Neshaminy Creek

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Neshaminy Creek
Neshaminy Creek in Tyler State Park.jpg
pushpin map showing location of Neshaminy Creek
pushpin map showing location of Neshaminy Creek
Native name Nishamening
"at the place we drink twice"
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Bucks
Township New Britain
Lower Southampton
Borough Chalfont
New Britain
Physical characteristics
Main source 220 feet (67 m)
40°16′59″N 75°12′19″W / 40.28306°N 75.20528°W / 40.28306; -75.20528
River mouth 0 feet (0 m)
40°4′26″N 74°54′32″W / 40.07389°N 74.90889°W / 40.07389; -74.90889Coordinates: 40°4′26″N 74°54′32″W / 40.07389°N 74.90889°W / 40.07389; -74.90889
Length 40.7 miles (65.5 km)
Basin features
Progression Neshaminy CreekDelaware RiverDelaware Bay
River system Delaware River
Basin size 232 square miles (600 km2)
Landmarks Wilma Quinlin Nature Preserve
Twin Streams Park
Lenape Bike and Hiking Path
Castle Valley Park
Central Park-Kids Castle
Bridge Point Park
Dark Hollow
Diamond Ridge Day Camp
Middle Bucks Institute of Technology
Tyler State Park
George School
Core Creek Park
Playwicki Park
Playwicki Farm Park
Neshaminy State Park
Slope 5.7 feet per mile (1.08 m/km)

Map of the Neshaminy Creek
Throughout Bucks County, the Neshaminy Creek runs mainly through wooded areas.
Historic Bridge Valley Bridge (1804) on Neshaminy Creek, north of Hartsville.

Neshaminy Creek is a 40.7-mile-long (65.5 km)[1] stream that runs entirely through Bucks County, Pennsylvania, rising south of the borough of Chalfont, where its north and west branches join. Neshaminy Creek flows southeast toward Bristol Township and Bensalem Township to its confluence with the Delaware River. The name "Neshaminy" originates with the Lenni Lenape and is thought to mean "place where we drink twice".[2] This phenomenon refers to a section of the creek known as the Neshaminy Palisades, where the course of the water slows and changes direction at almost a right angle, nearly forcing the water back upon itself. These palisades are located in Dark Hollow Park,[3] operated by the county, and are flanked by Warwick Township to the south and Buckingham Township to the north.[4]


The watershed of the Neshaminy Creek covers an area of approximately 236 square miles (610 km2), 86 percent of which is located in Bucks County and 14 percent in Montgomery County. It is part of the greater Delaware River watershed. The creek's course runs mostly through suburban areas to the north of Philadelphia. However, the course of the creek does run through a few sections of rural and semi-rural terrain, and some forested areas remain. Neshaminy Creek passes through two state parks, Tyler State Park and Neshaminy State Park. Neshaminy Creek has the distinction of having three tributaries named Mill Creek.


The name seems to derive from the Lenape 'Nesha-men-ning', loosely meaning 'the place where we drink twice' or 'two drinking places'. Older names were written as Nishambanach (1671), Nichmink, Nishammis (1679), Nishmines (1680), Neshimineh (1682), Neshamineh (1686), Neshaminia (1688), Neshamenah (1702), and others. This may refer to two springs near a village of the Lenape, since native people drink from a spring whenever available rather than from a stream. The location of the springs is unknown, but may have been two springs extant many years ago, not far from the confluence of the north and west branches. One was known at the time as the 'Great Spring' and the other much smaller about 300 feet (91 m) away and was said to have been near an old Indian trail. The Neshaminy was the first stream in Bucks County to have been crossed by ferries and bridges. The Gordon Gazetteer of 1832 called it the Neshaminy River and stated that "over it, there are many fine wooden and stone bridges. The bridge nearest its mouth on the road to New York is a draw bridge-in private property, erected by the Messrs. Bassonet and Johnson, whose heirs and assigns levy tolls by virtue of the Act of Assembly 6th Sept. 1785. The Neshaminy as far as Barnsleys Ford was declared a public highway by Act of 9th March, 1771." The stream has seen a number of major floods. In the Mina flood of 1833, most of the bridges were washed away and was the highest flood known at that time. The flood of 16-17 July 1865, the 1833 flood was exceeded by 6 feet (1.8 m), rupturing the Turk Dam and destroying almost all of the bridges downstream. As the waters reached the Delaware River, the flow was so great as to reach the New Jersey shoreline leaving a large pile of debris and preventing shipping from traversing the river. The Neshaminy has been the subject of may artists over the years.[2]


