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The second largest of York County's towns, Hanover was built at an important crossroad linking Gettysburg to the west, Carlisle to the north, and Baltimore, York, and Frederick to the south. Like York, it is on the Monocacy Road, but when Robert McCallister laid out “McCallister's Town” in 1763 it was unclear whether it was in Maryland or Pennsylvania. This was finally settled with the surveying of the Mason-Dixon Line in 1768, which placed it under the historically open society of the Penn family. By 1854 it was described as having a population of 1,500 with three churches, an academy, and numerous places of business, whose prosperity resided on rail connections to York and Harrisburg via the Hanover Branch Railroad of 1852 and the Pennsylvania Railroad that arrived in 1873. This resulted in a burst of building activity and many of the original log buildings were reconstructed in brick. Though McAllister's name was replaced with Hanover, in honor of the many Germans of the community, his handsome town plan with a market in the center square gives distinction to the community. A tour of Hanover should begin with its central square, but its most remarkable zone may be the food processing industrial district on the north side of town where Snyder's Pretzels and Herr's Potato Chips remind us of the fundamental contribution of German Americans to the national waistline.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas

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