This institution was founded in 1865 by Asa Packer, who then gave $500,000 and 60 acres (afterwards increased to 115 acres) of land in the borough, and by his will left to the university library $500,000, and to the university an endowment of $1,500,000 and a large interest (about one-third) in his estate.
The device employed for this purpose is known as the water-packer, and consists in its simplest form of an india-rubber ring, which is applied between the tubing and the well-casing, so that upon compression it makes a tight joint.
Mauch Chunk was for many years the home of Asa Packer, the projector and builder of the Lehigh Valley railroad from Mauch Chunk to Easton.
The principal buildings of the university are Packer Hall (1869), largely taken up by the department of civil engineering, the chemical and metallurgical laboratory, the physical and electrical engineering laboratory, the steam engineering laboratory, Williams Hall for mechanical engineering, &c., Saucon Hall for the English department, Christmas Hall, with drawing-rooms and the offices of the Y.M.C.A., the Sayre astronomical observatory, the Packer Memorial Church, the university library (1897), dormitories (1907) given by Andrew Carnegie, Drown Memorial Hall, a students' club, the college commons, and a gymnasium.
The Packer Collegiate Institute, opened as the successor of the Brooklyn Female Academy, in 1854, and endowed by Mrs Harriet L.
Packer, an institution for women, has primary, preparatory, academic and collegiate departments.