Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania
Andalusia a NRHP in the township
|Elevation||102 ft (31.1 m)|
|Area||21.0 sq mi (54.4 km2)|
|- land||20.0 sq mi (52 km2)|
|- water||1.0 sq mi (3 km2), 4.76%|
|Density||2,926.7 / sq mi (1,130 / km2)|
|Mayor||Joseph DiGirolamo (R)|
|- summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP codes||19020, 19053|
Bensalem Township is a township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States which borders the northeast section of Philadelphia. The township is composed of many communities, including Bensalem, Trevose, Oakford, Cornwells Heights, Eddington, and Andalusia. As of the 2010 census, the township had a total population of 60,427, which makes it the largest municipality in Bucks County, and the ninth largest in Pennsylvania. The township, which was founded in 1692, is almost as old as the state of Pennsylvania itself, which was founded in 1682.
The origins of Bensalem likely comes from references made by settler Joseph Growden, who named his estate as Manor of Bensalem' in honor of William Penn, the son of peace and the Semitic term for peace Salem. Originally named Salem, the word Ben was added in 1701.
Bensalem is the southernmost township in Bucks County and is bordered by Philadelphia to the west and south, Croydon and the rest of Bristol Township to the east and northeast, Hulmeville and Middletown Township to the north, and Feasterville, Trevose, and Oakford in Lower Southampton Township to the northwest. Across the Delaware River in Burlington County, New Jersey to the southeast, there are Beverly, Delanco Township, and Edgewater Park Township.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 21.0 square miles (54 km2), of which, 20.0 square miles (52 km2) of it is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) of it (4.77%) is water.
The fall line, which separates the Atlantic Coastal Plain region from the Piedmont region, runs through Bensalem, and is visible around the Neshaminy Mall area. The Neshaminy Creek forms the natural eastern boundary and Poquessing Creek forms the natural western boundary of the township.
As of the 2010 census, the township was 72.1% Non-Hispanic White, 7.3% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 10.2% Asian, and 2.6% of the population were of two or more races. 8.4% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry.
As of the census of 2000, there were 58,434 people, 22,627 households, and 15,114 families residing in the township. The population density was 2,926.7 people per square mile (1,129.8/km²). There were 23,535 housing units at an average density of 1,178.8/sq mi (455.0/km²).
There are 22,627 households of which 30.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 26.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.14.
In the township the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 99.0 males. For every 100 women age 18 and over, there were 96.9 men.
The median income for a household in the township was $49,737, and the median income for a family was $58,771. Men had a median income of $39,914 versus $30,926 for women. The per capita income for the township was $22,517. 7.4% of the population and 6.0% of families were below the poverty line. Of the total population, 6.8% of those under the age of 18 and 10.6% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Jewish religious life
The Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center, located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, encompasses the following facilities and services:
- A Outreach Center.
- The Joseph and Martha Melohn Bucks County Mikvah (a ritual bath).
- The Bucks County Hebrew School.
- The Bensalem Community Kollel (for post-graduate Talmud studies).
- The Neshaminy Valley Eruv Corporation.
- Congragation Kehillas B'nai Shalom (a Shul (synagogue) with daily Minyanim).
- Torah Learning Center Bensalem Preschool.
- The Zichron Yeshayahu Elbogen Bais Medrash (Torah study center).
Landmarks and attractions
Bensalem is home to Parx Casino and Racetrack, a 1-mile (1.6 km) thoroughbred horse racing track. This facility opened in November 1974 as Keystone Racetrack. The name was changed to Philadelphia Park in 1984. The track became notable as the original home of 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes champion Smarty Jones, who placed second in the Belmont Stakes, narrowly missing the Triple Crown. In 2006, a slots parlor casino opened at Philadelphia Park and the facility was renamed to Philadelphia Park Racetrack and Casino. A permanent standalone casino structure opened in December 2009 and was renamed PARX Casino. The facility boasts 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2) including gaming, entertainment and banquet space.
The Mission Center and National Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel is located on Bristol Pike in Bensalem. The shrine houses the remains of St. Katharine Drexel, born in 1858 to a wealthy Philadelphia family. As a young woman Saint Katharine turned her back on a life of privilege to serve the poor, focusing on Native- and African Americans. She founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in 1891. The next year she and thirteen other sisters moved into St. Elizabeth Convent in Bensalem. St. Katharine died in 1955 and was canonized in 2000. The shrine welcomes visitors daily.
Bensalem is also home to the Mongkoltepmunee Buddhist Temple, or Wat Mongkoltepmunee, on Knights Road. This shrine is an exact replica of a temple in Bangkok and is the only one of its kind in the United States. It serves as a place of high ceremonies and meditation for a community of Buddhist monks who came to Bensalem from Thailand in the 1980s.
The township is the site of the Cornwells Heights SEPTA station, which is the largest park-and-ride in the state of Pennsylvania  and serves as a commuter rail station to New York City. Two SEPTA regional rail lines, a freight line, and multiple SEPTA buses pass through the township.
The Neshaminy Mall is located within Bensalem. It was one of the first malls to be constructed in the country in 1968. It has four main anchors (three department stores and one movie theatre) and over 120 smaller shops and eateries. The AMC Neshaminy 24 Theater is the largest and highest sales-producing theater in Pennsylvania. In addition, it has on many occasions been a top 10 for theater engagements in the United States (including the opening of Signs where it was #1). 
Benjamin Franklin would often travel to Bensalem to visit his friend, Joseph Galloway, at Growden Mansion. At the time, the Galloway family owned all of present day Bensalem Township. A local legend maintains that Franklin performed his famous kite-flying experiment in Bensalem, at the mansion, to prove that lightning was the same as static electricity. (The broader consensus is that Benjamin Franklin flew his kite closer to his home in Philadelphia.)
Bensalem township is readily accessible with Interstate 95, U.S. Route 1, Pennsylvania Turnpike, U.S. Route 13, Woodhaven Road (PA 63) and Street Road all passing through. The Bensalem (formerly Philadelphia) Interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (exit 351, at U.S. Route 1) is in the Trevose section of the township. In addition, the eastbound Street Road interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (exit 352), which is E-ZPass only, is now open in Bensalem.
In 1987, the people of Bensalem voted to become a second-class township with a five-member council and a mayor. The township has its own nine-member school board.
The current Republican mayor, Joseph DiGirolamo, is in his fifth consecutive term. He was elected mayor in 1994. His fifth term expires December 31, 2013.
- Bensalem Township. Bensalemtwp.org (1979-03-19). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
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- "CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING". U.S. Census Bureau.
- Census 2010: Pennsylvania. Usatoday.Com. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
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- US Northeast | Thai Buddhist temple to rise. Buddhistchannel.tv (2007-08-13). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
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- The Unofficial "Signs" Movie Site | Bensalem Shoot. Signsmovie.co.uk. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
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- Klein, Michael. (2010-12-09) Inqlings: Tango Traffic green-lights first on-air hires. Philly.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
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- Pennsylvania Turnpike-Northeast Extension (I-476). Phillyroads.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- Fortune 500 2010: Top 1000 American Companies - Charming Shoppes - FORTUNE on CNNMoney.com. Money.cnn.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
- Bensalem Township Home Page
- Bensalem Township School District
- BensalemAlive.com - Community Website for Bensalem and Surrounding Areas
- BucksCountyAlive.com - Community Website for Bucks County, PA
Lower Southampton Township