Originally a part of the County of Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Paxton Township, West Hanover Township was formed by action of the court of Lancaster in 1785. On March 4, 1842 East and West Hanover Townships of Dauphin County were finally designated as separate governmental precincts.
Historical sources list the earliest settlements in the area of West Hanover as prior to 1735. Many of these settlers, were of Scotch-Irish Presbyterian origin that came in large numbers with English Presbyterian and Protestant refugees to Penn’s Woods.
Census records from 1800 list 1,862 inhabitants and thirteen (13) slaves. For the year 1820 there were 2,618 inhabitants. The next eighty years saw the exodus of population from local farms to the growing industrial areas and factory locations. In 1900, the population dropped to 1,010 people. However, since this period, the Township continued to experience gradual increases in population and in 2010 the US Census recorded 9,343 inhabitants.
The Township’s economy has historically centered around agriculture, and the Township remained predominately rural until the late 1950’s. With the construction of Interstate 81 suburban development gradually began to creep into the Township. With community development policies that promote environmental protection, new businesses and hundreds of new homes have been carefully planned and constructed.
Note: You may learn more about the rich history of the Township by becoming part of the West Hanover Township Historical Society. Join today! Call Harry Senft, Membership Chairman at 469-7130.