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Upper Allen Township


Upper Allen Township municipal offices are located at 100 Gettysburg Pike Mechanicsburg, Pa 17055; phone: 717-766-0756.

Beginnings [1]

Cumberland County was created in 1750, carved from the western end of Lancaster County. The County was divided at a line near Newville into East Pennsborough and West Pennsborough Townships. In 1757, the voters of Cumberland County selected as their representative in the General Assembly a patrician from Philadelphia named William Allen. William Allen served as Mayor of Philadelphia and Chief Justice of Pennsylvania. About one year later (1758), Cumberland County created Allen Township in honor of their Assemblyman.

Allen Township initially included what we know today as Lower Allen, Upper Allen and Monroe Townships, the Boroughs of New Cumberland and Shiremanstown, and portions of the Boroughs of Lemoyne and Mechanicsburg. In 1825, during the last year of James Monroe's presidency, Allen Township was reduced in size when the westernmost section became Monroe Township (Keefer, 1976). In 1831, Allen Township was reduced in size again when the eastern portion became the Borough of New Cumberland. In 1849 the County Court received a petition, instigated by citizens of the lower portion of Allen Township, stating that the Township was "long and inconvenient for Township purposes for those living in the extreme ends." In January of 1850 the Township was divided and Upper Allen and Lower Allen Townships were created. However, the boundary line between the two Townships was drawn rather hastily and severed the Village of Lisburn. In 1857, Upper Allen residents of Lisburn petitioned to change the boundary because they were closer to the Lower Allen School than to the Upper Allen School. The Court sided with the petitioners and the boundary line was redrawn to include the Village of Lisburn within Lower Allen Township.

Early settlers of current day Cumberland County and Upper Allen Township were, by design, of Scottish-Irish descent. The proprietary authorities decided to set aside land in a new county (Cumberland County) as an exclusive Scotch-Irish preserve. The settlement pattern was for the first arrivals to buy land at the power sites along the Yellow Breeches Creek. By 1740 a handful of genuine settlers were living in Upper Allen Township, including Robert Roseberry, builder of the Rose Garden Mill. Several other mills were later constructed along the Yellow Breeches Creek. The nearest village was Lisburn, which by the 1750s was a thriving community. The settlement patterns of the Upper Allen Township and Cumberland County changed in the 1760s. Following the French and Indian War (1765), land offices were opened to receive warrants for land in Bedford, Somerset, and Westmoreland Counties. Most of the Scotch-Irish moved from this area to the newly opened western tracts. Local landholdings were readily sold to migrating Germans moving in from Lancaster County.

In 1810, construction of the Gettysburg Pike began, and it soon became the main north-south roadway. Within the next 10 to 15 years, the settlement of Shepherdstown grew to become the largest village in the Township.

  1. Upper Allen Township, Cumberland County, PA, Comprehensive Plan, 2013, www.uatwp.org, Accessed March, 2015.
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