organizers of Catasauqua National Bank in 1857; also a stockholder and director.
He was a trustee and executive member of St. Luke’s Hospital and a trustee of Lafayette College. He served as the first Burgess of the Borough of Catasauqua. He was one of the founders and the 1st president of the American Institute of Mining Engineers. He was dubbed the “Father of the American Anthracite-Iron Industry” by the American Iron and Steel Association. With the outbreak of the Civil War in the 1860’s, he chaired the committee to recruit and finance contingent of soldiers from Catasauqua to fight in Civil War. He built the first fire station, and helped form the Humane, Phoenix and Southwark fire companies. He was a principle backer of the “Academy”, a private school erected in 1851 at the SW corner of Bridge and Howertown.
Thomas came here with his wife Elizabeth, his daughters Jane and Gwenllian, and his sons Samuel, John and David. Jane remained at home her whole life, Gwenllian married Joshua Hunt, Samuel and John followed their father into the iron business. The youngest son, David, died in an industrial accident just before the civil war broke out.
Note: There were two Thomas families, both prominent in Catasauqua’s history: David & Hopkins, no relation to each other, though both were from S. Wales and apprenticed together at Neath Abbey Iron Works. In 1855, David’s son John married Hopkins’s daughter Helen; they resided in Hokendauqua while John was associated with the Thomas Iron Works there. The website, The Hopkin Thomas Project, is the repository of information on Hopkin Thomas and Catasauqua as a whole, including family trees of many residents of note and histories of the industries of the era. (link)
The home was purchased from Edwin Thomas (David Thomas’s grandson) in 1951 by Allentown architect George Yundt, who converted the mansion into 16 apartments. Larry & Cathy Mouer purchased the apartment building in 1972 and have maintained, enhanced the historical character of the building.
This corner of the intersection marked the NE boundary of the Breisch Farm, which extended between what is now Second and Third – and Pine to Church. David Thomas
purchased surrounding farms and developed many lots in Catasauqua, including much of the Mansion District, workers houses across from the Catasauqua Manufacturing Co, and the Church St area for the Crane Iron Co workers. Thomas sold off lots slowly, such that, some lots in what is now the Historic District lots were not developed until after his death. This home, built by David Thomas in 1856, was also occupied by his grandson Edwin Thomas and other family members and descendants.
On the NW corner of the lot, one can detect a rectangular foundation of the outside office of David Thomas.
Originally a wood frame house, Edwin Thomas encased it in grey granite around 1885, which was transported to Catasauqua on barges on the Lehigh. The turret lends a castle-like grandeur to the otherwise Queen Anne style home. The home is currently apartments. During renovations, three oil portraits of the Thomas Family were discovered in the attic: David, Elizabeth, and daughter Jane.
In back of the house was the original Carriage House for the David Thomas Mansion and the other family home on the SE side of Third St. The Rabe Brothers who started with a filling & service station on Bridge & Front, purchased 550 Limestone St in order to enlarge their quarters and expand a fuel oil business. The site was at the NW corner of Third and Strawberry.