Designated PHMC January 24, 1967
Area 3,200 m²
Architectural style Georgian architecture
|NRHP Reference # 78002425|
Phone +1 610-435-1074
Added to NRHP 14 November 1978
|Location 414 West Walnut Street, Allentown, Pennsylvania|
Address 414 Walnut St, Allentown, PA 18102, USA
Similar Lehigh Valley Heritage, Haines Mill, Liberty Bell Museum, Troxell‑Steckel House, Museum of Indian Culture
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Trout Hall is a historic home located at Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. It is the oldest home in Allentown, built between 1768 and 1770, and is a 2 1/2-story, stone dwelling in the Georgian style. It was built as a summer home by James Allen, the third son of William Allen, founder of Allentown. Today, it houses the library and museum of the Lehigh County Historical Society.
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In 1735, William Allen (1704-1780) a wealthy shipping merchant, purchased 5,000 acres of land in northern Pennsylvania. By 1762, he had laid out the plans of a 42-block town that he called Northampton. The name however, never took hold, and the settlement was commonly known as Allen’s Town, and then simply combined to Allenstown, and eventually became Allentown.
James (1742-1778), Allen’s third son, followed in his father’s footsteps. After graduating from college in 1759 and law school in 1765, he was admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court. On October 6, 1767, he was elected as common councilman in Philadelphia and later elected to the Assembly by an almost unanimous vote. Since his busy life allowed little time to manage Allentown himself, he delegated the responsibilities of running it to the people he trusted most. At times, however, he would make the 60 mile journey from Philadelphia to Allentown, eventually justifying the need for his own house. He decided to build a two story stone house, which he called Trout Hall, after the abundance of game trout along the various creeks and the Lehigh River that surrounded Allentown. James Allen died of tuberculosis on September 19, 1778. After he died, his wife remarried and his daughters became frequent residents.
On May 17, 1789, James Allen's daughters left Allentown, and the home would be unused until the winter of 1825. James’ eldest daughter, Anne Penn Greanleaf, gave a few blocks of the original property where Trout Hall was situated to her daughter. It was at this time that the name Trout Hall was dropped and the home was renamed “The Livingston Manor”.
The Livingstons were merchants, and in 1847, when a business deal went bad the house and surrounding land was sold to make up for his lost profits. The new owner, Comegys Paul, sold the house a week later and earned a tidy profit for the sale. In 1848 it become the Allentown Seminary, and in 1867 became the original location of Muhlenberg College.
On January 9, 1904, the Lehigh County Historical Society was founded to find and restore historical landmarks in the Lehigh County. Their goal was to preserve the home’s past and one way the Society planned to do this was to restore the east wing that had not been touched in decades. One year later, in 1905, Muhlenberg College relocated its campus, and the Historical Society renamed the building Trout Hall again.
Used now as a museum, it houses revolutionary artifacts for the public to view and also showcases its antiquated style of architecture. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.