Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania
|Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania|
Andalusia a NRHP site in Bensalem
|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 (1,130.0/km2)|
|Mayor||Joseph DiGirolamo (R)|
|- summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP codes||19020, 19053|
|Area code||215 and 267|
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 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.
Bensalem has a significant Jewish community, with the following institutions.
- The Bensalem Jewish Outreach Center, an Orthodox Jewish outreach institution with associated synagogue Kehillas B'nai Shalom.
- Congregation Tifereth Israel, a Conservative synagogue.
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 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 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 is home to the Philadelphia Gun Club which hosts one of the few trap pigeon shoots in the United States. Live birds are released from boxes called traps and then shot by club members. Many birds are not killed outright and are collected to be killed by hand.
Bensalem Township is readily accessible with Interstate 95, U.S. Route 1, Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 276), U.S. Route 13, Pennsylvania Route 63 (Woodhaven Road) and Pennsylvania Route 132 (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, serves Bensalem. The eastern terminus of the ticket system along the turnpike is located at the Neshaminy Falls toll plaza, east of the Street Road interchange. The intersection of Knights and Street roads in Bensalem Township was ranked by Time magazine as the most dangerous intersection in the United States from 2003 until 2012.
Two SEPTA Regional Rail lines serve Bensalem Township. The West Trenton Line stops at the Trevose and Neshaminy Falls stations in the northern part of the township. The Trenton Line stops at the Cornwells Heights and Eddington stations in the southern part of the township. The Cornwells Heights station is also served by Amtrak's Keystone Service and Northeast Regional services along the Northeast Corridor and has a park-and-ride with access from Interstate 95. CSX Transportation's Trenton Subdivision freight railroad line runs through the northern portion of the township. Multiple SEPTA bus routes pass through the township, serving points of interest within the township and providing connections to Philadelphia and other suburbs.
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 sixth consecutive term. He was elected mayor in 1994. His sixth term expires December 31, 2017.
Rita's Franchise Company, LLC has its headquarters in the Trevose section of the township, as well as its first location in the Andalusia section. Fortune 1000 company Charming Shoppes has its headquarters in Bensalem, and is ranked #810 on the 2010 list. The US Headquarters for Ibanez Guitars and Tama Drums is located in Bensalem Township. GE Power & Water, Water & Process Technologies is a water treatment company based in Trevose, PA, in Bensalem Township.
- Cheltenham Township
- Haverford Township
- Lower Merion Township
- Upper Darby Township
- Bensalem (Pennsylvania) Township Police Department
- Bensalem Township. Bensalemtwp.org (1979-03-19). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
-  Archived January 16, 2002, at the Wayback Machine.
- "CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING". U.S. Census Bureau.[permanent dead link]
- Census 2010: Pennsylvania. Usatoday.Com. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
-  Archived February 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- [dead link]
- US Northeast | Thai Buddhist temple to rise. Buddhistchannel.tv (2007-08-13). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
-  Archived September 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- The Unofficial "Signs" Movie Site | Bensalem Shoot. Signsmovie.co.uk. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
- [dead link]
-  Archived August 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- Klein, Michael. (2010-12-09) Inqlings: Tango Traffic green-lights first on-air hires. Philly.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
- [dead link]
- Bensalem pigeon shoot highlights need for new law in Pennsylvania, January 1, 2010, Philadelphia Animal Advocate Examiner, by Megan Drake
- Mom, apple pie, and wasting pigeons, October 1, 2010, The Daily Bird, http://www.parrotchronicles.com/blog/dailybird_oct_dec2010.htm
- PRICE IS RIGHT: Bob Barker Donates $1 Million To The Movement To Stop Pennsyltucky Pigeon Shoots phawker.com
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Bucks County, Pennsylvania Highway Map (PDF) (Map). PennDOT. 2015. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
- 2016 Toll Schedule (PDF). Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
- "Where's the most dangerous intersection in America?". Time magazine. 2014-08-28. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- SEPTA Official Transit & Street Map Suburban (PDF) (Map). SEPTA. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
- "Cornwells Heights, PA (CWH)". Amtrak. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
- "Selected Regional Park & Ride Lots" (PDF). Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
- Fortune 500 2010: Top 1000 American Companies - Charming Shoppes - FORTUNE on CNNMoney.com. Money.cnn.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
-  Retrieved on 2013-12-31.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Bensalem.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania.|
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