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South Mountain Forest Program Reports, 1957-1964


Held at: Lehigh University Special Collections [Contact Us]Lehigh University, Linderman Library, 30 Library Drive, Bethlehem, PA 18045

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Lehigh University Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

James M. Francis, a registered consulting forester, was hired by Bethlehem Steel Corporation in 1957 to set up a division to handle the timber management of the thousands of acres of woodlands owned by Bethlehem Steel and rehabilitation of the vegetation on South Mountain, Bethlehem, Pa., where the corporation was about to construct its Homer Research Laboratories. Around 1956 Bethlehem Steel acquired 1000 acres of the mountaintop of South Mountain adjacent to Lehigh University between Bethlehem and Hellertown, Pennsylvania on which to build a research center with the idea to concentrate research into one facility. The woodlands covering much of the mountain had the effect of years of heavy, uncontrolled cutting, as well as frequent forest fires. With the establishment of a forestry division, the corporation also began a sawmill to accommodate selective cutting of the mature trees, as well as using untreed corporation lands for tree farms and reclamation of the piles of coal-mine refuse planting experimentally with trees, shrubs and grasses to stabilize the piles against wind and water erosion. Bethlehem Steel wanted to be a good neighbor. Even in the days of Charles M. Schwab, Bethlehem Steel founder, the company was interested in "good housekeeping." Specifically, the South Mountain Research Center was created to deal with the construction disruption on South Mountain. Following that specific project, Mr. Francis continued to work for Bethlehem Steel's forestry division establishing reclamation projects for abandoned tailings and coal-mine refuse piles. Specific to the building of the Homer Research Laboratories, by 1957 the site was graded and cleared for test borings for foundations and utilities laid. The first stage of construction was to begin by mid-1958 with the first steel-frame structures completed by early 1959. Occupancy was Fall 1960 for the main office and laboratory, process metallurgy pilot plant, warehouse and shops, boiler house and photographic laboratory. These laboratories overlooked the Bethlehem Steel General Office in south Bethlehem from their position on the mountaintop. Eventually on the demise of Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Lehigh University acquired the properties and named Mountaintop Campus.

The collection is composed of four booklets assembled by Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s project forester, James M. Francis, Jr. The earliest reports were semi- annual and later became an annual report. They appear to have been used only for Inter-office correspondence as an accounting for the "project" of a forestry program on South Mountain for which BSC hired Mr. Francis. This project was named the South Mountain Research Center. In 1957 Bethlehem Steel organized its forestry division to supervise the vegetation on South Mountain in Bethlehem where the corporation was constructing its Homer Research Laboratories.

The arrangement of the collection is chronological.

Material was acquired in 2019 from the Facilities Services.

Special Collections owns a number of Bethlehem Steel Corporation publications.

Lehigh University Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Ilhan Citak and Eleanor Nothelfer
Finding Aid Date
September 23, 2019
Access Restrictions

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Use Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

MS 0373.01.01. Progress Report of the Forestry Program, June 17 to December 31, 1957.
Box MS 0373.01 Folder 01
Scope and Contents

Folder 1: Progress Report of the Forestry Program June 17 to December 31, 1957 incl. in conjunction with the South Mountain Research Center, J. M. Francis Jr., Project Forester, 13 pages. Report cover has charming forestry drawings [Report on the first six months of the project work.]

MS 0373.01.02. South Mountain Forest Improvement Program Eighteenth Month Report, December, 1958.
Box MS 0373.01 Folder 02
Scope and Contents

Folder 2: South Mountain Forest Improvement Program Eighteenth Month Report Dec. 1958 J.M. Francis, Forester, 10 pages. Report cover is attractive with tree and crossed axes. [Report has a Forest Improvement Program Graphics]

MS 0373.01.03. South Mountain Forest Improvement Program, 1959.
Box MS 0373.01 Folder 03
Scope and Contents

Folder 3: South Mountain Forest Improvement Program 1959 Annual Report J.M. Francis Jr. Forester, 10 pages. Report cover has charming drawings of forest animals. [Discusses The Management Plan]

MS 0373.01.04. South Mountain Annual Report, 1964 to January 4, 1965.
Box MS 0373.01 Folder 04
Scope and Contents

Folder 4: South Mountain Annual Report 1964 J.M. Francis, Forester, January 4, 1965, 6 pages, 12 photographs. [An Inter-office correspondence from J. M. Francis to P. F. Rivers to the Attn: of J. W. Powers dated January 4, 1965 [has a Prospectus for 1965 which extends the forestry programs to other areas under Bethlehem Steel ownership]

MS 0373.02.01. Articles from Bethlehem Steel Corporation publication "Bethlehem Review", March 1958 to November 1966.
Box MS 0373.02 Folder 01
Scope and Contents

Folder 5: Articles from Bethlehem Steel Corporation publication "Bethlehem Review" March 1958, April 1965, November 1966.

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