Township municipal offices are located at 13013 Welty Road, Waynesboro PA 17628; phone: 717-762-3128.
Washington Township is located in Franklin County in Southcentral Pennsylvania. The Township is comprised of the following villages and developments: Beartown, Blue Ridge Summit, Buena Vista Springs, Charmian, Eastland Hills, Glen Forney, Midvale, Monterey, Pen Mar, Roadside, Rouzerville, Wayne Heights, and Zullinger. The Township also surrounds the Borough of Waynesboro. The Southern border of the Township is shared with Washington County, Maryland and is known as the Mason-Dixon Line.
Early settlers of Washington Township can be traced back to as early as 1735. At that time, it was known as the wild or western frontier of the American Colonies. Washington Township was incorporated in April of 1779 out of Antrim Township by the Cumberland County Quarter Sessions Court. The Township was named after General George Washington. In 1837, the northern part of Washington Township was used to create Quincy Township.
The first major transportation route was begun around 1768 with the construction of a road between Fulton eastward to Baltimore which was authorized by Cumberland County. This was built as a shipping route for locally produced flour. It eventually developed into a turnpike and is now known as PA Route 16, or the Buchanan Trail.
Washington Township was very pivotal during the Civil War, and was the site of the second-largest Civil War Battle in Pennsylvania, the Battle of Monterey Pass which took place in the 1860's. Although neighboring Adams County is the focal point of most of the local civil war history, Washington Township was the site of critical activity and it is said that there are cannons still buried near Pennersville Road.
The Township developed slowly during the early 19th Century; however, there was significant growth towards the end of the 19th Century in the southeast corner near the village of Blue Ridge Summit. This area became a popular summer resort area. Excursion trains soon found their way to this area and also nearby Pen Mar Park which featured amusements and an outdoor dancing pavilion. Large summer hotels were erected which attracted many guests and celebrities to the area. President Wilson and Admiral Dewey were said to frequent these resorts. The Monterey Inn sat in the center of a summer resort colony and served as host to many visitors during the resort era.
The Monterey Historic District is located in the Village of Blue Ridge Summit. This District is now listed on the National Historic Site Registry and serves as an example of a summer resort community from the 19th Century. Aside from hosting famous people and celebrities, a prominent birth also occurred there. Bessie Wallis Warfield, Duchess of Windsor was born in Square Cottage at the Monterey Inn, at the resort of Blue Ridge Summit.
The area is located on Charmian Road which was part of the Baltimore/Pittsburgh Turnpike. This area was attractive because of the climate and the natural springs, both pure and mineral. By the end of the 19th Century, the Clermont House was built to the East of the Monterey Inn. As an increasing number of affluent guests were attracted to the area, they bought land and built summer homes of their own along Charmian Lane.
The arrival of the Western Maryland Railroad to Pen Mar in 1873 directly impacted the growth of these resorts. The Amusement park and the 600 room Blue Mountain House lured many visitors to the area. This area thrived as a summer resort prior to World War II, but declined during World War II, as a result of the U.S. Army taking over the area. There is also some speculation that reliance on the automobile and decline of railway excursion business also affected the business. Many of these hotels were razed or destroyed by fires. The grandest of the hotels, Buena Vista Springs Hotel, which burned to the ground in 1967, was the last of the resort hotels in the area.