This magnificent structure anchoring the end of Main Street was completed in 1748 and contained the Single Brethren’s Choir for 72 single men during the period of the general economy. It was later expanded to permit trades and crafts including a foundry. On the top of the building is a widow’s walk where America’s oldest Trombone Choir would play to announce the death of members of the community or to celebrate holidays and festivals. Legend has it that early on Christmas morning of 1755 a group of hostile Indians were about to attack the town when the trombones frightened them from doing so believing that the “Great Spirit” did not want them to harm the community. The Moravians were pacifists and this action reinforced to them that musical instruments were more powerful than guns. While the Moravians did not participate directly in the Revolutionary war, George Washington asked them to turn the Brethren’s House into a hospital for the Continental Army. Over 300 soldiers died here from December 1776 to April 1778 along with many Moravians who tended to them from “camp fever”. They are buried on the hillside west of the Monacy Creek where a monument exists to commemorate this event. The stone lintel on the north side of the building carries the inscription “May the young men’s activity redound to the praise of the Trinity”. In 1815, Moravian Seminary for Girls took over the building. Today it serves as the offices and classrooms for the Music Department for the Moravian College.
1758 Sun Inn
Currently a Museum and Tavern , the Inn was built to house distinguished guests of the Moravians. During the Revolutionary War, the Sun Inn welcomed many leading Patriots and statesman including 5 men who ultimatately became President of the United States and Martha Washington. The original Inn was built in 1758 and opened in 1760 as a 66′ x 40′ two story stone building with a mansard roof. In 1826 a 3rd floor was added with17 new rooms. In 1866, the building was again enlarged almost completely hiding the original Inn. The Sun Inn closed to travlelers in the early 1960’s. In 1777, Army Troops and upwards of 900 military wagons camped in the fields to the rear and north of the Inn as military stores were moved inland from advancing British Troops. In September of 1777, the Continental Congress met at the Inn while moving for Philadelphia with most of the Army leadership staying at the Inn. In 1792, the Sun Inn welcomed 51 chiefs and warriors of the Iroquis nation including Red Jacket and Cornplanter. In 1865, Railroader Asa Packer announced the formation of Lehigh University at a dinner at the Inn. In 1978 the Sun Inn was named to the National Register of Historic Places and in 1982 the restoration of the Inn was completed.
1810 Goundie House
This Federal Style home is believed to be the oldest constructed of brick in Bethlehem. J.S. Goundie was a successful brewer and businessman who also served as Mayor and fire inspector. Attached to the Visitor Center, this building serves as a rotating exhibit site for Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites.
Nain Schober House
This building was built in 1758 and is the only building remaining in the Delaware & National Corridor that was built by and lived in by Native American Indians. This log building was moved to Heckewelder Place in 1765 when the Village of Nain was disbanded & now serves as exhibition space for Moravian and Native American Relations.
Once an expansive 500-acre estate, Burnside Plantation’s 6.5 acres still beautifully preserves the essence of an 18th century farm with its farmhouse, summer kitchen, orchard, garden, barn and other structures. This historic site displays one of the few high horse-powered wheels still in existence in the U.S., a tool that allowed one horse to do the work of 15 men. David Tannenberg and Johann Gottlob Klemm, both master Moravian organ builders, foremost organ builders in the American colonies in the 1700s.
Other Noteworthy Historic Properties
The Smithy was built in 1750 expanded in 1761 and a second floor added. The Smithy had workrooms and forges for the nail-smith, locksmith, blacksmith, tinsmith, gunsmith, and gunstock maker. The building stood until the early 20th century when it was dismantled and converted into brownstone dwellings which were later demolished. In 2004, the Smithy was reconstructed of limestone taken from a local 1700s barn being torn down, and was built on the foundations of the original smithy, thanks to detailed records kept by the Moravians and stored in the Moravian Archives Blacksmithing was one of the most important trades in Colonial America, since smiths made or repaired tools, kitchen utensils, weapons, agricultural implements, and household items.
1869 Luckenbach Mill
The Luckenbach Mill was built on the foundations of the 18th Century grist mill that succumbed to fire. The mill was a working mill until the late 1940’s grinding grain into flour for the community. Today it serves as the educational space for the adult and school programs. In addition it houses an archive of more than 10,000 historical photographs of Bethlehem as well as thousands of documents such as letters and manuscripts.
This 4 story brick building was built in 1854 housing the growing number of students at Moravian Seminary for Girls.and was one of the first buildings in Bethlehem with gas lights. This iconic structure represented the location of the famous Lehigh/Lafayette weekend tradition of Lehigh Men parading across the river to serenade the young ladies of Moravian College for Women on friday evening before college football’s most played rivalry.
John F. Frueauff House
This federal style home was built later in 1819 for the ninth principal of the Moravian Seminary for Girls. In 1914, the building was sold to Moravian College for Women and converted to offices and classrooms with a second story added to the building. In 1969 the building was converted back to its original smaller design as a single family home and has served as a private residence for Moravian College since that time.
Moravian Academy Lower School
This building was built in 1858 near the end of what had been a closed community to Moravians only. This building became the day school for both the boys and girls. In 1971, the boys Prep School and Moravian Seminary for Girls merged into Moravian Academy. This magnificent brick building today serves as the elementary school for the Academy.
This small building nestled back from Church Street served as the cutting and drying house for apples. Extensive gardens existed on the south side of Church Street including extensive apple orchards from trees brought to the community in 1743. This building now serves as a private residence.
Located across the street from the Nain House is the home of the most prominent Moravian missionary built in 1810. John Heckewelder was a writer and Indian interpreter appointed by George Washington as the 1st US Commissioner to the Indians after the American Revolution. The home is now home to the Bach Choir which is the oldest in the United States dating to 1898. The Bach Choir welcomes visitors to their headquarters.
This currently private property was one of the earliest private homes built after the transition from a general economy to a private economy in 1762. Built by the Moravians for their new English bursar to manage their business affairs under the new economy. This home is a center entry unlike most other homes with European offset entrances because of the English occupant. Land transactions took place here as Moravians moved from their Church Street communal buildings into private homes. The home has been expanded from its original 1 story structure to a 2 story structure 100 years after it was originally built. It was subsequently expanded to the rear in the late 1800’s with its magnificent stone foundation.
Currently a private residence, this stone building was built in 1749 for the Bethlehem’s first Justice of the Peace and enlarged in 1753 to accommodate the first store in Bethlehem. This shop sold over 200 different goods produced by the Moravians in their general economy at that time. This stone home sits directly across from God’s Acre on Market Street among a row of magnificent private historic homes in the first block off Main Street. This National Historic District residential community is unique among many cities in that it remains a residential community that extends for four blocks directly abutting downtown containing a vast array of architectural designs from the 18th to early 20th century period.
This private building on Market Street once served as the Second Store located just a few yards from the Horsfield house first store. The majestic limestone building has been renovated many times over the years but with its associated carritage house adds to the architectural integrity of Market Street. The homes on Market Street represent the earliest private homes in the community after the general economy was changed to permit private residences versus living in the choir system on Church Street. This is a private residence not open to the public.