About Independence Township
Independence Township has a land mass of 23.3 sq. miles or approximately 15,142.4 acres. It is a rural community located in the southern section of Beaver County. The township abuts Hanover Township to the west. It is bordered on the northeast by Hopewell Township, with Raccoon Township on its northwestern border. Allegheny and Washington Counties are on its southeastern border.
It is just a few minutes commute to the Pittsburgh International Airport or the Beaver Valley Mall. Pittsburgh and all of its activities is just a half an hour away.
History of Independence Township
The lands that are now Independence Township were originally part of Hopewell Township and the Village of Independence. October 19, 1848 Independence Township was born.
During the mid 1700s, Independence was an Indian hunting ground and arrowheads and other artifacts are still found in the Township today.
Independence Township occupied much of the Raccoon Creek Valley in southern Beaver County. Independence Village, the site of “Seventy-Six” Post Office, was Hopewell Township’s first polling place and chief village until that township was divided to form Independence Township in 1848. Forner’s Mill, located here, was powered by water from a unique underground mill race. The blacksmith shop nearby was a Masonic Lodge for many years. The last covered bridge in Beaver County was also here until it collapsed in 1948. This is the area now occupied by Morely’s Auto Repair.
George McElhaney, an Indian scout during the Revolutionary War, settled along Raccoon Creek south of Independence Village shortly after the war. Nearby, the township’s other village of note developed as Bock’s Mill (later Bocktown). The post office here was called Deluth which was near the present day intersection of Route 151 and Independence Road. Backbone School, one of the county’s more interesting place names, was named for a high, narrow ridge in a loop of Raccoon Creek in the southwest corner of the township. New Bethlehem United Presbyterian Church, founded in 1865, is the township’s oldest.
Raccoon Creek, Service Creek and Raredon Run flow through the Township.
The Township had six one-room schools Gorsuch, Butler, Backbone, Independence, Hardscrabble and Bocktown.
The original Township building, aptly named “Independence Hall”, circa 1920, was located on Independence Road near the intersection with Ridge Road and served as the seat of local government and community social hall. This structure still stands today and most recently housed Kaufmann’s Gun Shop.