Upper Darby Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania

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Coordinates: 39°57′30″N 75°18′29″W / 39.95833°N 75.30806°W / 39.95833; -75.30806
Upper Darby Township
Home Rule Municipality
First Class Township
Row Houses in Upper Darby, with the Philadelphia skyline in the background
Nickname: UD
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Delaware
Elevation 230 ft (70.1 m)
Coordinates 39°57′30″N 75°18′29″W / 39.95833°N 75.30806°W / 39.95833; -75.30806
Area 7.9 sq mi (20.5 km2)
 - land 7.9 sq mi (20 km2)
 - water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%
Population 82,795 (2010)
Density 10,397.7 / sq mi (4,014.6 / km2)
Mayor Thomas N. Micozzie
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Area code 484
Location of Upper Darby Township in Delaware County
Location of Upper Darby Township in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States
Website: http://www.upperdarby.org
Row houses on Richfield Road

Upper Darby Township (often shortened to Upper Darby) is a home rule township[1] bordering West Philadelphia in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. Upper Darby is also home to the Tower Theater, a historic music venue on 69th street built in the 1920s. Upper Darby's population is diverse, representing over 100 ethnic cultures located within its densely populated, rowhouse streets. It is Pennsylvania's sixth most populous municipality.

Located just 2.8 miles from Center City (downtown Philadelphia), Upper Darby houses the western terminus of the Market-Frankford Line of the SEPTA mass transit system of Philadelphia, with the location at 69th street in the heart of Upper Darby's principal business district. Multiple trolley and bus lines connect the 69th Street Terminal to all major SEPTA lines of Philadelphia.

Upper Darby is 65% residential, 25% commercial, and 8% other. As of the 2010 census, the township had a total population of 82,795.[2] Because of a home-rule charter adopted in 1974 and effective in 1976,[1] Upper Darby utilizes a mayor-council form of management, unlike communities that are still under the Pennsylvania Township Code. ("First Class" townships in Pennsylvania have a board of commissioners divided into wards, and "Second Class" townships having a board of supervisors, which are usually elected "at-large".)


Early settlement[edit]

The area was first settled in the late 1653 by a group from New Sweden. The Township was founded during a split from Darby Township on August 30, 1736. However it was not incorporated under a new rule the Nawab of Upper Darby. The abundance of creeks and streams in the area favored the development of mills and it was in Upper Darby that the first mills in Delaware County could be found. The mill trade greatly increased the population of Upper Darby, from just over 800 in 1800 to almost 5000 by 1890.

"The Swedish Cabin", thought to have been built in 1654, is located on Creek Road along the Darby Creek and is believed by many to be a remnant of the early Swedes, who introduced the log cabin to this area. Today the "Swedish Cabin" is designated with a Pennsylvania Historical Marker. The Cabin is also on the National Register of Historic Places.[3]

19th and 20th centuries[edit]

Upper Darby Township was settled by Quakers and formed out of Darby Township in 1736. In 1789, Upper Darby was one of the several municipalities that voted to secede from Chester County and form a new county, hence Delaware County was established with the seat at Chester City.[4]

In 1851 the seat was moved to Media, where it remains today. Reflecting its Quaker beginnings, Upper Darby was active in the antislavery movement. Many homes in the area were stops on the Underground Railroad. Two regiments from Upper Darby took part in the fighting in the American Civil War, and one, the 106th, was involved in the Battle of Antietam. The business district is noted for many fine examples of Art Deco style buildings. The 20th century saw a population explosion in Upper Darby. By the 1960s it ranked as the 7th most populous municipality in Pennsylvania, eclipsing such cities as Harrisburg (the state capital), Chester and Bethlehem.[5]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 7.9 square miles (20.4 km²). The township lies on the edge of the Piedmont slightly above the City of Philadelphia (60 to 260 feet above sea level). The area is crossed by several small creeks. The borough of East Lansdowne, Pennsylvania is an enclave completely surrounded by Upper Darby Township; additionally, an exclave of Upper Darby Township is separated from the rest of the township.

The census-designated place of Drexel Hill and the communities (or neighborhoods) of Aronimink, Beverly Hills, Bywood, Drexel Park, Highland Park, Llanerch Hills, Kellyville, Kirklyn, Oakview, Primos, Secane, Stonehurst, and Westbrook Park are part of Upper Darby Township.

