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This comprises the codification of the ordinances of the Township of Dover. The first counties in Pennsylvania were established in 1681 under a charter granted to William Penn by Charles II, King of England. Settlement occurred mainly east of the Susquehanna River until the conclusion of the Indian Treaty of 1736, when the limits of Lancaster County were extended indefinitely westward. These fertile lands were soon occupied by immigrants from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Germany.
Boundary Formation. It was under the authority of the Lancaster County Court that Dover Township was formed in 1743. It was formed out of old Manchester Township which was so large that it extended into Adams County. The township's name, Dover, was apparently selected to honor Dover, England.
The shape of Dover Township is irregular with its southwestern boundary resting upon what is now Jackson and Paradise Townships. To the west lie Warrington and Washington Townships, while to the east lie West Manchester, Manchester, and Conewago Townships. The original boundaries were not well-defined, but they included part of what is today Washington and Conewago Townships, and Dover Borough.
In 1770, that area which stretches from the top of the Conewago Hills to the Big Conewago Creek was added to Dover Township from Warrington Township. The Big Conewago Creek forms its present western boundary line. Then, in 1818, Dover residents east of the Bull Road petitioned the York County Courts to form a new township known as Conewago Township. About two-thirds of this new township came from Dover Township and one-third from Newberry Township. It is this line along the Bull Road, delineated in 1818, which forms the present eastern boundary of the Township. The northern boundary is formed where the eastern and western boundaries of Dover Township meet. The southern boundary consists of a line which originally separated Dover Township from Paradise Township. Today, it separates Dover Township from both Paradise and Jackson Townships. Jackson Township was an offspring of the original Paradise Township. The southeastern boundary of Dover Township is delineated by the Little Conewago Creek up to the point where it meets the Bull Road.
Early Settlement. Place names, family traditions, and artifacts substantiate the fact that Native American settlements existed in and around the Dover Township area. At the time of these settlements, though, the Township was merely an extension of the wilderness that was part of Lancaster County which was still under the jurisdiction of Philadelphia. The Native Americans of the York-Dover area were distributed and had, on occasion, complained to Philadelphia about the European settlers who were crossing the Susquehanna River and clearing the wilderness and planting. It became evident that the settlers were coming into the area to live and settle.
Much of the land in the Township is fertile and produces abundant crops. The major source of income for these early settlers was farming. Corn, wheat, and potatoes were the primary crops except in the northern section where peaches and strawberries were cultivated and became an important industry in that section during the early days of the Township. Other important industries during the early days of the Township were weaving, tanning, quarrying, and harness and wagon-making. The sandstone for the ornamentations on the Dauphin County Court House was quarried in the Township. The Township’s location was ideal for the tanning industry because hides could be obtained from nearby butchers and dehaired with the lime from the West Manchester Township lime kilns.
An early inventory of Dover Township (1783), showed 219 horses, 146 barns, 697 male and 670 female inhabitants; 4 slaves, 7 mills, and 23,811 acres of land. From this early inventory (1,367 inhabitants), the population of the Township has shown a slow but steady increase except for two distinct periods. Before and after the turn of the twentieth century, the population showed a slight decline while during recent years, there has been a tremendous influx of people into the township.
POPULATION HISTORY 1783 - 2000
Year - Population Year - Population Year - Population
1783 1,367 1880 2,378 1950 3,864
1820 1,816 1890 2,349 1960 6,399
1830 1,874 1900 2,313 1965 8,049
1840 1,920 1910 2,211 1970 8,975
1850 1,918 1920 2,209 1973 10,472
1860 2,258 1930 2,652 1980 12,581
1870 2,281 1940 3,019 1990 15,576
Several settlements in Dover Township reach back into its very earliest days of existence. The oldest settlement was Emig's Mill where a Dietrich Updegraff took up land in 1745 and where a house of public entertainment existed. Later, a roller mill which originated as a mill in colonial times, flourished here. Also, many Native American artifacts have been found by collectors along the Little Conewago Creek from Emig's Mill to its mouth at York Haven.
