Online Encyclopedia

MAUCH CHUNK

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 904 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MAUCH CHUNK, a borough and the county-seat of Carbon county, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., on the W. bank of the Lehigh river and on the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company's Canal, 46 m. by rail W.N.W. of Easton. Pop. (189o), 4101; (1900), 4029 (571 foreign-born); (1910), 3952. Mauch Chunk is served by the Central of New Jersey railway and, at East Mauch Chunk, across the river, connected by electric railway, by the Lehigh Valley railway. The borough lies in the valley of the Lehigh river, along which runs one of its few streets and in another deeply cut valley at right angles to the river; through this second valley east and west runs the main street, on which is an electric railway; parallel to it on the south is High Street, formerly an Irish settlement; half way up the steep hill, and on the north at the top of the opposite hill is the ward of Upper Mauch Chunk, reached by the electric railway. An incline railway, originally used to transport coal from the mines to the river and named the " Switch-Back," now carries tourists up the steep slopes of Mount Pisgah and Mount Jefferson, to Summit Hill, a rich anthracite coal region, with a famous " burning mine," which has been on fire since 1832, and then back. An electric railway to the top of Flagstaff Mountain, built in 1900, was completed in 1901 to Lehighton, 4 M. south- east of Mauch Chunk, where coal is mined and silk and stoves are manufactured, and which had a population in 1900 of 4629, and in 19x0 of J316. Immediately above Mauch Chunk the river forms a horseshoe; on the opposite side, connected by a bridge, is the borough of East Mauch Chunk (pop. 1900, 3458; 1910, 3548); and 2 M. Up the river is Glen Onoko, with fine falls and cascades. The principal buildings in Mauch Chunk are the county court house, a county gaol, a Young Men's Christian Association building, and the Dimmick Memorial Library (189o). The borough was long a famous shipping point for coal. It now has ironworks and foundries, and in East Mauch Chunk there are silk mills. The name is Indian and means " Bear Mountain," this English name being used for a mountain on the east side of the river. The borough was founded by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company in 1818. This company began in 1827 the operation of the "Switch-Back," probably the first railway in the country to be used for transporting coal. In 1831 the town was opened to individual enterprise, and in 1850 it was incorporated as a borough. Mauch Chunk was for many years the home of Asa Packer, the projector and builder of the Lehigh Valley railroad from Mauch Chunk to Easton.
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