King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

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Coordinates: 40°6′N 75°23′W / 40.100°N 75.383°W / 40.100; -75.383
King of Prussia
Census-designated place
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Montgomery
Township Upper Merion
Elevation 200 ft (61 m)
Coordinates 40°6′N 75°23′W / 40.100°N 75.383°W / 40.100; -75.383
Area 8.5 sq mi (22 km2)
 - land 8.4 sq mi (22 km2)
 - water 0.1 sq mi (0 km2), 1.18%
Population 19,936 (2010)
Density 2,345.4 / sq mi (905.6 / km2)
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Area code 610, 484
Location of King of Prussia in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States

King of Prussia is a census-designated place in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States. As of the 2010 census, its population was 19,936. The community took its name in the 18th century from a local tavern named the King of Prussia Inn, which was named after Frederick II, King of Prussia. Like the rest of Montgomery County, King of Prussia continues to experience rapid development. The largest shopping mall in the United States in terms of space and size, the King of Prussia Mall, is located here. Also located here is the headquarters of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Region I.

History[edit]

The eponymous King of Prussia Inn was originally constructed as a cottage in 1719 by the Welsh Quakers William and Janet Rees, founders of nearby Reeseville. The cottage was converted to an inn in 1769 and did a steady business in colonial times as it was approximately a day's travel by horse from Philadelphia. Settlers headed west to Ohio would sleep at the inn on their first night on the road. In 1774 the Rees family hired James Berry to manage the inn, which henceforth became known as "Berry's Tavern". General George Washington first visited the tavern on Thanksgiving Day in 1777 while the Continental Army was encamped at Whitemarsh; a few weeks later Washington and the army bivouacked at nearby Valley Forge.[1]

Parker's spy map,[2] created by a Tory sympathizer of the Kingdom of Great Britain, listed the inn as "Berry's" in 1777, but a local petition in 1786 identified it as the "King of Prussia". It was possibly renamed in honor of Benjamin Franklin's pro-American satirical essay "An Edict by the King of Prussia".[3] At some point a wooden signboard of the inn depicted King Frederick II (Frederick the Great) of Prussia. The inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[4]

The inn was forced to move with the expansion of U.S. Route 202. U.S. 202 is a major north-south highway that passes through the town from southwest to northeast. Its construction as a modern expressway would have caused the destruction of the King of Prussia Inn; however, historic preservationists managed to prevail upon the state of Pennsylvania to avoid this important structure by building north and southbound lanes on either side of it. For more than a quarter century the inn was marooned on a median island, with motor traffic whizzing past on both sides. It was sealed up for years, surrounded by a high fence. The inn was successfully relocated in 2000 and opened to the public in October 2002.

The extensive suburban development that has taken place since the 1960s in King of Prussia has led urban planning scholars like Joel Garreau to label the area as an epitome of the edge city phenomenon, a situation where the most vibrant economic growth and prosperity in a metropolitan area (in this case, Philadelphia) no longer occurs in the urban center, but rather at its periphery. Before 1960, the Greater King of Prussia area was known for little more than being the place of Washington's winter respite in 1777-8 (see Valley Forge National Historical Park).[5]

Daniel Berrigan and his brother Philip Berrigan began their Plowshares Movement at the General Electric Weapons Plant in King of Prussia in 1980.

Geography[edit]

Aerial view of King of Prussia, with the King of Prussia Mall in the foreground

There is no incorporated city of King of Prussia, although the United States Postal Service office there still carries that name (since 1850[6]). The zip code is 19406.[7] King of Prussia's boundaries, as defined by the Census Bureau, are the Schuylkill River to the north, U.S. Route 422 to the west, Bridgeport to the east, and I-76 to the south. However, the Greater King of Prussia Area is often cited to include Bridgeport, parts of Wayne and Radnor Township, King Manor, as well as most of Gulph Mills. The local fire department carries the King of Prussia name, whereas the police department and the school district carry the Upper Merion name.

King of Prussia is located at 40°6′N 75°23′W / 40.100°N 75.383°W / 40.100; -75.383 (40.0946, -75.3781).[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 8.5 square miles (22 km2), of which 8.4 square miles (22 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 0.83%, is water.

The area is served by area codes 610 and 484. 484 is an overlay area code.

