Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania

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Coordinates: 40°40′00″N 75°30′00″W / 40.66667°N 75.50000°W / 40.66667; -75.50000
Whitehall Township
Township
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Lehigh
Elevation 384 ft (117 m)
Coordinates 40°40′00″N 75°30′00″W / 40.66667°N 75.50000°W / 40.66667; -75.50000
Area 12.8 sq mi (33.2 km2)
 - land 12.6 sq mi (33 km2)
 - water 0.2 sq mi (1 km2), 1.56%
Population 26,738 (2010)
Density 1,981.1 / sq mi (764.9 / km2)
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal code 18052
Area code 610
Location of Whitehall Township in Lehigh County
Location of Whitehall Township in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States
Website: http://www.whitehalltownship.com

Whitehall Township is a township in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is a suburb of Allentown, Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley region of the state.

The population of Whitehall Township was 26,738 at the 2010 census.

History[edit]

1600's ~ 1700's The Province of Pennsylvania was created in 1681 when King Charles II granted a tract of land in the New World to William Penn. After the death of William Penn, his sons, John, Thomas and Richard, became the owners of Pennsylvania. The Delaware Indians deeded that part of Lehigh County lying between the Lehigh (South) Mountain and the Blue Mountains to Penn’s sons in 1736.

A wave of immigrants from Germany’s Palatinate settled in Whitehall Township, the first being Jacob Kohler, who settled in the vicinity of Egypt about 1728. The settlers staked their claim on the lands by applying to the Penn's for a land warrant. They cleared the land for farming and established churches around which villages grew.

When the first European settlers came to the Whitehall area, the Lenape Indians were living on the banks of the Hokendauqua River. The Europeans and the Lenape Indians gathered together and designed a deal based on how far the Europeans were able to walk in 2 days, that's how much land they would acquire. So to gain more land, the Europeans paid a professional runner, the runner was able to get as far as what is now Coaldale, Pennsylvania in Schuylkill County. A walk east got them as far as Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

The local tribe of native Americans, the Lenni Lenapes, lived peacefully among the white settles for a time. They suffered injustices at the hands of the settlers and lashed back during the last Indian uprising in Lehigh County in 1763. Fort Deshler, which stood near Rt. 145 at Chestnut Street, played a key role in the defense of our lands during this battle in which 23 settlers were killed.

1800's ~ Early 1900's The original Whitehall Township, established in 1753, was split into the three townships of Whitehall, North Whitehall and south Whitehall in 1867. The name Whitehall is said to have originated from Lynford Lardner’s hunting lodge that was painted with whitewash. Lardner named it “Grouse Hall”, but the common people of the region called it “White Hall”. Whitehall Township ’s villages include Cementon , Egypt , Fullerton , Hokendauqua, Mickleys, Stiles and West Catasauqua . Coplay was also part of Whitehall until it incorporated as a borough in 1869.

Agriculture was the major industry until the mid-1800’s. Today, about 2,000 acres are under cultivation. There were six grist mills in Whitehall , built to process grains for the farmers into flour and animal feed. Only one grist mill remains - the Helfrich Springs Grist Mill. It is the home of the Whitehall Historical Preservation Society, which has preserved the building for use as a local history museum.

Completion of the Lehigh Canal in 1829 led to further development. Discovery of iron ore deposits brought Whitehall into the Industrial Revolution when the first blast iron furnace was built in Hokendauqua in 1854. This was immediately followed by the establishment of a railroad system to transport raw materials to the furnaces and to ship the final product. Population grew rapidly as these industries attracted Welsh and Irish immigrants.

While the railroads were being constructed, cuts in the bedrock led to the discovery of Whitehall ’s deposits of Jacksonburg limestone or “cement rock”. David O. Saylor perfected and patented the process of manufacturing Portland Cement. The first Portland Cement plant was located between the villages of Cementon and Coplay. Others quickly followed and, by 1914, 70% of the cement produced in the United States came from the “Cement Belt” or Lehigh District. The cement industry attracted a new wave of immigrants from Austria-Hungary, creating yet another population spurt.

Whitehall became classified as a First Class Township with a population of 7,935 in 1900. This gave the Township specified municipal rights for supplying electric lights, highways and sewers at public expense.

