Cranberry Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania
Butler County, Pennsylvania
Kids Castle in Cranberry Community Park
Location of Cranberry Township in Butler County
|• Chairman||Richard Hadley (R)|
|• Total||22.83 sq mi (59.13 km2)|
|• Land||22.82 sq mi (59.11 km2)|
|• Water||0.01 sq mi (0.01 km2)|
|• Estimate (2016)||30,739|
|• Density||1,346.84/sq mi (520.02/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
Cranberry Township is a township in Butler County, Pennsylvania. The population was 28,098 as of the 2010 census. Cranberry Township is one of the fastest-growing areas of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, and its population is projected to reach 50,000 by 2030.
Cranberry Township is located in western Pennsylvania (40.70996 N, 80.10605 W). Although it is often described as a residential suburb of Pittsburgh, less than half an hour’s drive to the city’s downtown, Cranberry is also a regional economic and employment center in its own right. The number of people commuting into the township to participate in its 20,500-member workforce is considerably larger than the 9,200 township residents who commute to work outside Cranberry.  Cranberry Township is located in the southwest corner of Butler County, contiguous to both Allegheny and Beaver Counties. It is bordered by Jackson Township to the north, Forward Township at its northeast corner, Adams Township and the borough of Seven Fields to the east – all in Butler County. Pine Township and Marshall Township in Allegheny County border it to the south, and New Sewickley Township in Beaver County to the west. According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 22.8 square miles (59.1 km2), of which 0.004 square miles (0.01 km2), or 0.02%, is water.
The township’s policy-making body is its five-member, at-large board of supervisors who are each elected to serve six-year terms. As of 2017, the composition of the board was entirely Republican:
- Richard M. Hadley, Chairman (R)
- Mike Manipole, Vice chairman (R)
- Bruce Mazzoni, (R)
- Bruce Hezlep (R)
- John Skorupan (R)
The township has a full-time police force of 30 officers, a volunteer fire company supported by a dedicated property tax, and an independent Emergency Medical Service organization that coordinates with the township’s other emergency services.  Cranberry is also the local supplier of fresh water and wastewater treatment – both of which are funded by ratepayers.  Cranberry owns, maintains and offers programs in three major municipal parks – Cranberry Park, North Boundary Park, and Graham Park – as well as an open-air waterpark and an award-winning 18-hole municipal golf course, Cranberry Highlands. Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania has a ballfield in Graham Park with an adjacent fully accessible playground. Cranberry Public Library operates out of the township’s Municipal Center building as do its Early Education Preschool Program, its aerobics programs, and its administrative offices. 
As of July 2015, the U.S. Census estimated the township’s population at 30,458 in 10,769 households. The population density was 1,231.1 people per square mile (400.2/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 94.4% White, 1.2% African American, 2.8% Asian, and 1.1% from two or more races. Cranberry is a family-oriented community. As of 2012,  71.98% of Cranberry’s male population 15 and older was married; the corresponding figure for females was 69.45%. The national rates were 53.97% and 51.02%, respectively. 44.5% of the township’s households had children under 18 living with them and household size averaged 3.22. The median population age as of 2016 was 35.96. The median income for a household in the township in 2016 was $101,963. Approximately 2.5% of families were below the poverty line. 
In 1753, 21-year-old George Washington, who at the time was working for the Virginia Colony’s British governor, hiked through what is now Cranberry Township along the Venango Trail. His assignment was to deliver a message to the commander of the rival French Fort LeBoeuf, ordering them to withdraw from northern Pennsylvania. The commander rejected the order, precipitating the French and Indian War which the British and their colonies ultimately won, although at great cost. 
When the township was originally chartered in 1804, it included a substantially larger area than it does today. In 1854, its boundaries were redrawn, reducing Cranberry from 81 to 25 square miles.  Although Native Americans from the Iroquois, Delaware and Seneca nations had hunted and fished in the Cranberry area for centuries, the first European settlers – brothers Mathew and William Graham – arrived in 1796. There they acquired 200 acres of land which Benjamin Franklin had designated as part of the nation’s “Depreciation Land” program, used to pay revolutionary war soldiers with land, which was abundant, rather than in cash, which was scarce. 
Over the following decades, the Graham family and Samuel Duncan, another early settler, opened a tavern, a distillery, a sawmill, and a grist mill. In 1806, Graham began the community’s first church, the Plains Church, now the Plains United Presbyterian Church, which remains an active congregation. Descendants of the Graham family continue to reside in the community, which is sometimes confused with the homonymous Cranberry Township in Venango County (formerly Fairfield Township, founded 1806), a much smaller community 60 miles (97 km) away.
