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Anna Pongracz Papers

Identifier: SC MS 0139

Scope and Contents

Collection contains newspaper clippings, publications, photocopies and reports related to city planning projects of Bethlehem PA. Also there are photographs, maps, scrapbooks and court documents.


  • 1953-1981


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Access Restrictions: Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Use Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

Please inquire about copyright information.

Biographical / Historical

Anna M. Pongracz was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1912. She was the daughter of Charles and Theresa (Zampar) Donches and the wife of Joseph J. Pongracz Sr. Anna Pongracz was very involved in the politics relating to Bethlehem's Urban Renewal Projects during her lifetime. Pongracz served as a Democratic committeewoman in Bethlehem's 3rd Ward for 18 years and was a member of the Northampton County Election Board. Pongracz died in 1986.

Monocacy Creek Project R-25 Planning for this project was started in 1954, began in 1960, revised in 1967 and was finished in the late 1970s. This Urban Renewal Plan divided the cleared land among several uses. The majority was allocated for the development of about 365 units of housing (a 75 unit apartment house built by the housing authority for the elderly and 450 unit planned unit development to be built on land both inside and outside of the project area including townhouses, apartments, and duplexes). Other parts of the land were used for the development of a playground, the development of parking facilities and part for a historical restoration district, parks, and expansion of Moravian College. The last part of the land was used for streets and other rights-of-way. First South Side R-111/South Side Area R-111 (also named Mechanic St. Project) Planning for the project began in 1961, execution began in 1963 and the project was completed in 1965. A parking lot for southside businesses was constructed on the cleared land. Civic Center R-110 Planning for this project was complete in 1962, the project started in 1963, and was completed in 1963. The Civic Center was built on cleared land, as well as an administrative building, public safety building, library, town hall, and parking facilities. Butler Street R-124 This project was planned and initiated in 1962 and completed in 1965. Lehigh University constructed a Metallurgical and Chemical Engineering Building and parking facilities on the cleared land. Packer Ave R-249 The planning for this project took place in 1965, execution was started in 1966, and the project was completed in 1971. On one redevelopment parcel Lehigh University constructed several buildings and a parking lot; On other parcels of land a playground was built for Broughal Junior High School and a parking lot for St. Peter's Lutheran Church. Webster Street R-262 This project was started in 1965 and completed in 1966. On the cleared site, the Bethlehem Housing Authority constructed the 100 unit Litzenberger House which served as public housing for the elderly. Northampton Heights R-300 This project was started in 1966 and completed in 1968. (Technically, the Northampton Heights Project was two separate projects, one federally-aided and one state-aided, however administratively it was treated as one project.) The Bethlehem Steel Corporation built a basic oxygen furnace on the site. This project served 2 purposes, the oxygen furnace and removing an environmentally blighted and structurally substandard area. Northside Area No. 1 R-389 Planning for this project began in 1970; the Redevelopment Authority received a letter of consent from HUD (Department of Housing and Development) in March, 1971 to begin activities and received mandated approval in May of 1973. (This is Bethlehem's first project to include rehabilitation as well as clearance activities.) Part of the land included in this project was allocated for the development of about 350 units of housing (a 150 unit apartment house for the elderly by the housing authority, a 162 unit apartment tower for the elderly of moderate income by the Moravian Development Corp and about 35-40 units in town houses and doubles.) and park space. Another part of the land was for the development of commercial facilities, including a hotel and an arts and convention center. The last section of this land was used for a public parking garage and for street rights-of-way. There are 97 buildings designated for rehabilitation, including 86 residential buildings and 11 non-residential. Center City URA Nos. 1 and 2 R-404 The original application for this project was submitted in January of 1971 and execution activities were started in January of 1973. Area No. 2 was added to the project in June of 1972. Part of the area cleared was for the development of commercial facilities including an 11-story office building, shopping mall, department store, and a 625 car public parking garage. The second part of Area No. 1 was used for the development of about 2 housing units and the rest for rights-of-way. The second area is combination of residential and Central Business District commercial program that includes both rehabilitation and clearance activities.


3 Linear Feet (6 boxes)


This collection consists of Anna Pongracz papers mostly related to Urban Renewal and other housing and city planning developments especially in South Bethlehem (PA) from 1960s to 1980s. Anna Pongracz was a community organizer and played a substantial role during the planning processes of the housing and city development projects. She was the speaker for the community and represented the "under represented" South Bethlehem residences.


This collection is divided into seven series: Bethlehem Urban Renewal; Northampton Heights R-300 (1966-1968); Southside 76; Bethlehem Area Schools; Correspondence; Memorabilia; Publications.

Acquisition Information

Donated in December 2008 by David C. Amidon, Lehigh University Professor Emeritus Urban Studies.

Related Materials

- Bethlehem Housing Authority Records - Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority Records - Lehigh Property Ownership Files

Lehigh University. Property Acquisitions, 5 parts. Special Collections call number: SC LPub 0235 O.S. (Available electronically through the Beyond Steel at

Anna Pongracz PapersSC MS 0139
Kelly Bouchard; Amanda Anglemeyer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
Lehigh University Library and Technology Services.

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)