Township Info » History

On March 20, 1753 a number of persons living in the territory along the Lehigh River above Bethlehem signed a petition to the Court of Quarter Sessions of Northampton County asking that a new Township be created. On June 9th of that same year, the Court of Easton approved the request. So was created the Township of Salisbury, 23 years before the Declaration of Independence, in the same year that the Liberty Bell was completed, and 16 years after the first official settlement.

A lively debate occasionally springs up over the correct name of the Township! It has been variously called Saltzberg, Salsberg, Saltzburg, Salsburg, Salisburg, and, of course, Salisbury, its official name today.

It is possible that Salzburg was the preference of the petitioning population. The vast majority of the petitioning population were of German descent from Salzburg, Austria. The Township could have been named after Salisbury, England. At this time the Township was under the rule of King George and the Recording Clerk was English.

One of the smallest townships in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania today, 11.3 square miles, Salisbury was once a much larger area. Fountain Hill, Emmaus from Keystone Street eastward, and all of Allentown south of the Little Lehigh Creek were once part of Salisbury.

The Borough of Fountain Hill was the original settlement of Emmaus by the Moravians in the 1740’s. Fountain Hill incorporated as a Borough in 1893, effectively separating itself from Salisbury. Emmaus incorporated as a Borough in 1759.

At one time there was a third borough, South Allentown, located just south of the Little Lehigh in the area of the present 8th Street Bridge. The City of Allentown, however, annexed the borough as well as Trout Creek Park, Mountainville, Queen City Airport, the Cedar Creek Park, the Little Lehigh Park, and the Union Terrace area in a series of annexations ending in 1951, when Salisbury was designated as a Township of the First Class.

For more information refer to the booklet entitled :

“Salisbury : Born the Year the Liberty Bell was Hung and Rung – 1753” by William L.F. Schmehl, 1976.