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Towamencin Township, Pennsylvania

Towamencin Township is a township in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 17,597 at the 2000 census. It is part of the North Penn School District. Towamencin boasts beautiful residential neighborhoods, historic farmhouses, first-class recreational facilities, and wide-open spaces. The community is a successful mix of residential, commercial and rural development and is home to many fine elementary and secondary educational institutions. The Township is centrally located in the middle of Montgomery County with easy access to the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Northeast Extension.

History

Founding

The first settlers arrived in Towamencin Township around the turn of the 18th century. These settlers were of German, Welsh, and Dutch descent. They mainly pursued agricultural endeavors to sustain their livelihood.

The first grant of land in Towamencin Township was in 1703 from William Penn's Commissioners to Benjamin Furley on June 8. The Commissioners granted 1,000 acres (4 km²) to him. On June 17 of that same year, Abraham Tennis and Jan Lucken bought the property from him, and then divided the land in half in 1709. The Morgan Log House stands on land that was part of 600 acres (2.4 km²) granted to Griffith Jones by the Commissioners. Edward Morgan purchased 309 acres (1.25 km²) of this land, which included an existing "dwelling house", from Griffith Jones on February 26, 1708. In 1720, his daughter Sarah, who in 1734 would give birth to the famous frontiersman Daniel Boone, married Squire Boone. The land containing the house was then deeded to John Morgan, son of Edward, on August 23, 1723 as part of a 104 acre (.42 km²) tract. In March of 1728 the settlers of the area petitioned William Penn's Commissioners for Towamencin to become a Township. The request was granted and a charter given. The land was surveyed and recorded, outlining the boundaries of the Township, known as antioch. Those boundaries are similar to what they are today. In the enumeration of 1734 there were 32 landholders within the Township, with William Tennis having the most area at 250 acres (1 km²).

The Indians of Towamencin

The American Indians that inhabited the area were the Lenni Lenape. These natives lived in Pennsylvania, as well as Delaware, New Jersey, and parts of Maryland. They were divided into three tribes: the Turtle, Turkeys, and Wolf. These tribes were then divided into clans, each clan having a name representing the character and situation of the tribe as a whole.

The Indians of Towamencin Township are of the Delaware Nation. They had a settlement in the southwest section of the Township along the Towamencin Creek. They were a friendly nation who made friends with the settlers when they came to the Township. The only accounts of violence that can be attributed to the Indians can not be proven and are most likely fictional. In fact there are many accounts of Indians helping to tend the sick and trading food and goods with the settlers.

There is no record as to when the tribes of Indians left Towamencin. It is suspected they left after the Revolutionary War.

The Maltese Cross of the Towamencin Volunteer Fire Company has an American Indian in the center.

American Revolutionary War

Pennsylvania is known as the Keystone State for its role in the Revolution, and as one of the oldest settlements during the time, Towamencin Township also played a part. The Township had encampments of soldiers, had many citizens that served, and was the retreating place for General Washington and his troops after the Battle of Germantown.

The troops were in Towamencin from October 8, 1777 to October 16, 1777 and camped in the Northern section of the Township. The Township provided a secure area to rest, without fear of surprise attack by the British.

Washington commandeered Frederick Wampole's house to establish his quarters and conducted military duties from there. The house was located on Detwiler Road.

General Francis Nash was wounded at the Battle of Germantown and was carried from Germantown to Towamencin. He was cared for at the Mennonite Meeting House , along with other wounded men of the Battle of Germantown. He died two days later and is buried there.

An interesting story related to the Revolution is that Henry Cassel, whose land was used as an encampment by the Colonists, submitted to the Continental Congress an estimate of damages done to his property by Washington's Army. The damages were to 696 fence rails used for firewood. The cost to replace those rails was 8.14 pounds. There is no record as to whether or not the newly formed Government compensated Mr. Cassel for the amount requested.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 9.7 square miles (25.1 km²), all of it land.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 17,597 people, 6,872 households, and 4,810 families residing in the township. The population density was 1,815.6 people per square mile (701.2/km²). There were 7,035 housing units at an average density of 725.9/sq mi (280.3/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 88.30% White, 3.47% African American, 0.09% Native American, 6.23% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.52% from other races, and 1.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.65% of the population.

There were 6,872 households out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.3% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.0% were non-families. 25.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the township the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.5 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $66,736, and the median income for a family was $80,167. Males had a median income of $56,870 versus $36,879 for females. The per capita income for the township was $30,559. About 1.4% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.1% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.

Township Strategic Plan

The Towamencin Township Board of Supervisors recognized the need for a Five-Year Strategic Plan during the 2007 budget process. In early 2007 the Board authorized the formation of a Strategic Planning Committee.

A committee of five residents, two supervisors, and the Township Manager was formed in late February, charged with developing a Five-Year Strategic Plan and the goal of completing it in time for the 2008 budget process. The committee expanded to six residents in mid-May.

The committee began weekly meetings in March 2007, starting with the task of developing a Community Vision and Mission Statement. They then received planning inputs from all Department Heads and the Township Manager. At the end of the input process, the committee developed Priorities, which were then voted on by each member of the committee for prioritization.

The committee then developed Goals, Sustainability Objectives and Implementation Tools and Techniques for each of the Priorities, segmenting them by areas of the Township Budget.

Name

The name Towamencin is of Native American origin, and means "Poplar Tree". An alternate etymology is a legend associated started in the 1720s when Heinrich Fry purchased some land near what is now known as the Towamencin Creek. On this tract of land was a Native village whose chief spoke broken English. He observed one day two men clearing trees near the creek and said "Towha-men-seen", meaning "Two men seen." As the legend goes, the chief's pronunciation stuck, and is how Towamencin got its name.

Communities

Communities located within Towamencin Township include Kulpsville.

