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Sun Inn

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1758, 1983. 564–572 Main St.
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)

As in other religious communities, the nonbelieving public was housed outside of the boundaries of the religious community. The Sun Inn rivaled the Central Moravian Church ( NO22.6) as the town's most imposing structure. One of colonial America's most celebrated hotels, both for its cuisine and cleanliness, the Sun Inn served such notables as George and Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and the Marquis de Lafayette. A massive 66 × 40–foot four-story stone structure, it rests on four-foot-thick foundation walls set perpendicular to the street. In characteristic German fashion, the gable roof is gently canted at the eaves and jerkinheaded at either end, with a row of shed dormers on the entrance-side slope. In 1816 came the first of many alterations that resulted for more than a century in a five-story Italianate structure that totally subsumed the original building. Although some of its original fabric survives, most of the visible building is a facsimile created in 1983 on the basis of drawings from the Moravian archives. Bethlehem's downtown grew up around the inn.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Sun Inn", [Bethlehem, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 277-277.

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