Palmer Township is a township in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, United States. Palmer Township is located in the Lehigh Valley region of the state. The Township is home to Easton Area High School, a large public high school known for its rivalry with Phillipsburg High School. The population of Palmer Township was 20,691 at the 2010 census.
The first known inhabitants of the area now known as Palmer Township were the Lenape Native Americans in the 17th century. German Moravian settlers built on land in the Palmer area in 1740. At the time, the area was part of Bucks County, Pennsylvania which by the mid-18th century also included land now called Northampton County
and Lehigh County.
separated from Bucks County on March 11, 1752. In 1754, Forks Township
, which then also consisted of what is now Palmer Township, was incorporated in 1754 with a total population of about 50 inhabitants. On May 5, 1857, Palmer Township was formed out of the land area of Forks Township
south and west of the Bushkill Creek; the original population of the township was about 1,300 people. The township was named after George Palmer, the Pennsylvania Surveyor General who surveyed the original township lines. At the time that it was incorporated, the township was about 14 square miles (36 km2) and included what are now known as the boroughs of Tatamy (which became incorporated in 1893), West Easton
(incorporated in 1898), Stockertown
(incorporated in 1901) and Wilson (incorporated in 1920). The main activity of Palmer Township during its earliest years was providing access roads from the neighboring city Easton
to surrounding communities, including Bethlehem
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the township included many stone houses near water, for purposes of power and water supply, and roads, to allow for trade. Among them were the Seipsville Hotel, which was built by the settler Peter Seip in 1760 at the crossroads of roads leading from Easton
and Hecktown. Seip had purchased land along the west side of Old Nazareth Road; the area later became known as Seipsville in honor of Seip. The Seipsville Hotel was the first public house between Easton
, and became a popular stagecoach stop for travelers passing through the Lehigh Valley
. In 1977, the building (now known as the Seipsville Inn) was added to the National Register of Historic Places due to the significance of its architecture and engineering.
The township started to experience major growth after World War I and World War II as part of a general trend of population movement from nearby cities to the suburbs. In the early 1920s, subdivision activity along inter-city trolley lines led to a building spurt in Palmer Township, which doubled the population within 10 years. As a result, the township became seen as a desirable place to live for people who worked in other areas of the Lehigh Valley. The population saw further growth in the late 1940s and early 1950s due to the expansion of water lines and the development of low-income housing.
A lack of water during the early days of Palmer Township limited the amount of farming that could be done, and industry was limited mainly to the Bushkill Creek waterways, where some form of power was available. Residents had to get water from hand dug wells because it was too difficult to find a source of water close to the surface of the ground. Other industries began to arise in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including some iron ore excavation in the Fairview Knolls area and cement industry near the Tatamy area; also at this time, the Taylor Wharton and Treadwell Engineering were established in Palmer Township to manufacture equipment mainly for railroad use. Gradually, farming techniques grew more and more in the area, until by the late 1960s almost 50 percent of the township was in farm lands. The township saw new businesses in the mid 1960s, including ITT in 1964 and Acopian Corp., in 1965.
The Township is served by the Easton Area School District.
More information is available at
and the township’s official website at www.palmertwp.com/
Township Office: 3 Weller Place, Palmer, 610-253-7191