Adjacent municipalities[edit]

Pennsylvania State Insect[edit]

In the early 1970s, students from Highland Park Elementary School began a campaign to have the Pennsylvania Firefly declared the official state insect of Pennsylvania. With advice and support from state legislators, the students began a campaign that included letter writing, the circulation of petitions, and the distribution of bumper stickers. On April 10, 1974, Governor Milton J. Shapp signed their bill making the Pennsylvania Firefly their state's official insect. A couple of years later, Highland Park Elementary School was presented with a bronze plaque in honor of the students' achievement.[6][7]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 47,145
1940 56,883 20.7%
1950 84,951 49.3%
1960 93,158 9.7%
1970 95,910 3.0%
1980 84,054 −12.4%
1990 81,777 −2.7%
2000 81,821 0.1%
2010 82,795 1.2%

As of the 2010 census, the township was 56.6% White, 27.5% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 11.1% Asian, and 2.7% of the population were of two or more races. 4.5% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry [3].

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 85,038 people, 32,551 households, and 20,474 families residing in the township. The population density was 14,658.7 people per square mile. There were 34,322 housing units at an average density of 4,361.6 per square mile (1,683.8/km²). The racial makeup of Upper Darby was 59.1% White; 20.5% African American; 15.3% Asian; 0.12% Native American; 0.03% Pacific Islander; 0.52% from other races and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 2.4% of the population

There were 32,551 households out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.0% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.1% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.23.

Upper Darby, along with Cheltenham and West Philadelphia, are areas around Philadelphia that have significant Korean populations

In the township the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64 and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.2 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $41,489, and median income for a family was $52,500. Males had a median income of $38,090 versus $30,416 for females. The per capita income for the township was $20,770. About 7.3% of families and 9.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.1% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.[9]

Upper Darby, along with Cheltenham and West Philadelphia are the areas in the Philadelphia region that have large Korean populations. The original Koreatown was in the Olney section of the city, and then moved to Logan section.

Historic Sites[edit]


Upper Darby Township's Public Education is served by the Upper Darby School District. In all, the 12 Public Schools plus the Kindergarten Center serve nearly 12,000 students. The district has one high school, Upper Darby High School, and two middle schools, Beverly Hills Middle School and Drexel Hill Middle School. Upper Darby High School is the largest High School in the State of Pennsylvania with well over 4,000 students.

In addition to the public school district, Upper Darby is home to several parochial and private schools. Monsignor Bonner High School (for boys) and Archbishop Prendergast High School (for girls), both Roman Catholic, are the largest private schools in the Township. Both schools offer grades 9–12 with a combined enrollment close to 55,00students. In addition to the two high schools, there are nine parochial primary and middle schools located in the Township including the St. Lucy Day School for Children with Visual Impairments, with a combined enrollment of 2,867. Almost all of the private academic schools in the Township are administered by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia except for the Holy Child Academy, which is a Catholic academy run by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus.

Also available to residents of Upper Darby and surrounding areas is the Upper Darby Adult Evening Program (UDAEP). UDAEP offers professional development and general education classes to township residents. UDAEP is an independent non-profit entity separate from the Upper Darby School District.[11]

Delaware County Community College operates a center in Upper Darby's Barclay Shopping Center.

Parochial schools[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 323 Pennsylvania Code § 25.1–101 et seq.
  2. ^ http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=DEC_10_PL_QTPL&prodType=table
  3. ^ The History and Development of Upper Darby Township(Thomas J. DiFilippo, Upper Darby Historical Society, 1992) http://www.upperdarby.org/cabin.html
  4. ^ Historically Speaking (Upper Darby Historical Society. Fall 2007 – Vol. 23 – No. 1)http://www.udhistory.org/Newsletter/UDHS_Fall_2007_Newsletter_Vol23_No1.pdf
  5. ^ Township History (Upper Darby Township and Sellers Memorial Free Public Library) http://www.upperdarby.org/history.html
  6. ^ [1] Pennsylvania: The Keystone State
  7. ^ [2] State Symbols USA: Pennsylvania State Insect
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ Delaware County Today/Almanac: 81st Edition
  10. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  11. ^ Delaware County Planning Department http://www.co.delaware.pa.us/planning/gis.html

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bordering communities
of Philadelphia

With: Millbourne
Succeeded by
Haverford Township