Infrastructure[edit]

King of Prussia has retained its role as an important crossroads throughout United States history. In addition to the Inn, from the earliest days, the intersection supported two general stores. Today, four major highways meet in or near the center of King of Prussia. The Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) from Center City, Philadelphia, ends in King of Prussia at the Pennsylvania Turnpike, an east-west toll road across the southern portion of the state. US 422 begins near the center of town and heads west to Reading; thanks to reconstruction in 2000, motorists can now travel directly from Reading to Philadelphia without passing onto US 202. US 202 is the only major highway that becomes a surface road through the area.

The construction of the nation's largest shopping mall, thousands of homes, various hotels and highrises, strip malls, restaurants, freeways, a convention center, and much more has caused King of Prussia to become a highly developed community. One unfortunate side effect of the rapid development over the last several decades is that the plumbing and water drainage infrastructure is now barely able to handle the volume, leading to periodic water back ups for homes. The depth of this was shown on a larger scale in October and November 2010 when the King of Prussia Plaza flooded, causing serious damage to many of the first floor areas. Despite this, King of Prussia is seen as an idyllic place to live with some homes and farmsteads older than 200 years still dotting the rolling countryside. Much is being done to protect King of Prussia's many historic sites. Valley Forge National Historical Park, preserving the site where General George Washington and his Continental Army spent the winter of 1777–78, borders King of Prussia to the west.

King of Prussia is well served by many transit lines including buses, the Norristown High Speed Line operated by SEPTA, and the Rambler operated by the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association.

Companies[edit]

Satellite view of King of Prussia Mall

King of Prussia is home to the King of Prussia Mall, the largest shopping complex in the United States, based on shopping area square footage. (The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, is the largest when theme park square footage is included.) King of Prussia comprises two malls which are connected by a short covered crosswalk, originally developed and operated by Kravco Company, now owned and managed by Simon Property Group.

The Plaza at King of Prussia originally opened in 1960, and was under a continual expansion until 1968. The Court at King of Prussia, comprising 900,000 square feet (84,000 m2) GLA connected by an open-air walkway to The Plaza, opened in 1981. The Plaza was renovated and expanded between 1991–1996, to include nearly 1,900,000 square feet (180,000 m2) GLA. The Court was renovated during 1996. The complex is undertaking a massive expansion to connect the buildings under one roof for the first time. This expansion is expected to be complete in the Fall of 2016.

When the 180,000-square-foot (17,000 m2) Strawbridge's department store at the far end of the Court became vacant in the late 1990s, the original Kravco partners bought the building. Kravco Company re-tenanted it with big-box stores and restaurants such as The Cheesecake Factory, reducing GLA slightly, renaming that portion of The Court "The Pavilion."

Thus the total GLA at King of Prussia is in the vicinity of 2,800,000 square feet (260,000 m2) GLA, depending on the source used, making it the largest shopping complex in terms of GLA under one ownership in the United States. The Mall of America has more GLA under one roof, but is actually smaller than King of Prussia in terms of GLA.

The King of Prussia shopping complex caters to a very broad spectrum of consumers. Sales per square foot averages $600, among the highest in the industry. Current department stores at The Plaza include Neiman-Marcus, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, JCPenney, and Sears. Other notable Plaza tenants are Apple, Tiffany's, Hermès, Samsonite, and Crate & Barrel. Current department stores at The Court include Macy's and Bloomingdales.

Restaurants at the mall include Fox & Hound Pub, Bonefish Grill, Sullivan's Steakhouse, Ruby's, Maggiano's Little Italy, Rock Bottom, Legal Sea Foods, California Pizza Kitchen, The Cheesecake Factory, and three food courts. All of Darden Restaurants concepts are prominent in King of Prussia as well, including the flagship Red Lobster.

The King of Prussia shopping complex is rare among malls, because it is largely served by a modern energy-saving HVAC central plant and a unique high tension dual automatic switching electrical feeds, attesting to the foresight and sophisticated management style of the original Kravco owners and developers.

