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Penn Township

Penn Township administrative offices are located at 20 Wayne Avenue, Hanover, PA 17331; phone: 717-632-7366.

Beginnings [1]

Historically settled as rural farming community, Penn Township has evolved into a residential community and the home of several major industries in southwestern York County.

Much of the area of Penn Township was originally included in what was known as "Digges Choice". In 1727, approximately 7,000 acres of land was given in a grant to John Digges by Lord Baltimore. A dispute was raised on whether the land was in Maryland or Pennsylvania. This dispute was settled by the King of England and resulted in the formation of the Mason-Dixon Line in 1768.

Penn Township was originally part of Heidelberg and Manheim Townships and in 1880 Penn Township was designated as a separate municipality by action of the York County Court.

The first settlers in the area were mainly Scotch and German. These settlers took advantage of the rich farmland soil in the area and became farmers.

The first roads in the area were small trade routes which followed Indian trails. These roads were important because they were the primary routes used to carry goods to market. The first roads connecting this rural area to major trade markets were constructed late in the 1700's. Branch railroads of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Western Maryland Railroad eventually came to the area, making railway transportation available. With the advent of the railroads, industry began to develop in the area, although agriculture still remained economically important.

Penn Township is currently 13.48 square miles in size and is located in the southwestern portion York County adjacent to the Borough of Hanover. Strategically located at the convergence of State Routes 94, 194, and 116, the Township is 18 miles southwest of York, Pennsylvania and 42 miles north of Baltimore, Maryland.

  1. Penn Township Planning Committee, Penn Township Comprehensive Plan, York County, Pennsylvania, 2001,, accessed January, 2014.
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