Recent & Present Day The post-World War II era began the transition from the manufacturing industries to the retail industry as Whitehall became a bedroom community as a suburb of Allentown . The individual villages became united into one entity known as Whitehall in 1968, when the U.S. Post Office combined its separate town branches.

In 1974, voters approved the adoption of a Home Rule Charter form of government, creating a seven-member legislative body and an elected Executive. Today, with an annual budget in excess of $16 million, Whitehall provides a full range of municipal services to its residents.[1]

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 12.8 square miles (33.1 km²), of which, 12.6 square miles (32.6 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.6 km²) of it (1.80%) is water.

The township was originally created on March 20, 1753 and included what is now North Whitehall and South Whitehall Townships. In 1810, a petition was made to the Northampton County Court to split the township into two portions (at the time, the area now encompassed by Lehigh County was part of Northampton County).The name Whitehall refers to a white hall that was built along the Jordan in the early 1700s as a hunting lodge. The area had a large ruffed grouse population along with numerous white-tail deer, eastern elk, eastern wolves, and black bear. Mountain lions or cougars may have also existed within Whitehall Township at some point in time. Because of the rich biodiversity of the area it became known as the wilderness of Whitehall. Old growth forest consisting of oak, tulip poplar, hickory, black walnut, sugar maple, basswood, American chestnut, American beech, and sycamore covered the entire township.

In 1867 eastern portions of both North and South Whitehall were reapportioned into the current Whitehall Township. The new Whitehall Township is generally rectangular in shape, running from NNW to SSE and is situated along the western bank of the Lehigh River. Two years after the new township's formation, the Borough of Coplay was incorporated, removing from the township a square section of 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2). Whitehall is drained by the Lehigh River, which separates it from Northampton County and Catasauqua.

Its villages include Cementon, Egypt, Fullerton, Hokendauqua, Mickleys, North Coplay, Scherersville (also in South Whitehall) Stiles, and West Catasauqua. The township's main north-to-south road is MacArthur Road (PA 145), which has an interchange with US 22 in the south and crosses PA 329 in the north.

Adjacent municipalities[edit]

Maps[edit]

Demographics[edit]

As of the 2010 U.S. Census, there were 26,738 people living in the township. 83.6% were White, 3.0% were African American, 0.4% were Native American, 4.1% were Asian, 0.0% were Pacific Islander, 5.8% were from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.7% of the population.

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 24,896 people, 10,376 households, and 6,817 families residing in the township. The population density was 1,981.1 people per square mile (764.7/km²). There were 10,744 housing units at an average density of 855.0 per square mile (330.0/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 90.56% White, 2.74% African American, 0.13% Native American, 3.62% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.71% from other races, and 1.18% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.37% of the population.

There were 10,376 households out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 52% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the township the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 92.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $43,070, and the median income for a family was $51,597. Males had a median income of $39,175 versus $26,933 for females. The per capita income for the township was $21,383. About 4.4% of families and 6.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.7% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

Whitehall-Coplay School District serves the township, as well as the borough of Coplay. Students in grades 9–12 from both municipalities attend Whitehall High School.

There also are several parochial and private schools within the Township:

Notability[edit]

Historic sites[edit]

The Dent Hardware Company Factory Complex at Fullerton and Helfrich's Springs Grist Mill are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[3]

Businesses[edit]

The Lehigh Valley Mall, the largest Lehigh Valley-based shopping mall, is located in Whitehall Township, as is the Whitehall Mall.

Several radio stations have broadcast facilities within the township (all owned by Clear Channel Communications):

People[edit]

Government[edit]

Whitehall Township operates as a First Class Township. On November 5, 1974, the township adopted a Home Rule Charter (here) form of government that became effective January 5, 1976.

As part of this governmental arrangement, the Township has separate executive and legislative branches. The legislative branch consists of a Township Board of Commissioners of seven (7) members, each serving 4-year terms. Four of the seats have terms that overlap the remaining three seat terms (e.g. four of the current terms end in 2007, while the remaining 3 terms end in 2009). The seated members then elect a President and Vice President who conduct Board meetings.

