Historic Hotel Bethlehem
437 Main Street, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018
Local Phone: 610-625-5000 Hotel Bethlehem Lobby Image Hotel Bethlehem Logo

history book

The hotels managing partner engaged Grandin Hood publishers to capture the hotels history, as well the early settlement of Bethlehem. The book was published in 2013.

Managing partner Bruce Haines co-wrote this fascinating book with award winning author James A. Crutchfield, while Natalie Bock, the hotel’s former Historian, did the historical research. The three of them developed an outstanding book with breath taking photography by Pulitzer Prize winning photographer – Robin Hood.

Chapter 1 : Hospitality in Early Bethlehem

This chapter discusses the early history of hospitality in Bethlehem including many famous figures; some of whom still remain with us in spirit. The current Hotel Bethlehem site was the location of the First House in 1741 and the Eagle Hotel built by the Moravians and opened in 1823. Prior to the Eagle, the place to stay was the Sun Inn which opened in 1758. The Sun Inn provided lodging for distinguished patriots and military leaders during the Revolutionary War.

Chapter 2 : Birth of a New Hotel 1922-1930

In 1921 Bethlehem Steel President Charles M. Schwab drove the decision to build the new modern 200 room fire proof hotel to replace the Eagle Hotel. This chapter covers the opening of this grand hotel in the roaring 20s and the famous guests, including such dignitaries as Sir Winston Churchill who met with Mr. Schwab. Also outlined in this chapter is how the hotel survived during Prohibition and the Great Depression.

Chapter 3 : Let the Good Times Roll 1936-1962

This chapter deals with the owners decision to engage American Hotel Corporation to manage the property through tumultuous times. The end of prohibition opened opportunities to expand food and drink options. A military artist was commissioned to paint 7 murals, depicting the history of Bethlehem to adorn the walls of the Tap Room.

Chapter 4 : Bethlehem Steel Takes Control 1962-1984

The 1950s and 60s brought new challenges for the hotel as motels emerged along near by highways. This chapter highlights how Bethlehem Steel stepped in to purchase and upgrade the hotel. To ensure that its steel customers had the first class guest experience they desired. The hotel achieved 4 diamond status during this period with Bethlehem Steel’s “Hospitality Girls” adding to the guest experience.

Chapter 5 : A Plan for Salvation 1984-1998

As Bethlehem Steel endured difficult times from foreign steel imports, it began divesting of its non-core assets. This chapter highlights how a local business man and his wife, purchased the hotel and rode the good cycle of the 1980s until hard times returned during the 90s as Bethlehem Steel closed it’s steelmaking operations. The hotel was forced into bankruptcy in January of 1998.

Chapter 6 : Hard Times 1998-1999

This chapter discusses how new owners came to the rescue to preserve the iconic hotel as a lodging destination. The property was being considered for a combination senior living housing/college dormitory when a group of Lehigh University Alumni teamed up with ex-Radisson Hotel employees to purchase the property out of bankruptcy court.

Chapter 7 : Revival 1999 – Present

A significant renovation and restoration process occurred with the new ownership to reopen the hotel under a Radisson Hotel franchise arrangement. As the hotel recovered from its hard times the ownership transferred its marketing affiliation from the Radisson to Historic Hotels of America. This chapter outlines the reemergence of the hotel’s original grandeur and its roaring 1920s vibrancy bringing world dignities back to Bethlehem once again.

Wedding Portrait

Weddings & Events

Restored to its original 1922 grandeur, Hotel Bethlehem is the perfect venue for your wedding reception, banquet or private party and special event.

Floor-to-ceiling palladium windows, painted murals and beautiful balconies provide an elegant 1920’s décor for the perfect wedding, banquet or an unforgettable special event.

Learn More

worth noting

Named #1 Best Historic Hotel in the U.S. by USA Today 10BEST
Located on one of the Top 10 Main Streets in the country according to USA Today

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Historic Hotel Bethlehem is affiliated with Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Historic Hotel
Bethlehem Book


A glossy 120 page coffee table book celebrates nearly 200 years of hospitality on the site of Bethlehem’s first house in 1741. The book features photographs taken by Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, Robin Hood.

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