Middletown Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
|Elevation||75 ft (22.9 m)|
|Area||19.4 sq mi (50.2 km2)|
|- land||19.1 sq mi (49 km2)|
|- water||0.3 sq mi (1 km2), 1.55%|
|Density||2,309.5 / sq mi (891.7 / km2)|
|- summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
Middletown Township is a township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 45,436 at the 2010 census. Many sections of Levittown, Pennsylvania, are located in the southern end of the township. The municipality surrounds the boroughs of Langhorne, Langhorne Manor, Penndel and Hulmeville; much of the township beyond Levittown uses Langhorne, Pennsylvania as a mailing address.
Also located within the township is Core Creek Park. The township also has many acres of protected woods, the largest being the woods behind Neshaminy High School. The Neshaminy Creek flows through these woods. There are also a few protected farms, significantly that of Styer's Orchards, which was saved from turning into the site of 632 homes in the late 1990s.
Sesame Place is located in Middletown Township.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 19.4 square miles (50.2 km²), of which, 19.1 square miles (49.5 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.7 km²) of it (1.39%) is water.
Middletown Township began as a farming community, with close proximity to trading towns such as Langhorne and Newtown. There are not many significant historical places located in the township apart from homes and farms constructed in the late 18th century.
Middletown Township was sparsely populated before 1950: there were only a little more than 2,000 people in 1930, compared to about 46,000 in 2010. Then William Levitt began his second Levittown, which included land of four municipalities, including that of Middletown. Twelve developments were constructed in the township, with the majority of them containing hundreds of homes. This marked the first planned residential development in the township. Meanwhile Langhorne Terrace was being constructed out of the Neshaminy Woods. During this decade, the township grow by over 440%, or more than 20,000 new residents. As the decades worn on, hundreds and hundreds of acres of pristine woods, rolling countryside, and productive farms continued to be swallowed into homes and businesses. In the 1970s, the Oxford Valley Mall was constructed, and at the time was named the country's largest mall for a short time. Growth continues to this day; however, Middletown has taken action. The township preserved hundreds of acres now known as Core Creek Park, which includes the sprawling Lake Luxembourg. Many woodlands and a few farms have also been saved. The township has transformed from a bucolic, rural area to a highly desirable and well-planned community, with low crime and an award-winning school district. This is why the township is still seeing a growing population, attracting many out-of-state residents and international migrants. Middletown also benefits from its convenient location. Located in the near center of the county, Middletown is close to almost any other municipality nearby, including the cities of Philadelphia, Trenton, and Princeton. Both I-95 and U.S. 1 pass through the township, offering its residents an easy commute, with the exception of rush hour traffic, which too has been greatly reduced and continues to be in ongoing road projects.
As of the 2010 census, the township was 88.3% Non-Hispanic White, 3.2% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 4.0% Asian, and 1.6% were two or more races. 3.1% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry .
As of the census of 2000, there were 44,141 people, 15,321 households, and 11,659 families residing in the township. The population density was 2,309.5 people per square mile (891.8/km²). There were 15,713 housing units at an average density of 822.1/sq mi (317.5/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 93.86% White, 2.10% African American, 0.15% Native American, 2.40% Asian, 0.55% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.71% of the population. The Asian population is a fast-growing segment of the township.
There were 15,321 households out of which 38.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.3% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.9% were non-families. 19.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.25.
In the township the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $63,964, and the median income for a family was $71,271. Males had a median income of $47,244 versus $32,154 for females. The per capita income for the township was $25,213. About 2.1% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.8% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over.
Like much of the Delaware Valley, Middletown's immigrant population is skyrocketing. With many new, upscale housing developments, many of the households were bought by foreign-born residents. Middletown's immigrant population largely consists of Indians, Koreans, Mexican Americans and Russians. However many others too, such as Chinese, Hispanics, and Arabs, have growing numbers. Aside from European immigration, Middletown's immigrant population has mostly arrived after 1990.
The township was once dominated by the Republican Party like most of Bucks County, due to a more bucolic, rural feel. However after years of growth, Democratic Chairman John Toth and migration of peoples from Democratic areas, the area has been trending Democratic rapidly, along with Bucks County. The Neshaminy School Board and Middletown Township Board of Supervisors both lack a one party dominance, which used to be mostly or all Republican. In the 2006 mid-term elections, Ed Rendell (Governor), Bob Casey (U.S. Senator) and Chris King (Pennsylvania's 142nd Representative District), who are all Democrats won the township. The heavily battled election between Mike Fitzpatrick and Patrick Murphy for the 8th Congressional district was split 50/50 like much of the area.