Other prominent retail space developed by others on the periphery of the mall includes big box stores such as Best Buy, and Costco Wholesale, a Toys "R" Us/Babies "R" Us Superstore, Nordstrom Rack, a Regal Entertainment Group theatre with IMAX, and Bahama Breeze, Champs, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, all directly across the street from the massive shopping mall. A large Home Depot is located within 1/4 mile, Walmart and Wegmans. These retail outlets employ 6,000 people in the area. Visitor traffic on average shopping day is in the 25,000 range, while on Christmas season weekends, it reaches over 125,000 daily.

Lockheed Martin has a large facility on a hill overlooking the mall as well. King of Prussia is also home to roughly 200 or more companies who have headquarters or regional offices in the area. AT&T Wireless, McKesson, Trane, MAACO, GSI Commerce, General Electric, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Fiserv, Cephalon, Merck & Co, Fidelity Investments, BNY Mellon, CSL Behring, Elan Pharmaceuticals, Hospira, Abbott Laboratories, GHS Pharma, Procurian,[9] and BNP Paribas are a few examples. The Theodore Presser Company, the United States's oldest music publisher, is also located in King of Prussia.

American Baptist Churches USA has its administrative headquarters in King of Prussia, in a building locally nicknamed "The Holy Doughnut" due to its shape.[10]

Lilly Pulitzer has its corporate headquarters in King of Prussia.

An Online Trading Academy office and center is also located in King of Prussia.[11]

In addition, major commercial property owners in King of Prussia formed an organization in 2010 called the King of Prussia Business Improvement District that works to improve the physical environment, market the area, and advocate for zoning, tax and transportation policies that will keep King of Prussia competitive in the region.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1990 18,406
2000 18,511 0.6%
2010 19,936 7.7%
http://www.city-data.com/city/King-of-Prussia-Pennsylvania.html.

As of the 2010 census, the CDP was 69.4% White Non-Hispanic, 5.7% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 18.6% Asian, and 2.1% were two or more races. 4.2% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry. 22.4% of the population was foreign-born.[2]

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 18,511 people, 8,245 households, and 4,773 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 2,202.4 people per square mile (850.8/km²). There is about 8,705 housing units at an average density of 1,035.7/sq mi (400.1/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 82.70% White, 10.62% Asian, 4.26% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.84% from other races, and 1.39% from two or more races. 1.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,245 households out of which 21.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.1% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 17.6% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 35.1% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 97.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $62,012, and the median income for a family was $75,882. Males had a median income of $50,803 versus $37,347 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $32,070. 3.2% of the population and 1.6% of families were below the poverty line. 1.8% of those under the age of 18 and 2.1% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Education[edit]

Public school students in the King of Prussia area attend schools in the Upper Merion Area School District. The schools include Caley Road, Roberts, Bridgeport, and Candlebrook Elementary, Upper Merion Area Middle School and Upper Merion Area High School. King of Prussia also has a Private school, Mother Teresa Regional Catholic School.

Notable people[edit]

  • Jobriath Boone - (born Bruce Wayne Campbell December 14, 1946 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, died August 3, 1983), A native of King of Prussia, he was an American folk and glam rock musician and actor. He was the first openly gay rock musician to be signed to a major record label, Elektra Records.[13]
  • The Bloodhound Gang - A comedic rock band originating in the early '90s from King of Prussia.[14]
  • Charlie Brenneman - Professional Mixed Martial Arts competitor with a 15–7 record.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Haley, Bill. '"A Home For The Inn," Berry’s Tavern in Merionethshire, and the "Other" Valley Forge'. Accessed June 23, 2006.
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Franklin, Benjamin.reprinted on The History Carper.
  4. ^ Greater Valley Forge Chamber of Commerce. "King of Prussia's name". Accessed June 23, 2006.
  5. ^ Infield, Tom (June 17, 2008). "King of Prussia still evolving". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ Historic Reeseville. The name of the town was chosen because there were ten Kings that originally lived in the town. "Early King of Prussia. Accessed June 23, 2006.
  7. ^ "King Of Prussia Pennsylvania ZIP Code Map Free". HipCodes.com. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ procurian.com
  10. ^ "Associated Baptist Press - American Baptists may sell historic 'Holy Doughnut,' Pa. headquarters". Old.abpnews.com. 2006-10-20. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  11. ^ "Online Trading Academy Locations". Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ Jobriath
  14. ^ Jeffries, David. "Bloodhound Gang - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 

External links[edit]