Prior to World War II, Cranberry Township was primarily an agricultural community without a traditional downtown. Although small stores, taverns, mills and implement-making shops had operated in Cranberry for years, it wasn’t until the completion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s western section in 1951 with an exit at Rt. 19 – Cranberry’s main arterial road – followed by the 1966 opening of I-79 which crossed the Turnpike at the township’s southern end, that its development really accelerated. With support and encouragement from the nonprofit Cranberry Industrial Development Corporation, formed by the township’s board of supervisors in the mid-1960s, a local industrial park was created and quickly filled. It was soon followed by other business and light industrial park facilities catering to companies seeking inexpensive land with easy highway access. [Reflections of Cranberry Township. Helen Goehring Dewald. Cranberry Township Historical Society. 2005]. The 1989 opening of I-279 further accelerated the township’s growth, shortening the drive time to downtown Pittsburgh to less than half an hour.
Cranberry Township's name derives from the wild cranberries which were abundant along the banks of Brush Creek prior to the 20th century. For centuries, the cranberries had attracted deer, which in turn attracted Indian hunters. However, drought and farming combined to eliminate the township’s namesake fruit by the 1880s.
Today’s Cranberry Township also contains several smaller, unincorporated census-designated places including Ogle, Fernway and Fox Run – neighborhoods whose names continue to appear on some online maps. The Cranberry Township Historical Society, formed in 1984, was created to collect and preserve relics of the community’s early local history; a permanent display of early artifacts is currently under construction in the township’s Municipal Center.
The north–south Interstate 79 and the east–west Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) both run through Cranberry Township. U.S. Route 19 and Pennsylvania Route 228 are also important arterial roads in the municipality. All four roads are connected by an interchange, a $44.3 million PennDOT/Pennsylvania Turnpike venture which opened in 2004 to provide direct, non-stop connection between those heavily traveled roads. Access to the northern terminus of Interstate 279, an important artery that serves as a direct expressway to downtown Pittsburgh from the north, is located 6 miles (10 km) south of the township.
Between 1908 and 1931, Cranberry Township was served by an interurban trolley line to Pittsburgh as well as to points north. No other rail service has ever been available in the township, and no regularly scheduled transit service is offered there either. Today, motorized transportation in Cranberry is solely provided by private vehicles.  A Tesla supercharger station along Freedom Road in the township is the only such facility in the Pittsburgh metro area.
There are more than 1,000 businesses of every size in Cranberry. The township’s economic development has been balanced, involving a variety of industries.  Ordinances affecting its commercial growth have been enacted under guidance from comprehensive plans adopted by the township’s board of supervisors in 1977, 1995, and 2009.
Beyond its emergence as a major regional retail and hospitality center, the primary engine of Cranberry’s local economy has been its growing family of corporate, industrial and research organizations. There are currently around 20,500 jobs in Cranberry. Far more people commute into Cranberry for work than commute from the township to work at jobs elsewhere. 
Cranberry is home to major operations of McKesson Automation-Aseynt, PPG Architectural Coatings, Alcoa-Kwaneer, MSA Safety and Westinghouse Electric. It is also the base for a growing number of technology startups as well as for professional, manufacturing, finance, retail and hospitality businesses. Good highway connections, low taxes, eight major business-industrial parks and a well-educated workforce have helped make Cranberry Township a major employment center.
Cranberry residents, as well as consumers from communities throughout the region, are served by a growing assortment of national chains and local merchants operating at shopping malls in the township. Among them: Cranberry Mall, Streets of Cranberry, Cranberry Commons, Freedom Square, Cranberry Crossroads, Towne Center Plaza, and Cranberry Shoppes as well as a number of smaller shopping centers. More than 220 retail businesses operate in the township. A satellite campus of the UPMC Health System, UPMC Passavant Hospital-Cranberry, is located at the intersection of Routes 19 and 228. Cranberry’s largest employer is Westinghouse Electric Company, whose headquarters relocated from Monroeville, Pennsylvania, to Cranberry Woods Business Park in 2009. More than 3,000 people work at the company’s Cranberry campus whose business is focused on the design, construction, maintenance and decommissioning of nuclear power plants worldwide. Westinghouse is a division of the Toshiba corporation of Japan.
In August 2015, the Pittsburgh Penguins and UPMC opened a new hockey practice and sports medicine facility in Cranberry near the PA 228/I-79 interchange. The UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex is named for former Penguin and current team co-owner Mario Lemieux.
- "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Aug 13, 2017.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Cranberry township, Butler County, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- Official Website. Cranberry Township. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
- "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved February 6, 2015.