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Rapho Township

Township municipal offices are located at 971 North Colebrook Road, Manheim PA 17545; phone: 717-665-3827.

Beginnings [1]

Rapho Township was organized as a political entity in 1741 when it was separated from Donegal Township, one of the seventeen original townships of Lancaster County formed in 1729. The name Rapho was derived from a parish of the same name in Donegal County, Ireland. Originally, the present Manheim Borough was part of Rapho Township.

The first settlers in Rapho Township were of Scotch-Irish descent and settled in the southern portion of the Township. The northern section was settled by Swiss and Germans. One of the first significant settlers was William Patterson, of Scotch-Irish descent, who settled on 300 acres in the southern part of the Township. In 1721, another settler, Samuel Scott, built the Chickies Hotel along the Chickies Creek. It should be noted that George Washington was a guest of this hotel.

The towns within Rapho Township, with the exception of Manheim (which later became a borough), have never played important roles. Sporting Hill, west of Manheim, was originally called Casseltown. It was founded by David Cassel about 1800. Mastersonville was founded by Thomas Masterson about 1820. In the extreme southern part of Rapho Township is a small crossroads village called Newtown.

  1. Manheim Borough / Penn & Rapho Townships, Official Comprehensive Plan, 1993,, accessed February 2008.
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