Historic Moravian Bethlehem is located in the heart of the City of Bethlehem. The Moravians located their crafts, trades, and industries along the waterways and their dwellings on the limestone bluff above.
The Moravians in Bethlehem lived in a communal society organized into groups, called choirs, and segregated by age, gender, and marital status. Because of that structure, Moravians built large choir houses, superb examples of German Colonial style architecture in America. In addition to living together, Moravians worked together under the General Economy, a system where everyone works and provides for the good of the community and, in return, receives care from birth to death.
Historic Moravian Bethlehem has a high degree of both integrity and authenticity, and encompasses excellent examples of the architecture and town planning of the 18th-century community. Today, a Moravian from the mid-1700s would recognize his or her community and feel at home walking the streets of Bethlehem.
Although most houses are original and only slightly reconstructed, several buildings, like the smithy are full reconstructions. Blacksmithing was one of the most important trades in Colonial America, since smiths made or repaired tools, kitchen utensils, weapons, agricultural implements, and household items. The Smithy was built in 1750 expanded in 1761 and a second floor added. The Smithy had workrooms and forges for the nailsmith, locksmith, blacksmith, tinsmith, gunsmith, and gunstock maker.
The building stood until the early 20th century when it was dismantled and converted into brownstone dwellings which were later demolished. In 2004, the Smithy was reconstructed of limestone taken from a local 1700s barn being torn down, and was built on the foundations of the original smithy, thanks to detailed records kept by the Moravians and stored in the Moravian Archives.
The original vaulted cistern is intact. An archaeological report, tools, and metal objects made in the 18th-century smithy are in the Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites collection. Today, the Smithy is an historic site where trained blacksmiths demonstrate the skills needed to work in a 1700s blacksmith shop.
Text source: Historicbethlehem.org
Photo: The Tannery. By Pubdog - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17055480