The Borough of Coplay is situated along the Lehigh River, about 5 miles north of Allentown. It is part of the 400 acres of land John Jacob Schreiber bought from the William Penn heirs in 1740. For a long time it was known as Schreibers. Later it was known as the Lehigh Valley, because of the Lehigh Valley Iron Furnaces that were located here. Lehigh Valley was then changed to Coplay. This name came from "Kolapechka". The son of the Indian chief, Paxanosa, who lived at the head of the creek near Schnecksville. The Borough of Coplay was formed out of a part of Whitehall Township in 1869 and was incorporated as a borough on April 7th, 1869.
Gradually Coplay changed from a farming area into an Industrial Community. The Thomas Iron Company started the change. They brought in workers and built homes for them. When the Iron Company was liquidated, other industries gradually came to Coplay; the Cement Mill, the Silk Mill, the Cigar Factory and Knitting Mill.
Coplay became a "melting pot" of many nationalities. The Pennsylvania Dutch and Germans, who were the agricultural element. Due to growth of the Iron Industry, immigrants from Ireland came. Then, in the early nineteen hundreds, the Cement Mills attracted immigrants from Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Ukrainian Countries. It was thus that our town had its early beginnings.
In 1773, some 30 years after the first settlement had been made, Lehigh County showed great improvements. There were few Indians remaining after 1740. They had nearly all passed beyond the Blue Mountains, only here and there a family or individual Indian remained in tent upon some chosen spot of ancient hunting ground. One of these was Kolapechka, an old chief residing on the creek which bears his name, Coplay. He was on friendly terms with his white neighbors and was frequently employed by the government to carry messages and act as an interpreter.
The village of Coplay, along the bank of the Lehigh River, was founded in 1853. In 1990 its population numbered 1,581. It was the seat of the Coplay Iron Works. There were, at this time, a number of stores, hotels, churches and schools. An electric trolley connected Coplay to Allentown.