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National Historic Landmark District plaque unveiled in Bethlehem

By Meghan Packer, Reporter, MPacker@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 22 2014 05:11:15 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 22 2014 06:15:25 PM CDT

Historic Moravian Bethlehem received an addition Tuesday.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

Historic Moravian Bethlehem received an addition Tuesday.

A plaque was unveiled that designates the area as a National Historic Landmark District.

The U.S. Department of the Interior plaque was unveiled during a ceremony at Central Moravian Church, where it will be located outside.

"The district encompasses just over 14 acres here in the heart of Moravian Bethlehem," explained Charlene Donchez Mowers, President of Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites.

She said buildings in the district date back to between 1741 and about 1810.

"If people think about Church Street to the east of Central Church down to the Colonial Industrial Quarter to the west of Central Church and next to Hotel Bethlehem, that'll give them a sense of where this district is located."

The area received the designation in 2012, but now has the plaque to proudly display.

"It's an honor," said Cynthia MacLeod, superintendent of Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, who represented the Secretary of the Interior at the ceremony. "It's done great things for many communities."

Historic Moravian Bethlehem is one of only eight National Historic Landmark Districts in the state and one of about 200 in the country.

"There needs to be such a high degree of authenticity and integrity in every single building in the district," explained Donchez Mowers, who said it took ten years to get to this point. "I did a lot of research, a lot of writing, a lot of submitting information and sending box after box of materials."

She added, "We are just thrilled and everyone should be so proud that this is here in the heart of our Lehigh Valley."