Pennsylvania Dutchfarmers had turned the area into some of the most fertile farmland in the state.
Originally, the Township was part of 23,000 acres which formed John and Richard Penn’s “Manor of Fermor”. In 1747, it became part of Allen Township, which was comprised of what is now Allen, East Allen, and the two Hanover Townships. Hanover Township was officially incorporated as a separate entity on August 8, 1798.
The Township acquired its present boundaries in 1812 when Lehigh County was created. At that time, Hanover was split into two separate townships with approximately one-third of the land and one-half of the population remaining in Northampton County.
Farming predominated Township life throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. During that time, development centered around the village of Hanoverville in the east and Schoenersville in the west. Each had a tavern, a store, a post office, and a handful of dwellings. Power for grist and sawmills and a brewery was provided by the Township’s only stream, the Monocacy, which flows along the southeastern boundary.
Until 1956, three one-room schools were the locations for the education of Township children. Schortz School, the oldest of the three, is located on Jacksonville Road, across from the present Hanover Elementary School. Knauss School stands in the northeastern section of the Township on Hanoverville Road. The third school, Rudolph, was located on Jacksonville Road near the Schoenersville Road intersection and now houses a beverage distributorship. In 1965, nine years after the opening of Hanover Elementary School, Hanover Township joined with three other local townships and the City of Bethlehem to form the Bethlehem Area School District. A second elementary school, Asa Packer, was built at the western end of Stoke Park Road in 1967.
Population growth in the Township remained slow and steady until the 1920’s when the trend toward suburbanization began. Hanover’s population doubled between 1950 and 1960 and nearly tripled in the decade that followed. The 1990 Census showed 7,136 individuals living in the Township. During the next 10 years the population increased by 34% with the 2000 Census showing 9,563 residents. Today the Township is home to in excess of 10,500 residents.
Hanover Township today is a residential community with excellent recreation facilities, highlighted by the Hanover Township Community Center which opened in November of 1996. The township is located northwest of the City of Bethlehem allowing easy access to urban facilities. Well-planned employment districts have been developed, which will allow employment opportunities within the Township. The Township is home to two first-class business parks with easy access off of Route 22: Lehigh Valley Corporate Center and Lehigh Valley Industrial Park.
Hanover Township is a Second Class Township under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code and is governed by a five-member Board of Supervisors. The Township Manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the township. Fire protection is provided by the Hanover Township Volunteer Fire Company #1 and police protection is handled by the Colonial Regional Police Department.
For a more complete history of Hanover Township, click below:
Comprehensive Historic Resource Survey (Large File 11.2MB)