Upper Saucon Township
Upper Saucon Township is home to The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, a high-end Lehigh Valley mall which opened in 2006.
Upper Saucon Township is situated in the southeastern corner of Lehigh County approximately 60 miles north of Philadelphia and 80 miles east of Harrisburg. The Township is bordered on the north by Salisbury Township, on the east by Lower Saucon Township (Northampton County), on the south by the Borough of Coopersburg and Springfield Township (Bucks County), and on the west by Lower and Upper Milford Townships.
Upper Saucon Township is linked to the regional transportation network by three major highways - Interstate 78, PA Route 309 and PA Route 378. Interstate 78 traverses the northeastern section of the Township until it merges with Route 309 in the north-central area. The Interstate then swings north and shares six lanes with Route 309 until it meets US Route 22 northwest of the Township in Upper Macungie Township. Route 309 runs through the center of the Township and provides a direct link to Quakertown, Philadelphia and other Bucks County and Montgomery County communities to the South. Route 378 runs north from Route 309 in the south-central area of the Township and eventually meets US Route 22 in the City of Bethlehem.
Upper Saucon has been a bedroom community for the Lehigh Valley region including the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton. The rolling hills and farmland that characterize the Township and its convenient location with easy access to PA Route 309, Interstate 78 and US Route 22 have made Upper Saucon a very attractive place to live for those wanting both a somewhat rural atmosphere but also access to metropolitan amenities.
Indians were the first inhabitants of the area known today as Upper Saucon Township. The word "Saucon" is derived from the Indian word "Suakunk" which was the name applied to an Indian village at the mouth of Saucon Creek, and afterwards a large tract of land lying on both sides the creek from its source to its mouth. Suakunk comes from the Indian word Sa-ku-wit, meaning the mouth of a creek.
The earliest European settlers arrived in the region over a 20-year period beginning in 1732 and were primarily of German, English and Welsh descent. In 1743 these immigrants formally organized the Township. Agriculture formed the basis of the Township's economy for most of its history. Wheat, rye, oats, corn, potatoes, clover, timothy, fruits and garden vegetables were some of the Township's early agricultural products. Access to trading and selling these products was provided by the precursor to Route 309, which rested in the same general location as the present highway and extended from Allentown to Philadelphia.
The Village of Center Valley formed the principle gathering spot for the Township and evolved as a linear community initially focused around the intersection of present day Routes 309 and 378. By 1848, the village consisted of only a general store, hotel and a 60-acre farm. Construction of the North Pennsylvania Railroad through the Township in 1856 brought improved transportation and expanded access to urban markets. The rail line established its Center Valley Station on the east side of the Saucon Creek about a quarter of a mile east of the village nucleus. Center Valley continued to grow and by 1862 boasted not only a store and hotel, but also a post office, blacksmith shop, and shoemaker, along with several dwellings.
By 1873, as many as seven homes had been established near the railroad station, and in 1875 local commissioners authorized $1,200.00 for construction of the Centennial Bridge. This bridge provided an important link between the original village nucleus and the settlement forming around the railroad station to the east. By the time the bridge was completed in 1876, the area around the station had extended toward the original village nucleus by adding 18 homes, two coal yards, one store and a hotel.
The Center Valley Station became an important shipping point for agricultural products from surrounding farms. The community around the station was at one point locally known as "Milk Town" because of the large quantity of milk that was shipped out of the area. According to the Bucks County Historical Society, two and one half million gallons of milk were shipped annually to the Philadelphia area via the railroad.
In addition to the agricultural trade, the Township's other key industry was mining. The Friendensville Zinc Mine is the only registered historical site in the Township and dates back to 1845. The mining of zinc ore first occurred on the farm of Jacob Ueberroth, which was eventually purchased by the Lehigh Zinc Company and was the largest of the many mines in the local area. Between 1869 and 1872, the Lehigh Zinc Company installed the world famous Cornish pump known as "The President". This pump was used to remove between 12,000 to 16,000 gallons of water a minute from the mines. The Lehigh Zinc Company was eventually acquired by the New Jersey Zinc Company and the property is currently owned by the Stabler Land Company.
As of the census2 of 2000, there were 11,939 people, 3,970 households, and 3,283 families residing in the township. The population density was 186.9/km² (483.9/mi²). There were 4,117 housing units at an average density of 64.4/km² (166.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the township was 97.11% White, 0.70% African American, 0.06% Native American, 1.13% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.07% of the population.
There were 3,970 households out of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.2% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.3% were non-families. 13.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.79 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the township the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 27.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 99.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $66,703, and the median income for a family was $73,381. Males had a median income of $50,041 versus $30,165 for females. The per capita income for the township was $27,606. About 0.9% of families and 1.8% 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.
The Township is served by the Southern Lehigh School District.
Sources: Wikipedia, Upper Saucon Township Web Site
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