Falls Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

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Falls Township is a township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 34,865 at the 2000 census. Portions of Fairless Hills and Levittown, Pennsylvania, are located in the township. Portions of Falls Township are mistakenly called Morrisville, due to the location of the Morrisville Post Office outside the Borough of Morrisville.

Contents

History

Dutch settlements here were established as early as 1616. A number of colonists came to Falls Township before William Penn founded Pennsylvania in 1681, including William Biles.

Fallsington is the only settlement of this period which has been in continuous use. Fallsington is an example of a crossroads village typical of the time. The Bucks County Courthouse, established in 1663, is said to have been located in Fallsington until it was moved to Bristol in 1705. The Friends Meeting, whose first meetings were held at the home of William Biles on Biles Island, found a site for a brick meeting house, built about 1690 in Fallsington on 6 acres (0.024 km2) of land that had been donated by Samuel Burges. Also in 1690, Thomas Janney donated 72 acres (0.29 km2) of land to be used as the Quaker burial grounds for Falls Monthly Meeting. William Penn donated a tract of 120 acres (0.49 km2), for a Falls commons. The Township itself was established in 1692. Numerous villages were located within the township, with Fallsington being the center of social and commercial activity in the township. Morrisville was another prominent village, until it was partitioned as a borough in 1804. Tullytown was also a village until it was partitioned as a borough in 1891. Other villages, now long gone included Tyburn, Penn Valley, Wheatsheaf, Slickville, Dogtown, Penns Manor and Oxford Valley, which was located in both Falls Township and Middletown Township.

The growth of Fallsington continued, with the construction of homes, an inn, public buildings, stores, and small craftsmen's shops. Until the construction of Fairless Hills and Levittown, it was the largest village in the Township, and functioned for many years as a commercial center.

In 1682, William Penn began construction of his official residence, Pennsbury Manor. The 8,431-acre (34.12 km2) site in Falls Township was chosen for its easy access to Philadelphia along the Delaware River. This island was gradually sold by Penn's heirs and the last original building was destroyed in 1864. In 1932, a small portion of the original site was purchased by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and reconstruction of Pennsbury Manor was begun. Pennsbury is now a historical site, open to the public.

The proximity of major transportation systems influenced much of the Township's development. The earliest of these was the Delaware River. The Township is located at the upper end of the navigable portion of the river. In 1686, the Provincial Council ordered the construction of the King's Highway, which ran from Philadelphia to Trenton along an existing Indian trail, through Bristol, Falls, and Morrisville. The King's Highway still exists today as U.S. Route 13, flowing closely the original configuration. Additional roads and turnpikes were built through the Township in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

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