Long before the cluster of hotels, business parks and distribution centers dotted the perimeter of Fogelsville, the Native Americans of the Lenni Lenape tribe inhabited the territory west of Kuhnsville and North of Trexlertown in what is now part of Upper Macungie Township. By the mid 1700s German immigrants, attracted to the rich soil and copious water sources, established a community based largely on agriculture. Those early settlers, whose legacies remain imbedded throughout the town today, were later identified as the Pennsylvania Dutch. In case you didn’t know, the “Dutch” reference has nothing to do with Holland. It evolved from the word for German: Deutsch.
The town was officially founded in 1798 by The Honorable John F. Fogel, the son of a farmer who went on to serve as Associate Judge of Lehigh County from 1815 to 1823. Judge Fogel built the first structure in town, a hotel at the corner of Main and Church Streets, today known as Hops Fogelsville Hotel. By 1880 the population was a whopping 383 and the village consisted of two churches, two taverns, three schools, a carriage factory, a limestone quarry and a post office.
Fogelsville realized significant growth when Lehigh Portland Cement Company established itself in town. The company was founded in 1897 by several prominent Allentown business men, including General Harry C. Trexler, who recognized the abundance of natural resources in the Lehigh Valley. In response to the growing demand for cement, facilities were constructed throughout the United States, including nearby plants in Coplay and Ormrod, before the Fogelsville plant was built in 1907. By 1920 Lehigh Portland Cement was the nation’s biggest cement company and continued to expand countrywide. The establishment and growth of the company brought masses of workers, and therefore necessary development, to Fogelsville. Homes were built, churches and schools were erected and new businesses were launched.
Other notable commerce quickly emerged to accommodate the changing landscape and economy. With the increased demand for automotive services, Stanley A. Strohl Chevrolet was founded in 1921. Today Strohl’s, now an independent sales and service center, still stands on Main Street and is run by third and fourth generation family members. On the northeast corner of what is now Route 100 and Main Street, the Shankweiler’s Hotel was opened by Wilson Shankweiler in 1934. The two-story colonial structure housed a taproom, dining room and 2 private dining spaces on the first floor as well as living quarters on the second level. As famous for its chicken and waffles as it was for its guests, including Charles Curtis, Vice President during the Herbert Hoover administration, and Perry Como, the Shankweiler Hotel remained operational until December of 1993. Today First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union resides on that corner.
In addition to building a plant in Fogelsville, Lehigh Portland Cement also farmed a significant amount of acreage in and around the town. Another large and successful farm was established by Frank J. Mohr. After a humble beginning Mohr Orchards eventually managed more than 500 acres, growing apples, peaches, apricots and plums sold to consumers via markets along Main Street, Old Route 22 and eventually Tilghman Street. The award winning farmers gained statewide recognition with the slogan “Eat Mohr Fruit.” Ultimately much of the farm acreage was cultivated for housing developments and, in 1977, Mohr Orchards donated 40 acres to Pennsylvania State University for the establishment of its Fogelsville campus.
“Schaefer is the one beer to have when you’re having more than one.” In 1971, a new major employer arrived just south of Fogelsville. F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company built a brand new ultra-modern brewery; one of the most modern and efficient breweries in the world. Originally brewing 1.1 million barrels-per-year, the brewery expanded its capacity to 2.5 million in 1974 and again in 1975 to more than 5 million barrels-per-year. In 1981 the F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company was purchased by the Stroh Brewery Company which was later sold to the Pabst Brewing Company. The facility changed hands again and produced Smirnoff Ice until June of 2008, when The Boston Beer Company took ownership of the world-class brewery. Today the Samuel Adams Pennsylvania Brewery employs over 200 people and produces nearly every style of Samuel Adams beers.
In 1970 Lehigh Portland Cement closed its Fogelsville plant and the organization was later acquired by major German cement producer, HeidelbergCement in 1977. In 1992, needing more office space, the company relocated its corporate headquarters from downtown Allentown to Imperial Way in Fogelsville. During the real estate explosion of the mid-1980s, commercial and industrial development boomed in and around Fogelsville. Attractive to developers, largely due to its prime location near Interstate 78 and Route 100, business and industrial parks began to pop up throughout Upper Macungie Township, including Fogelsville, which continues to be a hotbed for distributions centers today.
These days Fogelsville remains a thriving suburb of Allentown full of contemporary housing developments, parks and nearby businesses. Ground was recently broken at Route 100 and Glenlivet Avenue, where a large upscale Weis Market is expected to open by the end of this year. Although no potential tenants have been identified yet, there is room for additional store sites on the property. Fogelsville continues to honor its founders and history while simultaneously enhancing the quality of life for its residents.
