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North Hills Monthly

Community Guide: Marshall Township

Jun 30, 2015 09:44PM ● By Clare Heekin Lynch
Western Pennsylvania’s Marshall Township is a mix of beautiful residential and industrial areas; great parks and trails; and a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment choices. With a census of approximately 7,400 residents, the Township spans 16 square miles and boasts a highly ranked education system, ease of access to the crossroads of the three major roadways (Pennsylvania Turnpike, Route 19 and Interstate 79), and a large corporate presence with RIDC Park.

“While the township has experienced significant growth over the past decade, our residents still enjoy a small-town atmosphere with neighbors helping neighbors and thriving nonprofits that serve the community in many different areas,” said Township Manager Neil McFadden. The township also boasts the fourth lowest tax millage in Allegheny County, out of approximately 130 municipalities. “The corporate presence in the township not only helps keep tax rates lower,” McFadden continued, “but large employers including Verizon Wireless, Mitsubishi, Westinghouse, Guardian Protection Services, Federated Investors and Accredo Health Group, to name a few, have brought more residents to the area. It’s a win-win for both employers and their employees in supporting a work-life balance.”

The North Allegheny School District is another strong draw for families looking to settle near their work place. “The reputation of the school district precedes itself and really draws people in. That, along with the effort the township makes to follow a ‘controlled growth’ philosophy, is added icing on the cake,” said McFadden. “When people visit the area, they appreciate the fact that there is still a lot of green space here.”

Marshall Township’s history dates back to June 3, 1863, when the territory was an election precinct of Franklin Township. It is named for Thomas Mercer Marshall, a well-known attorney who participated in the area’s proceedings to withdraw from the township.

The area was originally an oil boom town. “Marshall has a rich history of oil rigs and wells in the late 1800s and early 1900s; there were, literally, derricks all over the landscape and a lot of oil was taken out of the ground then,” said McFadden. While there are still a few active wells today, the industry diminished as natural gas took over.

Also of historical interest is the Harmony Shortline, which was defined as the “edge of the earth” for city dwellers taking the train out to enjoy the fresh air and green environment of the suburbs. Parts of this rail line is still evidenced throughout flat stretches of the area, especially in Bradford Woods.

Trail Systems and Parks
There are two Native American trails dating from Colonial times that wind their way through the township. The Venango Trail cuts through the northeast corner of the township, and the Kuskusky Path passes through the entire township from south to north, including through the property where Marshall Elementary and Middle Schools are located.

Marshall Township’s trails system provides a variety of exercise and exploration options. “As the area continues to grow, we are aggressively working to make sure that there are trails with pedestrian links through more of the rural areas in an effort to make the neighborhoods and surrounding areas more walkable,” said McFadden. Venango Trails, the newest residential development, located on the former Venango Trails Golf Course, has 85 acres of open space in order to retain some of the original wooded valley trails.

The Township’s parks are equally impressive. Knob Hill Park spans 150 acres, and includes pavilions, the Elias Fry Barn, the Country Castle playground, an 18-hole disc golf course, hiking trails, ball fields, and a fantastic hill for sled riding. Warrendale Park, located off Mt. Pleasant Road, spans eight acres and includes horseshoe pits, tennis and basketball courts, a tot lot, ball fields, and a rentable pavilion. In addition, the township also recently purchased 8.5 acres of park space from the former Altmyer Farm, which, when finalized, will include the farm’s barn and playground structures, and will be aptly named Altmyer Park.

Finally, the State Gamelands offers sportsmen more than 1,000 acres of hunting, horseback riding and walking trails–something that no other community in the county can offer.

The Marshall Township Recreation Department offers a variety of youth and adult sports to community residents, including karate, softball, yoga, basketball, pickle ball, disc golf and tennis. Blade Runners, a foundation of the township for more than 25 years, offers ice time for organized teams, such as the Little Penguins hockey league, and is also open to the public for open ice time at its location in RIDC Park.

A wealth of shopping opportunities is available in the surrounding areas as well. “Our residents happily patronize the commercial corridors to the north and the south and have the convenience the areas offer without all of the retail pavement,” said McFadden.  

For more information on Marshall Township, visit

Upcoming Events

  • Jul. 13-18: Broadway Camp
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  • Aug. 1-8: Disc Golf Championships (