Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania
Upper Merion Township
Upper Merion Township municipal building and public library
Upper Merion Township municipal building and public library
Flag of Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania
Official seal of Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania
Location of Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania
Upper Merion Township is located in Pennsylvania
Upper Merion Township
Upper Merion Township
Location of Upper Merion Township in Pennsylvania
Upper Merion Township is located in the United States
Upper Merion Township
Upper Merion Township
Upper Merion Township (the United States)
Coordinates: 40°05′00″N 75°20′59″W / 40.08333°N 75.34972°W / 40.08333; -75.34972
Country United States of America
State Pennsylvania
County Montgomery
Incorporated1713
Area
 • Total17.27 sq mi (44.74 km2)
 • Land16.96 sq mi (43.91 km2)
 • Water0.32 sq mi (0.82 km2)
Elevation
171 ft (52 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total33,613
 • Estimate 
(2016)[2]
28,640
 • Density1,689.08/sq mi (652.17/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Area code(s)610 and 484
FIPS code42-091-79136
Websitewww.umtownship.org

Upper Merion Township is a township in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The population was 33,613 at the 2020 U.S. Census. Located 16 miles (26 km) from Philadelphia, it consists of the villages of Gulph Mills, King of Prussia, Swedeland, Swedesburg, and portions of Radnor, and Wayne.

The westernmost part of the township comprises the largest part of the 1,300-acre (5 km2) Valley Forge National Historical Park. The township is the home of the King of Prussia mall, the third-largest shopping mall in the United States in terms of gross leasable area. King of Prussia also contains a major office park hosting firms such as Lockheed Martin and GlaxoSmithKline.

The name Merion originates with the county of Merioneth in north Wales. Merioneth is an English-language translation of the Welsh Meirionnydd, itself named after Meirchion (or Meirion), grandson of Cunedda Wledig (b. ca. 380 A.D.), King of North Wales.[3]

History

The township's incorporation dates to 1713 when the King of Prussia Inn, the Bird-In-Hand Inn in Gulph Mills, and later the Swedes Ford Inn were required to pay 6 shillings to the Pennsylvania legislature for licenses. The King of Prussia Inn, built in 1719, captures the historical flavor of the township. It was named in honor of Frederick the Great, but became known during the Revolutionary War as a center of food and drink. An alternate story says the Inn, first called Berry's Tavern, got its name to lure in Prussian mercenaries who spent freely.

Upper Merion Township is a township of the second class under Pennsylvania state statutes. A five-member Board of Supervisors, elected at large for staggered six-year terms, governs it. The Board passes legislation and sets overall policy for the Township. A professional township manager runs the day-to-day operations overseeing the activities of 250 full and part-time employees.

Hanging Rock and Poplar Lane are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[4]

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 17.2 square miles (44.7 km2), of which 16.9 square miles (43.7 km2) is land and 0.4 square mile (1.0 km2) (2.20%) is water. Upper Merion has a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa) and the hardiness zone is 7a. It is drained by the Schuylkill River which forms its natural northern and eastern boundary.

Climate data for King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 76
(24)
75
(24)
83
(28)
98
(37)
98
(37)
100
(38)
108
(42)
106
(41)
102
(39)
90
(32)
85
(29)
76
(24)
108
(42)
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 40
(4)
44
(7)
53
(12)
64
(18)
74
(23)
83
(28)
87
(31)
86
(30)
78
(26)
67
(19)
57
(14)
45
(7)
65
(18)
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 22
(−6)
24
(−4)
31
(−1)
41
(5)
51
(11)
61
(16)
66
(19)
64
(18)
56
(13)
44
(7)
35
(2)
27
(−3)
44
(6)
Record low °F (°C) −12
(−24)
−5
(−21)
8
(−13)
15
(−9)
29
(−2)
28
(−2)
48
(9)
40
(4)
35
(2)
26
(−3)
14
(−10)
−10
(−23)
−12
(−24)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.40
(86)
3.17
(81)
4.00
(102)
4.03
(102)
4.21
(107)
3.98
(101)
4.76
(121)
4.37
(111)
4.87
(124)
3.73
(95)
3.80
(97)
4.17
(106)
48.49
(1,233)
Source: The Weather Channel[5]

