Lebanon was settled by European colonists in 1720, many with the family names of “Steitz” and “Light”, along a creek that was then named “Steitz Creek”. The Light patriarchs built a fort to protect against Indians and named it “Light’s Fort”. The town was laid out in 1753, incorporated as a borough on February 20, 1821, and became a city on November 25, 1885. It adopted the commission form of government, consisting of four councilmen and a mayor.
Lebanon bologna was first made here. Lebanon was formerly home to a major steel mill operated by Bethlehem Steel.