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Conewago Township

Conewago town Hall is located at 541 Oxford Avenue, Hanover, PA 17331; phone: 717-637-0411.

Beginnings [1]

Conewago Township has a history that is rich with famous incidents and landmarks. The first European settlers that came to the area were of German and Scotch-Irish origin. Records state that these settlers found the land west of the Susquehanna to be a "very acceptable place for settlement." When the first settlers arrived around 1734, they began clearing hardwood trees near Hanover.

During this time, William Penn's followers were settling throughout Conewago Township. Soon after, Maryland's followers of the Baltimore-Calverts began moving north from Maryland to settle. In 1764, Mason and Dixon were hired to survey the area and establish a line between land owned by the Penns and Lord Baltimore. Today this line remains as the southern boundary of Adams County as well as the state line between Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Conewago Township was formed in 1801 from portions of Heidelberg and Manheim Townships. The original name of the area was Digges' Choice, bestowed upon it in 1727, when John Digges received 10,501 acres by Charles Calvert, Fifth Lord of Baltimore. In 1730 the Lillys family settled and gave the Township its Indian name, Conewago, derived from "Caughnawaga," (or "Kaughnawaga") meaning "the place at the rapids."

Conewago Chapel near present-day Edgegrove was established as a combination log dwelling and chapel in 1741 and is the oldest Catholic Church west of the Susquehanna River. The present-day stone structure is the oldest Catholic Church building in the United States, dating back to 1787. On January 29, 1975, Conewago Chapel became part of the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark.

In addition, the Pennsylvania Museum Commission's Bureau for Historic Preservation has identified two additional historic sites that they have deemed to be "eligible" for inclusion of the National Register. First is the Helen Buck House along Miller Bottom Road and the second is the Shoe Farm Bridge.

Despite nearby Gettysburg's role during the Civil War, Conewago Township was not subjected to battles and the movement of military forces.

  1. Conewago Township, Comprehensive Plan, 2008: Natural and Cultural Features,, accessed June, 2011.
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