Notable sights

Old Swedes Church (Christ Church) Upper Merion in Swedesburg

Upper Merion Township is home to Valley Forge National Historical Park, which consists of the site where General George Washington and the Continental Army made their encampment at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777–78 in the American Revolutionary War.[6] King of Prussia, which is the third largest mall in the United States in terms of leasable space with over 450 stores, is located in Upper Merion Township.[7] Other points of interest in Upper Merion Township include the Valley Forge Casino Resort, the King of Prussia Town Center and the King of Prussia Volunteer Fire Company 9/11 Memorial.[8][9]

Old Swedes Church (Christ Church) was dedicated June 25, 1760 in Swedesburg, replacing a simple log cabin dating to 1735. The original church had served as both a church and school until Christ Church was built. The stained glass windows tell the story of the history of the Swedish colony of New Sweden.

After crossing the Schuylkill River at Swedesford on December 13, 1777, General George Washington and his troops visited Old Swedes Church and encamped there before going on to Valley Forge.[10]

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
19305,889
19406,1434.3%
19506,4044.2%
196017,096167.0%
197023,74338.9%
198026,13810.1%
199025,722−1.6%
200026,8634.4%
201028,3955.7%
202033,61318.4%
[11][12]

As of the 2020 census, the township was 69.1% White, 6.5% Black or African American, 0.0% Native American, 19.6% Asian, and 3.5% were two or more races. 4.0% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry [1].

As of the 2000 census,[13] there were 26,863 people, 11,575 households, and 7,141 families residing in the township. The population density was 1,593.3 inhabitants per square mile (615.2/km2). There were 12,151 housing units at an average density of 720.7 per square mile (278.3/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 84.75% White, 4.63% African American, 0.13% Native American, 8.45% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.66% from other races, and 1.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.79% of the population.

There were 11,575 households, out of which 23.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.3% were married couples living together, 6.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.3% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the township, the population was spread out, with 18.7% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 33.8% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.9 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $65,636, and the median income for a family was $78,690. Males had a median income of $51,247 versus $38,166 for females. The per capita income for the township was $34,961. About 1.3% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.6% of those under age 18 and 3.1% of those age 65 or over.

Government and politics

Upper Merion Township is run by an elected five person Board of Supervisors, each of whom serve staggered six year terms. The current supervisors are Chairperson Carole Kenney (D), Vice Chairperson Tina Garzillo (D), Greg Waks (D), Greg Philips (D) and Bill Jenaway (D). Other than Garzillo, who was appointed in June 2018 to finish the term of Erika Spott (D), there has not been a change in the composition of the Board of Supervisors since January 2012 and each of the current Supervisors (other than Garzillo) was re-elected by a significantly greater margin than originally elected. The Chairperson and Vice Chairperson are elected every year in January by their fellow Supervisors.

The recent Chairs of the Upper Merion Township Board of Supervisors: 2022: Carole Kenney; 2021: Bill Jenaway; 2020: Bill Jenaway; 2019: Greg Waks; 2018: Greg Philips; 2017: Bill Jenaway; 2016: Bill Jenaway; 2015: Greg Philips (from January–April); Erika Spott (from May–December); 2014: Greg Waks; 2013: Greg Waks; 2012: Erika Spott; 2011: Ed McBride (R); 2010: Joe Bartlett (R); 2009: Scott Sibley (R); 2008: Scott Sibley (R)

Municipal general election results from 2001–Present:

Year Name and

Vote Total

Name and

Vote Total

Name and

Vote Total

Name and

Vote Total

2001 Anthony "Chuck" Volpi (R)

3294

Sal Sonsino (D)

2138

N/A N/A
2003 Barbara Frailey (R)

2880

Scott Sibley (R)

2693

Bill Wall, Jr. (D)

2243

Ronald Hartley, Jr. (D)

2184

2005 Joseph Bartlett (R)

2190

Edward McBride (R)

2015

Kenneth Forman (D)

1644

Sandy Moskowitz (D)

1357

2007 Erika Spott (D)

2747

Anthony "Chuck" Volpi (R)

