We might be best known for our role in the birth of our nation, but there's much more here to discover.
Easton, PA: History & Heritage
The "Thousand Acre Tract" of land at the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers was selected and surveyed in 1736, by Thomas Penn and Benjamin Eastburn. The new town was to be called "Easton" in the new county of "Northampton", after Thomas Penn's wife Juliana Fermor's home estate of Easton-Neston, Northamptonshire, England. On July 8, 1776, the square was the site for one of only three public readings of the Declaration of Independence. This historic event is celebrated each year on Heritage Day.
Our Corner of the Keystone
In 1736, William Penn's son Thomas purchased the land originally known by the Native Americans as Lechanwitauk, or "the Place at the Forks." He and others soon established the settlement of Easton. In short time, the town became the seat of Northampton County. Each of these namesakes were inspired by Penn's wife, whose family hailed from Easton-Neston, Northamptonshire, England.
Easton's Centre Square has played a pivotal role in the city's heritage and urban development. The county's original courthouse once stood in its center and the oldest open-air market in America continues to thrive there. One of the most important events in Easton's history occurred in the square on July 8, 1776, when the city was one of only three in the colonies to hold a public reading of the newly penned Declaration of Independence. Eastonians still celebrate this historical milestone today with great pride.
Throughout the 1800s, Easton thrived with industrial innovation. From textile mills to slate quarries, from the advent of canal transportation to advanced networks of railroads, Easton and surrounding communities were examples of modern life on the horizon. Many continued to settle in Easton and the Lehigh Valley in search of a better life, contributing to the rich cultural vibrancy the city is still known for today.
Highlights: Things to See
Here are the highlights, with a list of 20 historic places to visit in Easton.
Our Trolley: Downtown & Lehigh Canal
Let the Mayor provide you with an audio tour of the downtown's history while you ride