Bensalem Township, an area of about 21 square miles, is a field between Philadelphia and the rest of the county. There have been a lot of discussions about the origin of the name Bensalem. As far back as 1692, a part of the name “Salem” appeared in records in connection with surveys and grants of the land and sometime between that year and 1701 the prefix “Ben” has been added. There have also been arguments about the meaning of the name. One historian suggested that the name Bensalem meant “hill of peace” or “peaceful mount,” while others argued that it meant “son of peace.”
The Dutch, the English, and the Swedes, as a study of the names of the original residents, will show settled Bensalem Township. Among the Dutch were named as Van Bandit, Van der Grift, Van Kirk and Van Artsdalen. Those names, in this new country under the English, changed to Vansant, Vandergrift, Vankirk & Vanartsdalen and if you look, you will find those names in local phone books. With a massive influx of new residents during the late 1950’s and 1960’s, there was an influx of names whose bearers came from or they are descendants of people who came from almost every state of the Union.
The Township consists of a group of communities, each with its identity and community life, including community activities, schools, fire companies and other community events, joined in a large municipal body called a township. In the Fall of 2007, after three decades of renting spaces and not having a place to call home & display all of the interesting artifacts & publications on Bensalem’s heritage, the Bensalem Historical Society relocated into their new location on the Knights Road on the grounds of Bensalem’s Amazing Central Park.
Bensalem is home to Parx Casino & Racetrack, a mile long thoroughbred horse racing track. The facility opened in November 1974 as Keystone Racetrack. The name has later been changed to Philadelphia Park in 1984. The racetrack became notable as the original home of the 2004 Kentucky Derby. In 2006, a casino opened at Philadelphia Park, and the facility was renamed into Philadelphia Park Racetrack & Casino. A permanent standalone casino opened in December 2009 and was named PARX Casino. The facility boasts 250,000 square feet including gaming, entertainment and banquet space. Bensalem is home to the Mongkoltepmunee Buddhist Temple also known as Wat Mongkoltepmunee. This shrine is a replica of a temple in Bangkok and is the one of a kind in the United States. It serves as a place of great ceremonies and meditation for the Buddhist monk community which came to Bensalem from Thailand in 1980. Bensalem is also home to two State Parks, Neshaminy State Park & Benjamin Rush State Park. Also, near the center of Bensalem, you can find the Bensalem Township Community Park, which features a playground, skate park, basketball courts, a roller-hockey rink, baseball, football, soccer, and softball fields.
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