America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Levitt Stage at Steelstacks

Musikfest/Bethlehem/Steel, Pennsylvania

If it wouldn't have been for William Allen giving five hundred acres of land to the Moravian Church, there wouldn't be a Bethlehem. If it wouldn't have been a need during the industrial revolution for a steel plant on the south side of town, there wouldn't have been Bethlehem Steel. And if it hadn't been for both of them, the celebration known as Musikfest would not have begun forty years ago in 1984. There was a need to revitalize the downtown and historic area with vibrant shops while maintaining their historic character. There was a need to do something with all those apocalyptic looking buildings and Steelstacks south of town. Now Artsquest and PBS Channel 39 are headquartered just across the street. The National Museum of Industrial History just around the block in one of the old Steel company structures, plus a walkway where you can straddle down amongst the stacks. A five thousand seat stage that can hold large music acts is also on the South side. The north side only needed some tents and stages spread amongst the already historic site. And Musikfest was born, small in 1984 but mighty, and today up to five hundred acts perform over the ten days of the festival in about twelve venues per year. And it draws over a million people per year to this free festival, the largest in the United States..

Photo above: Patrons dancing to the Rumble, featuring Chief Joseph Boudreaux, Jr. on the Levett stage with Steelstacks rising behind and ArtsQuest across the street. Courtesy

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Info, What's There Now, History Nearby

Bethlehem 1832

Musikfest/Bethlehem/Steel, Pennsylvania

On April 2, 1741, William Allen deeded the acreage of William Penn, formerly Lenape Indian land, to the Moravian Church. They named it Allentown. It's doubtful they saw the incarnations that would occur in the tweening years. A thriving community prior to the American Revolution, one that grew to even greater proportion during the one hundred years when Bethlehem Steel produced steel for ships, bridges, and other structures during the Industrial Revolution. And now Musikfest, forty years old, an attempt to revitalize an aging and barely surviving downtown, when the Industrial Revolution went south, then to Japan and China. But for now, you can hear and see it all amongst the historic buildings of the Moravian section and the crumbling, some revitalized buildings, of Bethlehem Steel. Be ready for a blast. In some places, the Platzes are tucked into corners, in other under tents, on streets, in movie theaters inside ArtsQuest, and beneath the Steelstacks. Take a ride some early August day and take advantage of the largest free musical festival in the country. Pretty sure you'll be glad you did.

Image above: Image above: Drawing of the town of Bethlehem in 1832, 1839, Karl Bodner. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Below: Photo of Bethlehem Steel on south side of Lehigh River, 1896, William Henry Rau. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Bethlehem Steel

Where Is It

There are a variety of ways to get to Musikfest with outlying parking lots that will shuttle you into town, some parking garages on the north end of the North Side, i.e. North Street Parking Garage. It's best to check with their website for just where you can park. For Wind Creek Steel Stage performances, a parking lot nearby can be used on the South Side. There is also some free off street parking nearby, but you have to get there early or get lucky to get one of those spots. For those going to the South Side, you can put in ArtsQuest as your destination. It's in the center of the site. 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, PA 18015. For those going to the North Side, Hotel Bethlehem is center stage; 437 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA. 18018.

Minute Walk in History
Musikfest 40th Anniversary

Take in the sights and sounds of the largest free music festival in the United States, Musikfest during its 40th anniversary season in the historic town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and its sister site, the ruins of Bethlehem Steel, now turned into an arts, music, and museum center. Here upcoming artists like Kendal Conrad, Grammy nominated musicians in the band Rumble, featuring Chief Joseph Boudreaux, Jr., from New Orleans, and nearly five hundred acts over the 10 days of the festival. In 2022, over 1.24 million people attended. Each night, in the 5,000 seat stadium, one of the music industry's top acts perform ($ charged), this year featuring Maren Morris, Dan and Shay, Train, Walk the Moon, and the Goo Goo Dolls.

What is There Now


In 2022, Musikfest hit their highest attendance, 1,240,000 people. There are about a dozen music venues each year, and they are packed by nightfall, although there is always another venue to get to. The North Side, which takes over Main Street from the top of the hill past the Bethlehem Hotel, as well as the valley where the historic Moravian and Hugeonut structures remain, holds venues within the nooks and cranies of town. Canvas tents cover the lower area, and there's lots of vendors selling food, amusement, and beer. Lots of beer. The north side is essentially a straight flat boulevard which weaves among the refurbished buildings of Bethlehem Steel, as well the Greek inspired ruins of buildings not yet revived. Above all sits those hulking stacks of steel. The main night stage is here, 5,000 seats, the Levitt Pavilion, an outdoors grassy venue that holds up to one thousand, two air conditioned theaters, and a couple more.

When Open and How Much

Ten days at the beginning of August each year, Musikfest takes over these historic areas. Cost is free. Remember, largest free music festival in the nation. There are fees for the shuttle transfer between each side, $6 in 2023, and the major concerts by acts such as Train, Maren Morris, Dan and Shay, and the Goo Goo Dolls are standard concert prices. But you can even stand outside the gates and listen to them for free.

Fees and hours are subject to change.

Bethlehem Visitor Center

History Nearby

There are a ton of smaller, but very interesting sites to visit, particularly the on-site Smithsonian backed, Museum of Industrial History, in one of the former Bethlehem Steel buildings, as well as the Philadelphia area national parks.

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