“It was an incredibly sophisticated operation,” he said. “It was the most advanced system for its time.”

Children weren’t the only ones learning as families wandered the grounds of the Colonial Industrial Quarter. Blacksmith and tinsmiths demonstrated their talents, and the 1762 Waterworks was turning busily, letting visitors see up close how the Moravian settlers created the nation’s first municipal water system. It was a system Philadelphia copied 30 years later, museum teacher Ed Land said.

At one time, the Industrial Quarter — the nation’s first industrial park — included a tannery, a butchery, an oil mill, a soap boiler, a hattery and even a potter.

“We have an interesting history here,” said Charlene Donchez Mowers, president of Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites. “Bethlehem is a microcosm of the history of this country, from Colonial days to the 21st century.”

Christy Potter is a freelance writer.