The Oxford Valley Mall is at the center of a vibrant commercial retail area. The area surrounding the mall has grown and has changed significantly in the past twenty years. Mainly car dealerships and car automotive shops were once the only structures around the mall. Today over 30 car dealerships remain, but many have been demolished for the new waves. Over 40 restaurant chains are in the vicinity, along with many major retail stores, such as Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Staples, and Barnes and Noble. A surplus of furniture stores are also located here, along with various hotel chains, a major hospital, and office buildings. Many homes have been constructed around the mall, the oldest being Langhorne Gardens, a branch of Levittown, Pennsylvania. Many newly constructed townhouses, condos, and large singe-family homes have been built. Traffic has become a major concern. Nearby U.S. 1 and Interstate 95 allow commuters to congest the mall area roads, along with the surplus of residents in the area. Over 400,000 people reside less than ten minutes from the mall, plus the many commuters from nearby New Jersey. Many major construction projects are planned for the major access roads. There is a significant, and fast-growing foreign presence in the area. As thousands of people from Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa have settled near the mall, there is a wide variety of ethnic food, churches, and superstores in its vicinity.
Middletown has a large mix of housing construction and time periods, which range from the fifties to new construction. Almost all the development that occurred in the fifties were the Levittown sections. Housing ranges from cheap single-family housing to exorbitant single-family living, and also townhomes, condos, assisted living, apartment complexes, deluxe apartment complexes, and 55+ housing. There are no trailer parks in Middletown. There are a handful of homes constructed before 1950, even a few dating back to the 18th century, however they are individual homes and scattered, due to Levittown being the first planned development. The most significant area with scattered housing periods is the area of Parkland. Houses date from every decade of the 20th century, and the 21st. Parkland has the lowest land value and family incomes than any other area of Middletown.
History of the Middletown Township Police Department
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Middletown Township was incorporated in 1692, but it was not until August 1952 that a full-time police department was established with the hiring of Chief Howard C. Shook. Chief Shook was the first police officer and police chief in Middletown Township. He was sworn in 8/17/1952 and worked out of the township building on Hulmeville Road and West Richardson Avenue. Chief Shook had been with the Pennsylvania State Police prior to taking control of the newly established Middletown Township Police Department. The department's first police vehicle, a 1952 Ford Deluxe, was provided to Chief Shook in October 1952.
There were no police radios before 1955 so officers had an interesting way of learning the public needed assistance. If the public needed the police then they had to call a number that was answered by an employee of Penndel Body Works. Penndel Body Works was one of the few businesses that was staffed twenty-four hours a day. The police officer had to drive past Penndel Body Works, which was located on East Lincoln Highway where Bucks County International is currently situated, and look to see if a signal light was lit. If the light was lit then the officer knew he had a call. He would then stop in to the business and get the call.
In 1959 the police department was relocated to 700 New Rodgers Road. The police department shared space with the township administration in the new building that was built at a cost of $190,000. At the time the department had the only jail with air-conditioned cells in the county. There were fifteen police officers on the force when they moved into the building. In 1965 an addition was added to the building but it was still shared by the township administration.
In 1982 the township purchased a new building at 2140 Trenton Road and moved the township administration offices to that location. The police department then took over the entire building at 700 New Rodgers Road.
In the spring of 2002, both the police department and the township offices were reunited again in a new municipal center located behind the Shoppes at Flowers Mill on Municipal Way. The new facility houses a state of the art multi-media training room, and an indoor firing range and is home to 53 full-time police officers and administrative staff.
In 1983 Chief Howard Shook retired after more than thirty years of service. Chief Shook had served as President of the International Chiefs of Police Association and was a respected member of the law enforcement community. By 1983 the police force had grown to 45 sworn officers, including the Chief, (6) Lieutenants, (3) Sergeants, (5) Detectives and (30) Patrol Officers. Lt. James Duncan was named the Acting Chief of Police from 1/1/83 until 8/2/83 when Chief Michael J. Chitwood was named the department's second Chief of Police.
Chief Chitwood had previously been a homicide detective in Philadelphia and was the most decorated officer in that department's history. He served as Police Chief from 8/2/83 until 4/1/88 when he left to become Chief of Police in Portland, Maine. Lt. Frank X. McKenna became the Acting Chief of Police and in 1989 was promoted to Chief.
Chief McKenna was hired in 1957 and worked his way up through the ranks of the police department. He established most of the neighborhood watch associations that exist in the township. The department also established a bicycle patrol and Special Response team under his leadership.
The Middletown Township Detective Division has made several of the area's largest narcotics arrests in terms of drug forfeiture value. They were recently responsible for Bucks County's first major gang/drug bust when they shut down the notorious Bloods of Trenton resulting in numerous arrests.
In the fifty-six years of its existence, the department has grown from one officer answering calls from signal lights to over fifty officers using digital radios and personal computers in their vehicles.
On January 29, 2009, Officer Chris Jones was killed in the line of duty while conducting a traffic stop. While returning to his patrol car, Officer Jones' patrol car was struck by a passing vehicle which caused his patrol car to strike him. Officer Jones was the first officer killed in the line of duty in the department's history.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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