Millcreek Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania

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Millcreek Township is a township in Erie County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 52,129 at the 2000 census. It is the largest suburb of Erie, Pennsylvania and the ninth largest municipality in the state; larger than the cities of Altoona and Harrisburg.

Millcreek Township is home to the Millcreek Mall and portions of busy Peach Street, the entrance of Presque Isle State Park, Waldameer Park and many other attractions.

Contents

History

Evidence exists of Native American presence in Millcreek Township as early as 3700 BC. The township's Sommerheim Park is the location of the Sommerheim Park Archaeological District, which has yielded archaeological artifacts from the Archaic and Woodland periods.[1]

One of the earliest townships in the Erie Triangle to be settled, Millcreek was one of the original 16 townships of Erie County. As families came they moved from the bayfront settlement of Erie they began to form small hamlets such as Federal Hill, Kearsarge, Marvintown, Weigelville, etc. all to become part of Mill Creek Township. As the Erie settlement grew, first into a borough, then a city, it annexed more and more sections of the township.

After the east/west roads were laid out, taverns began to sprout about every mile or so. Along the Ridge Road (U.S. Route 20), which was laid west through Millcreek in 1805, one of the few that remains is the Nicholson Tavern. Built in 1836, mostly by Isabella Nicholson and her sons, it is still owned by the family and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A recurving sandspit peninsula, Presque Isle, connects to the mainland in western Millcreek. During the War of 1812, Oliver Hazard Perry commanded his fleet in battle and strategically used the peninsula's bay as a harbor to construct six out of nine of the ships in his fleet. In 1921 the peninsula was made a state park and was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. Today the park is a bird sanctuary with over 150 different species identified here.

Just west of the entry into Presque Isle was a well-forested area known as Hopkins Grove. The Erie Electric Motor Company purchased the grove in 1896 for development into an amusement park. Today Waldameer is one of the oldest amusement parks in the nation.

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