Northampton County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It was formed in 1752 from parts of Bucks County. As of 2000, the population was 267,066. Its county seat is Easton.
Northampton County is located in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, while the northern edge borders on the Poconos. The eastern section of the county borders the Delaware River, which divides Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It is bordered on the west by Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.
The county is one of the most industrially-oriented regions in the nation, producing anthracite coal, cement, and other industrial products. Bethlehem Steel, once one of the world’s largest manufacturers of steel, was located there prior to its closing in 2003.
Created on March 11, 1752 from parts of Bucks County and named for Northamptonshire, England, where Thomas Penn’s father-in-law, the Earl of Pomfret, lived. Easton, the county seat was named for the Earl’s estate. It was incorporated as a borough on September 23, 1789 and became a city on November 2, 1886. The county adopted a home rule charter in April 1976.
Pennsylvania’s Walking Purchase from the Delaware Indians in 1737 included all the present area of this county. Moravians settled in 1740 at Nazareth and in 1741 at Bethlehem. Fries’ Rebellion against a federal tax on windows occurred here. Until 1800 Northampton was the entire northeastern section of Pennsylvania. In 1812 the creation of Lehigh County divided the Lehigh Valley, and Northampton continued to yield land until the formation of Carbon County in 1843. German farmers from Bucks County and Perkiomen Valley, as well as Scots-Irish from New Castle, were the first settler groups. The opening of the Lehigh Canal in 1829 triggered industrial growth. Major iron works functioned at Easton, Glendon, and South Bethlehem before 1860. Bethlehem Iron Works became Bethlehem Steel, the second largest United States’ steel producer. By 1890 there were also flour mills, textile factories, slate quarries, and zinc mines. Depression was seriously felt from 1930 to 1941. Bethlehem Steel recognized the United Steelworkers in 1939, but there was a bitter strike in 1941. Lasting industrial decline began in 1955, reaching beyond the steel industry. The cement mills and the Dixie Cup Company have closed. Farms cover 36 percent of the county and Northampton is a significant grain and peaches producer.
Pennsylvania law provides for four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, rarer cases, towns. Below are listed the cities, boroughs and townships located in Northampton County:
Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, may be listed here as well.