Palmerton is a borough in Carbon County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is located in the Coal Region of the state, and is on the outskirts of the Lehigh Valley. The borough's population was 5,414 at the 2010 census.
Native Americans lived in the area that is now Palmerton for many years. Early European settlers established the villages of Hazard and Little Gap, which were part of Lower Towamensing Township. There was also an Underground Railroad station there. Palmerton was officially incorporated in 1912.
In 1912, the New Jersey Zinc Company located a Zinc smelting operation (now the West Plant) here, in order to take advantage of the anthracite coal being mined just north of Palmerton and the zinc mines in Franklin, New Jersey. The town was named after New Jersey Zinc's then-President, Stephen S. Palmer, though Palmer was reportedly not pleased with having his name on the town.
A second location, the East Plant, was established on the other side of town in 1911. Though other industries, such as several garment manufacturing shops, came to Palmerton, the zinc company was the major employer for most of the town's history. Much of the population came to the site, principally from Eastern Europe, in order to work in the zinc plants.
Zinc smelting was ended in 1980 due to a poor zinc market and environmental regulation.