Davidsburg, a village situated in the center of a fine agricultural region in the western part of Dover Township, has been an interesting area since its inception in the early part of the nineteenth century. Part of its importance can be attributed to the fact that it is located along the Shippensburg Road (now the Davidsburg Road). During colonial times this was a well-known route of travel from York to the Cumberland Valley. Its importance later grew as a wagon trail for farm products being carried from York County to the Baltimore area for sale. Some of the early enterprises of importance in Davidsburg were a harness-making business, the sale of farm implements, a cigar factory, general merchandising businesses, and a village hotel.
Admire is a small village in the southwestern part of the Township a few miles south of Davidsburg. It was originally called Slabtown; then Newport, and for a brief period of time it was known as Voltaire before receiving its present name of Admire. A store and a post office existed there around the turn of the twentieth century.
Mount Royal was a cluster of houses in the northern part of the Township along the road from Dover to Rossville, a village in Warrington Township. A store and a post office had existed there for many years. Both of these were under the direction of a Robert Kunkle around the turn of the twentieth century.
When it received its name in 1825, the village of Weigelstown was a small hamlet of about half a dozen houses near the southern boundary of the township. Its name is believed to be derived from two of its early settlers named Weigel; one of whom was a blacksmith, while the other was a tavern keeper. The village grew from six houses in 1825 to over 200 people by the turn of the century. Several of the early village structures still stand today.
Regional Setting. Dover Township, located in the northwestern part of York County, is about three miles from the city of York. The cities of Carlisle and Harrisburg are both approximately the same distance (26 miles) from the Township. Harrisburg is directly north of the Township while Carlisle lies to the northwest.
Several highways are readily accessible to the residents of the Township to provide access to the major cities of the region. U.S. Route 15 and U.S. Route 30 provide access to cities such as Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and points east. Interstate 83 provides access to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., to the south and Harrisburg, Philadelphia, New York, and other cities to the north via the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Pennsylvania Route 74 (Carlisle Road) which traverses the Township from northwest to southeast, provides connections between Carlisle and the City of York.
Because of the extensive area of the Township, 40.59 square miles, it can be stated that the predominate character of development in the Township is rural. As can be seen from general observation, there are acres of farmlands and forests within the Township's boundaries. Although this may be the predominate land use in the Township, it cannot be said to be the most influential. There is a definite trend toward suburbanization within the Township as evidenced by the many subdivisions and commercial activity taking place in the southeastern part of the township, especially along Route 74. It is evident that this emerging pattern of residential and commercial uses will have an important effect upon the overall development of the Township. Therefore, as the region and the greater York area develop and grow, the effects of this development and growth will be felt in Dover Township. There is an effort to preserve "important farmland" since it has been plotted and described.
With a large portion of the Township's 40.59 square miles served by public water and sanitary sewer, Dover Township is a developing community balancing its growth with preservation of its natural resources. Approved residential plans provide for an additional 2,000+ homes in the near future.
The Code contains four parts which are (1) the valid current ordinances of the Township of Dover contained in Chapters 1 through 27, (2) the Appendix, which lists by abstracted title all ordinances of a temporary or "one time" nature, (3) the Key to the disposition of each ordinance ever enacted by the Township of Dover, and (4) the Index, which is an alphabetical arrangement of subjects.
In the Code each Chapter is separated by a divider tab, and specific ordinances can be located by subject on the contents page at the beginning of each Chapter. The Index may also be used to search for a subject when one is looking for general information on a particular subject, or if it is not known in which Chapter the subject might be found. The Appendix consists of several general categories containing a chronological listing of short subject descriptions along with a reference to the original ordinance and its date of enactment, if known.
The Key to disposition indicates what action has been taken by the Township of Dover Board of Supervisors with regard to every ordinance ever enacted. An ordinance has either been (1) specifically repealed, (2) superseded by another ordinance, (3) is located in a Chapter of the Code book, or (4) is located in the Appendix. Annual tax rate and budget ordinances are located only in the Key. The Key is a cross reference to the original ordinance books of the Township of Dover, and to the location within the Code of each ordinance by number.