Manheim Township was established as one of Lancaster County’s ﬁrst Townships in 1729. In the early days, Pennsylvania Townships served only as convenient tax assessment units with no elected ofﬁcials. However, this changed in 1834 with the ﬁrst generation of laws establishing municipal governments and their electoral and leadership structure and duties.
Manheim Township was established initially as a Second Class Township and remained so from 1834 to 1952. In 1952, the community voted to elevate Manheim Township to a Township of the First Class as classiﬁed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Township is and remains the only First Class Township in Lancaster County.
Listen to an overview of Manheim Township’s history from our President Benton Webber here.
General Location & Geography
The Township is located in central Lancaster County and occupies approximately 22.6 square miles and is roughly 7.5 miles wide and 3.2 miles long. The Township is situated immediately north of the City of Lancaster, which serves as the County seat of government. The Township’s east and west boundaries are generally determined by natural features, the Conestoga River and Little Conestoga Creek respectfully, Whereas the northern and southern boundaries are man-made lines.
Manheim Township has had a long history of population growth. The earliest US census figures reveal a total population of 780 residents in Manheim Township in the year 1790 (the ñrst US Census). The Township has grown continuously in the year 1790 (the first US Census). The Township has grown continuously in each following census. Prior to 1980, Manheim Township’s growth had outpaced the majority of municipalities in Lancaster County. The historic population growth trends of the Township provide some insight to the anticipated growth of the future. Although the Township population continues to increase, the period from 1990 to 2000 experienced an increase in population change over the decade of 16.68% from 28,880.
For over 200 years since its establishment, Manheim Township would have been described as a small and tranquil farming community. The Township’s topography and proximity to suitable farm land and transportation helped to stimulate a stable rural economy at the edge of the City of Lancaster. However, the Township historically has been host to schools and Various businesses that defined the community.
The character of the community has changed gradually over the last five or six decades from its original rural farming community to a more rapidly growing suburban “bedroom” community. The Township still hosts rural lands in its northeast quadrant. And has remained an attractive place to live and conduct business that is most accessible to may community centers in the region.