Historical Society

Meetings held at the Municipal Building Community Room
1st Tuesday of Every Other Month (Starting in February) at 7:00 p.m.
Contact Historical Society Chairman, Richard Stare for more information at 717-421-6443.

Understanding and appreciating the past enhances your view of life, present, and future in South Hanover Township. In 1785 Dauphin County separated from Lancaster County.  East and West Hanover Townships separated from Derry Township. On March 4, 1842 South Hanover separated from West Hanover.  Hence, South Hanover was established in 1842 as 11.3 square miles. In 1845, the Village of Union Deposit was laid out.  It has two dry goods stores, two shoe stores, one millinery store, a tailor shop, a hotel, an iron ore furnace, a flour mill, a wagon factory, a warehouse, a brick yard, and two resident physicians.  The early business activity was stimulated by the Union Canal whose virgin barge trip occurred in 1828.
Hoernerstown became a crossroads village from land originally owned by Major John Hoerner.  It was named after the Major's father Andrew who emigrated from Prussia in 1755.  "A History of Hoernerstown" by Edith Wert is eighteen pages of Enlightenment.
Sand Beach, the cluster of homes in the extreme eastern part of the township, lies at the point where the Manada Creek flows into the Swatara Creek originally called Manadaville.
The original Hanover Township was organized at a session of the Lancaster County Court in 1736-1737.  In 1785 it was then divided into two separate and distinct townships, named East Hanover and West Hanover.  These two townships were divided by Raison Creek until 1813.  During this year Lebanon County was also split away from Dauphin County.  This split placed East Hanover in Lebanon County and West Hanover in Dauphin County.  On March 4, 1842, the original West Hanover Township was split into East and South Hanover Townships.

The principal settlement in South Hanover Township from 1750-1791 was called Unionford.  The town was only a fort with six outposts.  At one outpost (Milton Hershey Farm Unit 15) was a triangular tower used as a lookout.  At the time of the fort, there were only two roads.  In 1845, Phillip Wolfsberger and Issac Hershey laid out the land and called it the Village of Union Deposit.  The name came about due to the area's use as a place to deposit goods meant to be transported on the Union Canal.  Much of Union Deposit's early commercial success as a principal settlement in South Hanover Township stems from the past relationship the area had with a canal along the Swatara Creek.  The canal was an important component of the community and was instrumental in its growth. 
Hoernerstown, a smaller settlement to the west of Union Deposit, was acquired by a land grant which was later divided into farms with a small portion left for the village.  The southwestern and northern sections of South Hanover Township still remains primary agricultural area.
Sand Beach lies in the extreme eastern part of the township. The town is known for the 220 foot covered bridge built in 1906 that crossed the Swatara Creek between Derry Township and South Hanover Township.  The bridge, restored by Hershey Enterprises in 1964, burned the night of September 3, 1966.  Business and industry in this little town included a sawmill, grist mill, cabinet shop, store and schoolhouse. 
In the Village of Union Deposit, Hoernerstown, and the many farms and structures scattered throughout South Hanover Township, there is a thriving and rich architectural character that is of infinite value.  Through responsible planning and leadership at the local level, not only can the actual structures be maintained for future appreciation, but such efforts will preserve the culture and heritage that shares these places.
Special thanks to Enos Boyer for the many historical pictures available for your viewing. For more information on the History of South Hanover Township, please refer to the South Hanover Township Historical Society.
userway userway