Beginning at the junction of the West Branch and North Branch Neshaminy Creeks, Neshaminy Creek begins in the Brunswick Formation, formed during the Jurassic and Triassic, which consists of mainly mudstone, shale, and siltstone. Mineralogy includes argillite and hornfels. West of Chalfont it passes into an extension of the Lockatong formation for a short distance, back into the Brunswick, then again to the Lockatong. The Lockatong Formation was deposited during the Triassic and consists of argillite, shale, and occasionally, a layer of limestone.

East of Chalfont, the Neshaminy flows into the Stockton Formation, laid during the Triassic, consisting of arkosic sandstone, sandstone, shale, siltstone, and mudstone. It flows generally along the Stockton and Lockatong transition until the Neshaminy palisades, where it turns west, then in a few miles turns south into a region of felsic gneiss, which contains quartz, microcline, pyroxene, and biotite.

After passing Oakford, it passes through a small deposit of mafic gneiss, from the Precambrian, which contains calcic plagioclase, hypersthene or augite, quartz, and hornblende.

Next, the stream passes into the Wissahickon Formation (lower Paleozoic), a schist which has metamorphosed into a facies, containing garnet, staurolite, kyanite, and sillimanite. The Wissahickon also contains oligoclase-mica schist, hornblende and augen gneiss', and some feldspar.

It, then, passes through a region of Pensauken and Bridgeton Formations, from the Tertiary, but it has eroded through it to the underlying Wissahickon Formation. Both formations consis of quartz sand.

Finally, the Neshaminy passes through the Trenton gravel formation, from the Quaternary, which is sand and clay-silt where it meets the Delaware River.[5]

Named tributaries[edit]

Adjacent municipalities[edit]

The Neshaminy Creek in Tyler State Park


Like other rivers and streams, the Neshaminy Creek poses a flooding threat to neighboring areas in times of rapid downpours. The waters of the creek have been known to rise more than 10 feet (3 m) above their normal level during severe storms, such as Hurricane Floyd, which hit the area on September 16, 1999. In 2005, the Natural Resources Conservation Service earmarked $3 million for flood mitigation programs along the Neshaminy Creek. The creek was the site of significant flooding again from June 25 through July 5, 2006 during the Mid-Atlantic United States flood of 2006. In Late August through Early September 2011, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee (2011) rose the Neshaminy Creek to levels haven't seen before in 100 years. Repairs cost around 1 million USD total.

Crossings and bridges[edit]


