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.
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 township is the site of the Cornwells Heights SEPTA station, which is the largest park-and-ride in the state of Pennsylvania and also serves as a commuter Amtrak station to New York City. Two SEPTA regional rail lines, a freight line, and multiple SEPTA buses pass through the township.
For the 2002 M. Night Shyamalan movie Signs, starring Mel Gibson, a stage set was built inside a warehouse on State Road for many of the interior shots.
The NBC pilot episode for Outlaw, starring Jimmy Smits was filmed in Andalusia March 22–23, 2010.
The movie Safe, starring Jason Statham filmed at Parx Casino and Racing.
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 township is readily accessible with Interstate 95, U.S. Route 1, Pennsylvania Turnpike, U.S. Route 13, Woodhaven Road (PA 63) and 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, is now open in Bensalem.
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.
Andalusia and Belmont are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Andalusia is also designated a National Historic Landmark.
The U.S. subsidiary of Hoshino, who manufactures Tama Drums and Ibanez guitars is located here.