Bensalem Township is an area of 22 square miles bounded on three sides by the Delaware River, Neshaminy Creek and Poquessing Creek. The town was founded in 1692, only eleven years after William Penn received his land grant and named the colony Pennsylvania. The origins of Bensalem likely comes from references made by settler Joseph Growden, who named his estate as Manor of Bensalem in honor of William Penn, the son of peace and the Semitic term for peace Salem. Originally named Salem, the word Ben was added in 1701. Benjamin Franklin ventured out of Philadelphia regularly to visit his daughter in Bensalem. It was on one of these trips in 1752 that Franklin reportedly conducted his famous kite experiment.
Settled by the Dutch, Swedes, and English, Bensalem was a farming community until the 1950's when businesses and industries started to come into the township. One of the biggest changes was the construction of Interstate 95 in the 1960's, which transformed Street Road from a two lane country road into a major four lane highway. Bensalem was the site of one of the nation's first shopping malls, Neshaminy Mall, built in 1968. In 1979, all the small towns (Andalusia, Eddington, Cornwells Heights, Bridgewater, Flushing, and many others), became one postal area called Bensalem. Today, Bensalem is home to nearly 60,000 residents who are part of a township that continues its transformation with the completion Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack which attracts visitors throughout the region.
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