Crossing NBI Number Length Lanes Spans Material/Design Built Reconstructed Latitude Longitude
State Road - - - - - - - - -
Amtrak's Northeast Corridor/SEPTA's Trenton Line - - - - - - - - -
U.S. Route 13 (Bristol Pike) - - - - - - - - -
Interstate 95 (Delaware Expressway) northbound 6851 181.4 metres (595 ft) 2 7 Prestressed concrete multi-beam or Girder 1964 2010 40°6'16"N 74°54'11"W
Interstate 95 (Delaware Expressway) southbound 6854 181.4 metres (595 ft) 2 7 Prestressed concrete multi-beam or Girder 1964 2010 40°6'16"N 74°54'11"W
New Falls Road - - - - - - - - -
Interstate 276 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) - - - - - - - - -
Pennsylvania Route 513 (Hulmeville Road) 7041 89 metres (292 ft) 3 3 Prestressed concrete continuous Box Beam or Girders-single or spread 1989 40°8'28"N 74°54'45.84"W
U.S. Route 1 (Lincoln Highway) 6719 97 metres (318 ft) 2 3 Concrete Arch-Deck 1933 1965 40°8'42.6"N 74°57'15.52"W
Old Lincoln Highway 7257 98.8 metres (324 ft) 2 5 Concrete Arch-Deck 1921 40°8'44"N 74°57'25"W
SEPTA's West Trenton Line/CSX Transportation's Trenton Subdivision - - - - - - - - -
Brownsville Road 7278 77 metres (253 ft) 2 4 Prestressed Concrete Box Beam or Girders-Multiple 1956 1990 40°10'4.1"N 74°57'5.33"W
Pennsylvania Route 213 (West Maple Avenue) - - - - - - - - -
Norfolk Southern Railway's Morrisville Line - - - - - - - - -
Abandoned railroad - - - - - - - - -
Bridgetown Pike 41028 90 metres (300 ft) 2 2 continuous Steel Stringer or Multi-beam or Girder 2001 40°11'21.47"N 74°55'40.6"W
Pennsylvania Route 532 (Buck Road) 7049 63 metres (207 ft) 2 3 Concrete Arch-deck 1932 40°12'41.1"N 74°56'52.59"W
Pennsylvania Route 332 (Newtown Richboro Road) 44293 88 metres (289 ft) 2 3 continuous Prestressed concrete Stringer/Multi-beam or Girder 2007 40°13'26.1"N 74°57'55.2"W
Tyler State Park Main Park Road - - - - - - - - -
Schofield Ford Covered Bridge - - - - - - - - -
Worthington Mill Road 7330 75 metres (246 ft) 2 2 continuous Steel Stringer/Multi-beam or Girder 1954 40°14'52"N 74°59'43.3"W
Pennsylvania Route 232 (Second Street Pike) 6956 79 metres (259 ft) 2 3 Prestressed concrete Stringer/Multi-beam or girder 1982 40°15'3.7"N 75°0'31.7"W
New Hope & Ivyland Railroad - - - - - - - - -
Rushland-Jamison Road 7328 69 metres (226 ft) 2 5 Concrete Tee Beam 1947 2013 40°15'37.8"N 75°2'7"W
Dark Hollow Road - - - - - - - - -
Mill Road 7529 88 metres (289 ft) 1 2 Steel Thru Truss 40°16'9.8"N 75°4'26.8"W
Old York Road - - - - - - - - -
Pennsylvania Route 263 (York Road) 6961 77 metres (253 ft) 2 3 continuous steel Stringer/Multi-beam or Girder 1969 2017 40°16'32.5"N 75°5'1.9"W
Pennsylvania Route 611 (South Easton Road) 7062 82 metres (269 ft) 2 2 Steel continuous Stringer/Multi-beam or Girder 1963 1999 40°16'36.7"N 75°7'39.22"W
Lower State Road 46491 65 metres (213 ft) 2 3 continuous Prestressed concrete Box Beam or Girders - single or spread 2012 40°17'10.3"N 75°9'38.55"W
U.S. Route 202 47700 160 metres (520 ft) 2 4 continuous Prestressed concrete Stringer/Multi-beam or Girder 2012 40°16'54"N 75°10'30"W
Upper State Road 7537 71 metres (233 ft) 2 3 Prestressed concrete Stringer/Multi-beam or Girder 1973 40°17'22.3"N 75°10'43.3"W
Bristol Road 7218 47 metres (154 ft) 2 3 Prestressed Concrete Box Beam or Girders-single or spread 1967 40°17'5"N 75°11'18"W

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United States Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset. The National Map, accessed April 1, 2011
  2. ^ a b MacReynolds, George, Place Names in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Doylestown, Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, PA, 1942, P1.
  3. ^ "Dark Hollow Park". Visit Bucks County. Retrieved 6 May 2017. 
  4. ^ "About Dark Hollow Park" (PDF). Delaware Riverkeeper Network. Retrieved 6 May 2017. 
  5. ^ "Pennsylvania Geological Survey". PaGEODE. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  6. ^, retrieved October 2017.
  7. ^ ., retrieved October, 2017.

Sources and external links[edit]