Bethlehem PA History Lesson

Bethlehem PAWhile staying at Sayre Mansion, you’ll get to experience some of the remarkable history of the Mansion and the area. Bethlehem PA is located in the Lehigh Valley region of the eastern part of Pennsylvania and plays a big part in the history of the state. Let us give you a brief background on Bethlehem PA and what makes our home so extraordinary!


In 1741 a small group of Moravians settled on the banks of the Lehigh River near the Monocacy Creek. This group of people represented what is now recognized as the oldest organized Protestant denomination, Unity of Brethren. The Moravians were founded in 1457 by the followers of John Hus. Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, the Moravian’s patron, christened the community Bethlehem in 1741. Six years later thirty-six different trades and industries were exporting their wares from Bethlehem to the surrounding areas. Bethlehem PA became a center of industry and trade with the advent of the Industrial Revolution.


To experience the history of Bethlehem PA, you don’t have to look very far. The town is full of historic landmarks and museums where you can discover more about the past and the impact that it has on the present.


The Moravian Museum of Bethlehem provides guests with a glimpse into the earliest history of the Bethlehem community. Tours of the Moravian Museum are full of interesting information on Bethlehem’s founders. Guests will learn about the Moravian’s medicinal practices and their day-to-day lives. The Gemeinhaus, home of the Moravian Museum, is part of the Historic Moravian Bethlehem’s National Historic Landmark District due to its beautiful and detailed architecture. The Gemeinhaus was built of white oak timbers in the German Colonial style. Constructed in two stages, the center and western portions were started in 1741 and the rest stared in 1742. The Gemeinhaus was completed in 1743. According to the building plans from 1742-43, the basic floor plan remains unaltered.


Another historical site to see is the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts. Kemmerer’s is the only Decorative Arts Museum in Pennsylvania and one of 15 in the United States that is exclusively dedicated to the decorative arts. Housed in three interconnected mid-1800’s homes, the museum features period rooms, changing exhibits, galleries highlighting furniture and more. Guests get to enjoy viewing the changes in style and design over three centuries.


Believed to be the first brick residence in Bethlehem PA, the 1810 Goundie House is a home that reflects the new architectural American Federal style rather than the German Colonial style. The home has a beehive baking oven connected to the kitchen fireplace, giving the house a little character. In 1970’s Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Martin sat on the stoop of the house to stop the wrecking ball from knocking down the house. The 1810 appearance has been kept up both on the exterior and interior. For more information on more historic sites in Bethlehem PA, visit the Historic Bethlehem Museum and sites website, here.


Experience the history of Bethlehem PA by staying at The Sayre Mansion. Located in the heart of Bethlehem, our gorgeously restored Lehigh Valley inn offers comfort and ease in 19 classic mansion guest rooms and three spacious Carriage House Suits. Enjoy a weekend walk through picturesque grounds adorned with century old trees . Experience the charm of the classic 1800s style mansion while enjoying the luxury of a modern hotel.  We look forward to having you with us soon!