The Lebanon Valley is filled with many historic sites, and its many area museums and historical sites celebrate this noteworthy characteristic of the community.
The Lebanon County Historical Society is an ideal starting point when getting to know the Lebanon Valley. The Historical Society owns and maintains the Union Canal Tunnel, the oldest transportation tunnel in existence in the U.S., and is also home to the Stoy Museum, research archives and a gift shop. Harrisburg and Reading were once linked by the Union Canal and both the tunnel and canal are located within Union Canal Tunnel Park, a recreational area worth visiting on 25th Street and Union Canal Drive.
For over 20 years, people have gathered in Union Canal Tunnel Park on the third weekend of May to celebrate Union Canal Days. Musical entertainment, canal boat rides, a silent auction, a petting zoo, Colonial crafts and much more are enjoyed each May at this event.
There are historic sites located throughout the Lebanon Valley. The community’s boroughs, hamlets and downtown areas are filled with their own unique features. The Alan and Muriel Pense Biblical Archaeology Museum at the Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown contains nearly 500 archaeological artifacts from the lands of the Bible. The collection contains pieces from every period of ancient history, from Neolithic to Medieval times. The artifacts come from all parts of the Biblical world, including Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Phoenicia, Assyria, Babylonia, Sumer, Persia, Cyprus, Asia Minor, Crete, Greece, and Italy. The nature and scope of the collection make it an invaluable resource for teaching, study, and research at the Seminary.
Part of the local National Historic Landmark District is the renowned Cornwall Iron Furnace. It has been recognized as such by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service. The American Society of Metals has recognized it as a National Historic Landmark, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers honored it as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.
The Iron Furnace’s numerous accolades have not been awarded without reason: the Cornwall Iron Furnace stands today as America’s most complete charcoal-fueled, iron-making complex. Visitors can tour buildings in which cannons, stoves and pig iron were cast and see where men toiled day and night to fuel the furnace. The Cornwall Iron Furnace is located on Rexmont Road at Boyd Street in Cornwall.
Food enthusiasts shouldn’t leave town without first paying a visit to Kutztown/Weaver’s Bologna Co. and Seltzer’s Smokehouse Meats, both of which are homes of the world-famous Lebanon Bologna. Other area attractions and events not to be missed include Light’s Fort, Reading Railroad Station, the Chestnut Street Log Cabin, the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, the Lebanon Farmers’ Market, Hershey Park, Hershey’s Chocolate World, the Stoy Museum, Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, Swatara Water Trail, the Cold Spring Hotel site and the Cold Spring site walking tour, Governor Dick’s Tower in Mount Gretna and Mount Gretna Lake.