In the early 1700s, a small valley in the Pigeon Hills began to attract the attention of German settlers. They were looking to build new lives away from religious prosecution, and yet they still wanted to settle in an area that reminded them of home – the Rhineland River Valley. They found that here, in a fertile farming area that would grow to become Hanover, Pennsylvania. At the time, it had no real name. It was simply referred to as “Digg’s Choice” or “Rogue’s Roost.” In 1763, a Scotch-Irish innkeeper named Richard McAllister drew up a formal town plan for the group of scattered settlers. It was centered over an old hickory swamp at the junction of trade roads to York – 20 miles north – and Baltimore, a bustling city with a port, just a day’s ride to the south. In order to gain favor with the predominately German population, he named it “Hanover,” a German word that means “on the high banks.” Hanover was incorporated as a borough in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1815. By that time, it was already home to thriving industries. It had a strong agricultural base and several inns and taverns, including the one owned by McAllister. And each week, more families settled in Hanover, including a growing number of Scotch, English and Irish immigrants. Despite the English spelling of its name, Hanover, Pennsylvania, is named for Hannover, Germany.
Hanover, today, is diverse, a very healthy mix of manufacturing, processing, trade and agriculture – a fitting tribute to the strong work ethic and dedication of its earliest settlers, the Germans. Hanover is also growing rapidly. It is one of the largest retail areas in Pennsylvania and one of the largest manufacturing regions. Hanover also bears another distinction – it is the “snack food capital,” home to nearly one dozen brands, including Utz Potato Chips and Snyder’s of Hanover
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