EAT, DRINK & STAY
At the corner of Main and Church Streets stands the landmark Hops Fogelsville Hotel. The tavern, owned and run by the Hoppy family since 2006, was the first structure built in Fogelsville, by none other than founder Judge John F. Fogel. The structure has been rebuilt and renovated many times since 1798 but when the Hoppy family became the newest innkeepers in 2006 they expanded the bar, installed a new kitchen, new flooring and new bathrooms. There’s a walkthrough patio out back which provides seating for 40 under an arbor and 2 private dining rooms in addition to the main dining room and pub room inside. Exterior renovations are on tap to restore this shining star to its original glory.
Open 7 days a week, Hops Fogelsville Hotel offers American fare for lunch, dinner or as part of the late night menu (10:00 p.m. to midnight). “We have everything from hamburgers to lobster tail and want our guests to be comfortable whether they are in work boots or a business suit,” states proud owner Carol Hoppy. 7921 Main Street, Fogelsville, 610-395-3999,
Approximately 1.5 miles from town, Glasbern is nestled on a 130-acre 19th Century farm. The appearance of cattle as you drive along Pack House Road confirms you haven’t made a wrong turn. Glasbern raises, grows and prepares most of its food on site, so in addition to the Scottish Highland cattle, you may pass some free-range chickens, Berkshire pigs or Katahdin sheep as you wind your way into the inn. Guests are invited to dine in either the Main Dining Room or the Pub, any night of the week. The cozy yet elegant Main Dining Room features a 28-foot cathedral ceiling and fireplace along with exposed beams and ladders. A la Carte dining is available every night except for Saturday, when a Prix Fix menu is offered. The Pub includes bar seating, tables, booths a fireplace and its own distinctive menu. If you’re looking for more than dinner, Glasbern has a variety of luxury rooms, suites and cottages for overnight guests—many offering fireplaces, whirlpools or both. A full country breakfast is complimentary with every night’s stay.
Named a Top 10 Romantic Inn by iloveinns.com and a recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, the Glasbern is a local treasure whether you’re looking for a unique dining experience or a romantic getaway. 2141 Pack House Road, Fogelsville, 610-285-4723, glasbern.com.
SEE & DO
Located on nearly 157 acres between Rt. 100 and an old stone quarry, Upper Macungie Park offers a variety of sports fields, open areas and a nature trail. The trail, set back from the road, provides a quiet, safe retreat with a scenic view of the quarry and is a great spot for bird watchers. In addition, the park consists of 2 pavilions, including picnic tables, electric outlets, lighting and charcoal grills, which can be rented for parties of up to 100 guests. Two baseball/softball fields, a sand volleyball court, 2 horseshoe pits, a playground and a disc golf course are also located within the park. To accommodate our four-legged friends, the township’s first official dog park is expected to be open in a section of the park this spring. 1625 North Route 100, Fogelsville
Although the Sam Adams Pennsylvania Brewery doesn’t offer tours, you can get a flavor of the beer at the nearby Holiday Inn Conference Center. The hotel’s new Sam Adams Getaway Package features a Samuel Adams in-room beer tasting which includes two bottles each of Sam Adams Boston Lager, Light and Seasonal Beers, a Sam Adams Collector’s beer bucket, two Sam Adams tasting glasses, a Sam Adams bottle opener key chain, the Samuel Adams Craft Beer Style Guide and deluxe overnight accommodations with breakfast for two. 7736 Adrienne Drive, Breinigsville, 610-391-1000, hilehighvalley.com.
North on Route 100, less than 2 miles from the intersection of Route 100 and Tilghman Streets, resides Edge of the Woods Nursery. The only Lehigh Valley nursery specializing in native plants, Edge of the Woods offers quality container grown native plants including trees, shrubs, grasses, ferns and wildflowers for the mid-Atlantic region. The nursery specializes in matching the right plant to the right place for home landscapes, woodlands, wetlands, hedgerows or rain gardens. Committed to sustainable growing practices, none of Edge of the Woods’ plants is forced with hormones and only minimal pesticides are used in the nursery.
In addition to a selection of over 300 species of native plants, Edge of the Woods also carries Organic Mechanics certified organic potting soil, Liquid Fence Deer and Rabbit Repellent, spruce/pine bagged mulch, garden gloves, Fertrell garden fertilizers, NatureSafe lawn fertilizer and a small selection of gardening books. Guided tours of demonstration gardens, including the butterflies and wildlife they support, are held regularly April through August and a landscape designer is available to provide ideas and suggestions for the garden enthusiast.
2415 Route 100, Orefield, 610-395-2570, edgeofthewoodsnursery.com.
“Fogelsville, Yesteryear & Today,” William J. Gernerd, Editor, Janet K. Grim, Co-Editor, 2004
UpperMacungiePatch, January 12, 2011