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Bangor closer to being added to historical registry

By Jamie Stover, Reporter, JStover@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 18 2014 04:06:07 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 18 2014 09:21:03 PM CDT

A Northampton County community has just one more hoop to get through before making the nation's most prestigious historical registry.

BANGOR, Pa. -

A Northampton County community has just one more hoop to get through, before making the nation's most prestigious historical registry.

Community members in the Borough of Bangor have spent nearly two decades trying to bring attention to the area's rich history.

"We feel by looking to our past, and all that it stood for, that's what is going to take us into the future," said Sharon Davis, with the Slate Belt Community Partnership.

Earlier this week, the borough's historic district was added to Pennsylvania's Register of Historic Places.

"It's a great honor. It means outside experts have come out and said 'hey you have something really worthwhile here,'" said Melissa Hough, President of the Slate Belt Heritage Center.

"This is not the culmination, this is the beginning. We do intend to use the whole atmosphere and our heritage as a reason to have people stop by," Davis said.

Those who've been working on the project, are hoping that recognition will make it to the national level.

In August, the National Parks Service will decide if the district will be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Historians in the region said the borough itself is small, with a population of just 5,200 people. But it's size is not indicative of its historical value.

The borough was established in 1875.

Community members said Bangor owes its rich history to the slate industry.

"Bangor was the center of the Slate Belt. At one time, we had 11 quarries within the borough boundaries and as a result, this became a little city," said Hough. "It became a cultural center, business center, and industrial center for the slate industry," Hough said.

The slate industry dominated the region up until the 1940s.

During it's prime, people of varying nationalities came to the region to work in the industry.

Historians said that diversity is still very much alive in Bangor, adding that it was another reason why Bangor deserved to be on the national register.

Fifty places in Northampton County are currently on the national register, including two in Bangor. That includes the Bridge in Bangor Borough and The Real Estate Building.