Government

Towamencin Township is classified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a Township of the Second Class. It is governed by a five-member Board of Supervisors elected at-large by the electorate. Members of the Board of Supervisors serve six year terms. Every two years, two of the seats come up for election. The exception is in the sixth year in the cycle, when only one seat comes up for election. Most, if not all, of the executive and legislative powers allocated to Towamencin Township in Section 607 of the State Second Class Township Code, are vested in the Board of Supervisors, in order to ensure sound fiscal management and to secure the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Township. The Board of Supervisors is empowered to appoint professionals to assist it in the operation of the Township and to furnish advice and counsel on technical matters. Additionally, the Board appoints all the members of the various boards and commissions as well as the Zoning Hearing Board and the Planning Commission. Also, the Board of Supervisors hears conditional use applications in accordance with the Municipalities Planning Code and the Towamencin Township Zoning Ordinance. The levying of township taxes and the appropriations to the various departments and subsidiary boards and commissions is the responsibility of the Board of Supervisors. During the months of November and December, public hearings are held for the purpose of reviewing the budget for the following year. The Board meets twice monthly to review all issues before the Township and provide policy direction to the appointed staff.

The current membership of the Board of Supervisors (as of the election of November 2007) consists of:

*Daniel M. Littley, Jr., Chairman
*Thomas M. Hollenbeck, Vice Chairman
*H. Charles Wilson, III, Treasurer
*James P. Sinz, Secretary
*John V. Gottschall

The Board of Supervisors meet on the second Wednesday (Work Session) and fourth Wednesday (Monthly Meeting) of each month. All meetings are conducted in the township building, at 1090 Troxel Road.

Education

The township is a member of the North Penn School District and is home to several private schools, among them Christopher Dock Mennonite High School and Calvary Baptist School .

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 Census Towamencin PA US
Number Nbr Nbr
Population 25 and older 12,085
Number Pct Pct Pct
High school graduates (includes equivalency) 2,657 22.0 38.1 28.6
Some college, or associate's degree 3,246 26.9 21.4 27.4
Bachelor's degree 3,246 26.9 14.0 15.5
Master's, professional or doctorate degree 1,957 16.2 8.4 8.9
SCHOOL ENROLLMENT Number
Population 3 years and over enrolled in school 4,527
Number Pct Pct Pct
Preschool and kindergarten 638 14.1 11.6 11.9
Grades 1-12 2,904 64.1 66.0 65.3
College 985 21.8 22.4 22.8

Parks and Recreation

Towamencin has more than 10 sites and of parklands and open spaces, ranging in size from neighborhood squares to sprawling meadows. There are natural resource areas as well as active recreation sites with varying amenities including tennis courts, play lots, jogging/exercise trails, picnic pavilions, playing fields, basketball courts and sand volleyball courts. In 2006, the Board of Supervisors adopted an extensive Open Space Plan in accordance with the Montgomery County Green Fields/Green Towns Program that provides open space grants for acquisition, development and historic structure protection efforts.

  • Fischer's Park is the Township’s largest recreational facility. At 77 acres the park boasts numerous wooded native species groves, multi-use open spaces, and over of soft surface nature trails just within its borders. The trails provide recreational areas, as well as access to wetlands, marshlands, riparian corridor restorations, a compost exposé, a butterfly garden, animal habitats, and a whole host of environs. Fischer’s Park also has picnic and cookout facilities. Central to the park is the Arneth Entertainment Center (AEC). Overlooking the historic meadow in Fischer's Park, this venue provides opportunities for concerts, theater, outdoor movies, and art events of all types.
  • Bustard Road Park is the Township’s primary active athletic facility. It is home to 10 junior league baseball fields, 2 girls’ softball fields, and 3 soccer fields. The facility hosts a variety of youth sport leagues and camps.
  • Grist Mill Park is home to a newly completed soccer field which is used by the local youth association as well as the School District. This 54 acre natural preserve was set aside during the development of the Grist Mill Neighborhood and Jacob’s Woods. The site houses the headwaters to the Towamencin Creek, providing neighborhood residents and visitors an unmatched opportunity to examine the waterway’s diverse plant and animal habitats.
  • Kibler Meadows is the newest addition to the Township's open space, received from the Estate of Virginia W. Kibler in 2005. This area includes approximately 35 acres of land located between Kerr and Schlosser Roads in the "Panhandle" section of the Township.

  • Firehouse Park is a great place to take a stroll along the tree lined pathway, during a spring or summer day. In November 1996, Boy Scout Tony DiDomizio, as a member of Venture Team 141 erected a plaque and placed a cannon in the park as his Eagle Scout project to honor veterans who, since 1728, and as early as the, Revolutionary War, have served and given their lives for our freedom. On March 28, 2007, by a unanimous vote, the Board of Supervisor’s directed Vice Chairman Dr, Thomas M. Hollenbeck to develop a Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the park.
  • Township Pools offer four (4) different choices; a Competition Pool with 2 diving boards, a Baby pool with zero depth entry with mushroom, a Leisure pool with zero depth entry, water slide, spray fountains, tumbling water buckets and mushrooms. In addition to the Bathhouse with Pool Administration Offices, there is a concession stand and covered picnic pavilion. Swim lessons for children ages 5 and older and various pool “member only” events are available throughout the summer.
  • The Township is in the process of creating a comprehensive trail system with access to neighborhoods, parks, historical sites and stores. This trail system is a dynamic project that will continue to expand for years to come, providing a safe alternative to automobiles when traveling throughout the township.

Recreation activities are planned and operated by the Parks and Recreation Department. Youth Sports Leagues are run by TYA.

Towamencin along with Lower Salford Township share the home to Mainland Golf Course located in the North Western section of the township spanning the boarder of both.

Politics

The Township is part of:

References

External links

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