2681

N/A N/A
2009 Greg Waks (D)

2537

William Jenaway (R)

2424

Carole Kenney (D)

2334

Scott Sibley (R)

2291

2011 Carole Kenney (D)

3185

Greg Philips (D)

3048

Edward McBride (R)

2978

Scott Sibley (R)

2930

2013 Erika Spott (D)

2564

Marianne Hooper (R)

2272

N/A N/A
2015 Greg Waks (D)

3602

William Jenaway (D)

3446

Dave Furman (R)

2330

Bruce Fegan (R)

2240

2017 Carole Kenney (D)

3485

Greg Philips (D)

3450

Mark A. Volpi (R)

2459

Joseph J. White, Jr. (R)

2376

2019 Tina Garzillo (D)

4445

Mike Napolitan (R)

2806

N/A N/A
2021 Greg Waks (D)

4698

William Jenaway (D)

4324

Keith Kline (R)

3184

Julia Valenti (R)

3024

All township business meetings are televised by Upper Merion Government Access Television (UMGA-TV). The elected Tax Collector is Evelyn Ankers (D). The elected Board of Auditors are Rhonda Cohen (D), Steve Ciavarri (D) and Kevin Snow (D). The Supervisors hire a township manager to run the operations of the township. The township manager is Anthony Hamaday.

The township is part of the Fourth Congressional District (represented by Rep. Madeleine Dean-D), the 149th State House District (represented by Rep. Tim Briggs-D) and the 17th State Senate District (represented by Sen. Amanda Cappelletti-D).

Presidential elections results[14]
Year Republican Democratic
2020 33.9% 6,348 64.9% 12,151
2016 35.3% 5,098 60.7% 8,765
2012 41.2% 5,772 57.6% 8,065
2008 40.1% 5,694 59.1% 8,791
2004 43.1% 6,380 56.5% 8,375
2000 43.5% 5,455 54.2% 6,801
1996 40.8% 4,231 48.8% 5,062
1992 32.3% 5,099 42.6% 5,528

Economy

Top employers

According to Upper Merion Township's 2022 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[15] the top employers in the township are:

# Employer # of Employees % of Employment
1 Lockheed Martin 2,757 5.7%
2 Children's Hospital of Philadelphia 1,146 2.4%
3 FedEx Ground Package System 1,131 2.3%
4 United States Liability Ins Co. 1,027 2.1%
5 GlaxoSmithKline 989 2.0%
6 Valley Forge Casino Resort 889 1.8%
7 CSL Behring LLC 873 1.8%
8 Vertex Inc 819 1.7%
9 UHS of Delaware Inc. 812 1.7%
10 Arkema 673 1.4%

Education

Public school students in Upper Merion Township attend schools in the Upper Merion Area School District.

Upper Merion Township also has a private school, Mother Teresa Regional Catholic School.[16] It formed in 2012 by the merger of Mother of Divine Providence in King of Prussia and St. Teresa of Avila in Norristown.[17]

Armenian Sisters Academy, an Armenian school, is in Upper Merion Township, with a Radnor postal address.[18][19]

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia previously maintained Holy Trinity Elementary School, which had a lower school in Swedesburg and an upper school in Bridgeport.[20] It served as the parish school for Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Saint Augustine, and Sacred Heart churches.[21] The first two churches are in Bridgeport and previously had a joint St. Augustine-Our Lady of Mount Carmel School.[22][23] Sacred Heart is a Polish church in Swedesburg.[24] 102 children were scheduled to attend in September 2005. Instead it closed in June 2005.[21]

Colleges and universities

The Penn State Great Valley campus was located in the King of Prussia section of Upper Merion from 1963 to 1978 before relocating to Radnor. In 1982, the campus returned to Upper Merion, staying there until 1987, when it was relocated to its current location in Great Valley.[25]

The American College of Financial Services operates out of the King of Prussia section of the township.