The executive branch consists of a Mayor, who also serves a 4-year term. The Mayor may appoint a Deputy Mayor at his/her discretion, with approval from the Board of Commissioners. The Deputy Mayor does not automatically become Mayor should the standing Mayor leave office for any reason—a replacement is to be appointed by the Board of Commissioners.

Whitehall Township also maintains an elected Treasurer who serves a 4-year term.

Voting Districts[edit]

The township is broken into twelve (12) voting districts, each with one polling place. Below is a list of each district, a link to a district map, area covered and the current polling location for the district.

District Area Served Polling Place (map link)
District 1 Olympic Gardens/Spring Ridge/Mickley Run Church of Christ, 1419 Overlook Rd.
District 2 Fullerton/South of US-22 Ironworkers Local # 36, 521 Fifth St.
District 3 Fullerton/Jordan Park Area Ironworkers Local # 36, 521 Fifth St.
District 4 Fullerton/North-East of US-22 St. John’s Lutheran Church, 835 Third St.
District 5 Fullerton/North-West of US-22 Fullerton Memorial Comm. Center, 901 Jefferson St.
District 6 West Catasauqua West Catasauqua Playground Assoc., Pine St.
District 7 Mickley’s and North of Schadt Avenue Whitehall Recreation Building, 1975 Schadt Avenue
District 8 Hokendauqua 1st Presbyterian Church of Hokendauqua, 3005 S. Front St.
District 9 Stiles St. John the Baptist Catholic Church—Ruffena, 3120 Chestnut St.
District 10 Egypt Egypt Fire Company, 4099 Kuhn Lane
District 11 Cementon St. Paul’s Parish Hall, 2nd & Leisenring Sts.
District 12 Presidential Drive/Helfrich Springs Islamic Center of the Lehigh Valley, 1988 Schadt Avenue

Map source: Lehigh County, PA web site

Current Officials[edit]

Township[edit]

Mayor[edit]
  • Edward Hozza, Jr. (D; $83,628.00 {2012, 2013}, $83,628.00 {2014, 2015}[4] ); 2015
Township Treasurer[edit]
  • Diane M. Hunsicker (D; $59,000 {2010, 2011}, $64,385 {2012, 2013);[5] 2013
Township Commissioners[edit]
  • Linda K. Snyder Sr., President (D; $4,125[6]); 2013
  • Phillip Ginder, Vice President (D; $4,125); 2015
  • Paul F. Geissinger, Secretary (D; $4,125); 2013
  • Clair Hunsberger (D; $4,125); 2015
  • Gerard Palagonia (D; $4,125); 2013
  • Dennis Hower (D; $4,125); 2015
  • Thomas Slonaker (D: $4,125); 2013[7][8]

Lehigh County[edit]

County Executive[edit]

Tom Muller(D; $75,000); 2013

County Commissioners[edit]
  • 1st County District
    • Thomas C. Creighton III (R; $5,500); 2013
Whitehall Districts: 2, 4–12 (plus others outside Whitehall)
  • 4th County District
    • Daniel K. McCarthy, Vice Chair (D; $5,500); 2013
Whitehall Districts: 1, 3 (plus others outside Whitehall)

as of 2014 Whitehall entirely in 1st county District

Pennsylvania[edit]

Senate[edit]
State House[edit]
  • 133rd State Legislative District
    • Joseph F. Brennan (D; $73,614); 2010
Whitehall Districts: 2–6, 8–9 (plus others outside Whitehall)
  • 183rd State Legislative District
    • Julie Harhart (R; $73,614); 2010
Whitehall Districts: 1, 7, 10–12 (plus others outside Whitehall)

Federal[edit]

Senate[edit]
House[edit]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ William, Ford. "In a numbers game, Hunsicker looks to be No. 1". 
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  4. ^ "§ 1-13. Compensation of Mayor.". eCode360.com. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  5. ^ William, Ford. "In a numbers game, Hunsicker looks to be No. 1". The Morning Call. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "§ 1-7. Compensation of Commissioners.". eCode360.com. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Appointed on 15-May-2012 to replace Bruce Brinker who died in office.
  8. ^ Amanda, Greisser. "Whitehall Township names Thomas Slonaker the newest township commissioner". lehighvalleylive.com/Express-Times. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 

External links[edit]