Oral History

Shimersville, a community no longer in existence, was situated on the south side of the Lehigh River, along the banks of the Saucon Creek. In 1855, Shimersville had 15 houses, one hotel, one store, one merchant mill, one woolen manufacturer, and an iron foundry owned by John Knecht, an enterprising businessman who owned most of the village’s property.

An early settler named Jebediah Irish purchased 500 acres along the Saucon Creek in 1735. Irish built the area’s fist grist mill along the Saucon sometime before 1740. There were so few mills at the time that the Moravians of Bethlehem had a road built especially to reach Irish’s property. Irish’s grist mill prospered, but his land eventually passed hands to a lawyer from Philadelphia named John Curry, who resided at the mill for many years. He erected a ferry – Curry’s Ferry – that crossed the Lehigh River to the village on the west bank later known as Freemansburg. Curry’s Ferry was replaced in 1816 by a covered wooden bridge, which stood at the same location of the concrete bridge that connects the two banks of the Lehigh today.

Shimersville’s buildings were torn down in the early 20th century to make way a coke manufacturing plant owned Bethlehem Steel Corporation.