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Hokey district nominated for historic registry

Hokendauqua property owners recently received good news from the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office regarding the potential listing of Hokendauqua’s Thomas Iron Company Town in the National Register of Historic Places.

The State Historic Preservation Board reviewed a nomination for this proposed historic district Feb. 1 and voted unanimously to move the project forward for consideration for the registry by the National Park Service.

The National Register is an honorary designation that can be an effective planning, educational and promotional tool for communities, businesses and local governments and a source of pride for residents.

The listing will have no effect on what property owners can do with their property. There are no regulations or restrictions that accompany the listing.

Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners began the process of pursuing the listing in the National Register in 2018. Since then, the Whitehall Township Industrial and Commercial Development Authority has championed the efforts, along with local and state officials in the township, holding several public meetings in 2016 and 2017 to explain what the listing actually meant for property owners.

National Register recognition will bring awareness to this neighborhood of homes and celebrate one of the many historic areas and buildings in Whitehall Township. The majority of the homes in the district were built by the Thomas Iron Company and are unique in their style and cohesiveness.

The boundary of the district also includes civic buildings associated with the company and the Thomas company workers. Additionally, it includes a few noncontributing homes located within the proposed boundary by circumstance.

The nomination was funded through a grant under the Lehigh County Local Share Account Program through WTICDA. State Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-18th, and state Reps. Jeanne McNeil, D-133rd, and Zach Mako, R-183rd, all support the LSA and the nomination, along with Whitehall Mayor Michael Harakal Jr., the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners and various Whitehall Township residents.

To learn more about why Hokendauqua’s Thomas Iron Company Town is important or about the National Register Nomination process and the impacts of the listing, visit wticda.org, contact WTICDA at 484-245-4098 or email wticda@gmail.com.

CONTRIBUTED IMAGE This proposed map for the Hokendauqua Thomas Iron Company Town historic district may change slightly during the nomination process in response to upcoming reviews by the National Park Service.