Transportation

View west along the Schuylkill Expressway/I-76 at the junction with the Pennsylvania Turnpike/I-276 in Upper Merion Township

As of 2018 there were 131.70 miles (211.95 km) of public roads in Upper Merion Township, of which 5.20 miles (8.37 km) were maintained by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), 41.29 miles (66.45 km) were maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and 85.21 miles (137.13 km) were maintained by the township.[26]

Upper Merion Township is the location of several major highway junctions serving the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The most prominent of these is the interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276) and the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76). The east-west Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276) traverses the central portion of the township on a southwest-northeast alignment. The Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) junctions with the turnpike at the west edge of the township and heads southeastward across the southern portion of the township, while also having another major highway junction with U.S. Route 202. The latter traverses the township almost parallel to the turnpike, but does veer north further east and crosses the turnpike without an interchange. Aside from its interchange with the Schuylkill, US 202 also interchanges with the eastern terminus of U.S. Route 422 near the west edge of the township. In addition to these major highways, Pennsylvania Route 23 and Pennsylvania Route 320 traverse Upper Merion Township from east to west and north to south respectively, with PA 320 having its northern terminus at PA 23 in the township. Finally, the northernmost segment of Pennsylvania Route 252 enters the far western edge of the township near its terminus at PA 23.

Gulph Mills station on South Gulph Road

SEPTA provides Suburban Bus service to Upper Merion Township along bus routes 92, 95, 99, 123, 124, 125, and 139. SEPTA also operates the Norristown High Speed Line between 69th Street Transportation Center and Norristown Transportation Center through Upper Merion Township with stops located at Gulph Mills and Hughes Park.[27] The Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association operates The Rambler as a community shuttle around Upper Merion Township Monday through Saturday, serving residential areas, shopping centers, the King of Prussia mall, medical facilities, the Upper Merion Senior Center, and the Upper Merion Township Municipal Building.[28][29]

See also

References

  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  2. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  3. ^ Cunedda Wledig, King of North Wales: http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/meircmmd.html/ Archived 2016-12-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  5. ^ "Climate Statistics for King of Prussia, Pennsylvania". Retrieved September 17, 2019.
  6. ^ "Valley Forge National Historical Park". National Park Service. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  7. ^ "King of Prussia Mall Fact Sheet" (PDF). Simon Property Group. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  8. ^ "Valley Forge Casino Resort". Valley Forge & Montgomery County, PA. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  9. ^ "9/11 Memorial". King of Prussia Volunteer Fire Company. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  10. ^ "Old Swedes Church (The Times Herald)". Archived from the original on March 5, 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  11. ^ "DVRPC > Site Search". Archived from the original on August 12, 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  12. ^ "Census 2020".
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  14. ^ "Montgomery County Election Results". Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  15. ^ Township of Upper Merion ACFR
  16. ^ "Home | Mother Teresa Regional Catholic School I King of Prussia, Pa". Mother Teresa Region. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  17. ^ "2012 Catholic grade school consolidations/closings". Catholicphilly.com. July 15, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  18. ^ "Home". Armenian Sisters Academy. Retrieved September 1, 2019. 440 Upper Gulph Road | Radnor, PA 19087
  19. ^ "Township Zoning Map". Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania. Retrieved September 1, 2019. - Also see: Township Street Map
  20. ^ "Montgomery County". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia Schools. September 2, 2001. Archived from the original on September 2, 2001. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  21. ^ a b "TWO PARISH ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS TO CLOSE IN JUNE 2005". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. May 16, 2005. Archived from the original on June 29, 2006. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  22. ^ "Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Italian)". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. October 29, 1996. Archived from the original on October 29, 1996. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  23. ^ "St. Augustine". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. October 29, 1996. Archived from the original on October 29, 1996. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  24. ^ "SACRED HEART (Polish) - Swedesburg". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. June 17, 2001. Archived from the original on June 17, 2001. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  25. ^ Road, 30 E. Swedesford; Malvern; Pa 19355 610-648-3200. "Campus History". Penn State Great Valley. Retrieved March 19, 2024.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ "Upper Merion Township map" (PDF). PennDOT. Retrieved March 10, 2023.
  27. ^ SEPTA Official Transit & Street Map Suburban (PDF) (Map). SEPTA. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  28. ^ "Transportation". Upper Merion Township. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  29. ^ "Upper Merion Rambler brochure" (PDF). Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association. Retrieved April 17, 2018.