Bethlehem Landing Visitor Center
The Bethlehem Landing Visitor Center is located in the former Bethlehem Steel Stock House, which is the oldest surviving building on the former Bethlehem Steel Corporation plant site. Once an endangered industrial ruin, this building has been transformed into an essential public facility at the Steel Stacks Campus. A complete restoration of the original building was done to Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Restoration and Rehabilitation standards. The exterior restoration returned the building to its 1863 appearance.
The founder of the company, that became Bethlehem Steel Corporation, built the Stock House in the early 1860s as part of the company's first furnace complex. Its location at the base of the blast furnaces served as a storage shed for raw materials used to make iron. Workmen and machinery lifted the stored materials from the Stock House to the top of the furnace stacks and dropped iron ore, limestone, or coke into the furnaces. As the company added furnaces, it extended the Stock House. The original Stock House was 260 feet long and it grew to a length of 750 feet of perfectly repeated bays of fieldstone, wood, iron trusses, and glass.
In the 20th century, the engineers of Bethlehem Steel developed a more efficient iron-making process that used an elevated rail line - the Hoover-Mason Trestle. This trestle was a system of elevators which delivered raw materials to the blast furnaces. As a result, most of the Stock House was demolished in 1905 to make way for the trestle. Only 190 feet of the western end of the building stood beyond the terminus of the trestle. This is the only segment of the Stock House that remains today and now houses the Bethlehem Visitor Center.
The restored Visitor Center now encloses 16,000 square feet of space. Public-oriented spaces at ground level include: a visitor's information desk, exhibition area, drinking-water fountains, and public restrooms. A mezzanine level threaded through the original structure provides 6,500 square feet of office space. A small addition on the north side of the original building houses an entrance lobby, elevator and stairway.
This Visitor Center is a true destination site where volunteers are always available to answer questions about the former Bethlehem Steel site as well as provide guidance on many attractions and events in Bethlehem, and the entire Lehigh Valley. Historic artifacts, including many from the Bethlehem Steels days, are displayed at the Center as well.
Bethlehem Landing Visitor Center Awards Received
Preservation Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Award .
Preservation Pennsylvania: 2013 Industrial Properties Construction Project Award for Outstanding Preservation, Restoration or Rehabilitation. Since 1979, the Preservation Pennsylvania's Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards have honored individuals and organizations that exhibited excellence in the field of historic preservation.
Masonry Construction Masonry Construction Project of the Year Award
The World of Masonry Construction: 2012 Project of the Year. "Masonry Construction magazine's Project of the Year winners showcase the significant contributions the masonry industry makes to the advancements in architectural design. These projects demonstrate cooperation between the mason contractor, materials suppliers, design engineers, and architect," Editor Rick Yelton
Photo Credit: H. Bambu-Weiss
Photo Credit: H. Bambu-Weiss