Northampton Township caps 300th anniversary with cake and costumes

by Karen Sangillo

Northampton Township’s 300th anniversary celebration ended with a flourish. After an entire year of activities and community engagement, the cycle culminated with a reenactment of the signing of the township charter on Wednesday, December 14th, 300 years to the day from the original signing of the document that incorporated Northampton Township. 

The township was originally settled by English colonists who came with William Penn on his voyage to Pennsylvania. The name Northampton came from the town of Northamptonshire, England.  The reenactment was held at the Township Building before the start of the Township Supervisors’ meeting.    

Northampton Township Historical Commission chairperson Steve Arty began the program by reading the original proclamation aloud. The petition and a map had been presented to the Court of Sessions at Bristol on December 11th, 1722.

Supervisors Adam Selisker, chairman, Paula Gasper, secretary, Dr. Kimberly Rose, treasurer and Robert Salzer signed the celebratory petition. Vice chairman Barry Moore was not in attendance.  

The supervisors were also presented with proclamations from the offices of senators Frank Farry and Robert ‘Tommy’ Tomlinson, as well as state representative Joe Hogan and former state representative Wendi Thomas, all congratulating the township on its tricentennial.   

“Northampton Township is a community that has always been blessed with steadfast citizens, a concerned community, civic-minded leaders, lasting traditions and a resilient spirit that has helped it thrive for 300 years and prepared it to meet the challenges of the future,” Thomas said. 

Hogan is new to his position but grew up in Levittown and worked in Bucks County. 

“Here’s to another 300 years of a successful and great Northampton,” he said. 

Selisker acknowledged the efforts of the 300th anniversary committee, thanking them for a year of hard work that created many activities and events for the community that incorporated their slogan, ‘Cherishing the Past, Celebrating the Present, Welcoming the Future.’ 

He also acknowledged township manager Bob Pellegrino, assistant Bill Wert and executive assistant Lisa Russo, along with Nancy Opalka, Parks and Recreation; Greg Hucklebridge, Gary Crossland and the Public Works staff; Steve LeCompte and the police department; Wayne Lahr and the library staff; the Northampton Historical Commission; the Veterans Advisory Commission; Sheila Jobs and the Senior Center staff; Rob Holmes and the fire company; videographer Dave Kelliher and all township employees as well as the program support received from the Tri Hampton Rescue Squad, Langhorne Rod and Gun Club and the Churchville Nature Center. 

“I think you will all agree that Northampton is a great place to be, and it has been for 300 years,” he said. “We’ve had quite a year of celebration. Three hundred years is remarkable.”

Members of the 300th committee include chairperson Eileen Silver, Opalka, Betty Satterley, Steve Bryer, Arty, Sarah Fetzer, archivist, Chip Heim, Sinead Kiely and Marisa Ristow. A cake with sparklers was wheeled out to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday.’ 

The supervisors also recognized Parks and Recreations director Opalka, who retired after 34 years. The department expanded greatly under her leadership as the township’s first-ever P&R director.   

After the festivities ended, the supervisors held their regular meeting while guests enjoyed refreshments in the lobby. 

“It was a phenomenal experience for everyone involved not only for the residents of Northampton, but also for the visitors who came to help us celebrate,” Selisker said. “There were numerous activities. 

“We tried to structure it and I know the committee felt really strongly about having something going on all the time so we had one whole yearlong celebration and it was wonderful from start to finish.”

PHOTO CAP: A birthday cake is presented at the celebration with, from left, Robert Pellegrino, Dr. Kimberly Rose, Paula Gasper, Robert Salzer, Adam Selisker, Nancy Opalka, and William Wert. 

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