Township History

Township of East Cocalico

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania


East Cocalico Township is one of the northeastern townships of Lancaster County. It was divided from Cocalico Township in 1838. Irregularly shaped, the Township has a length of approximately 5.5 miles and an average width of 3.5 miles. The Township is named for the Cocalico Creek and the Indian Village present here when the first European settlers arrived. The name Cocalico is believed to have originated from "koch hale kung", Delware Indian words meaning "den of serpents", apparently referring to the abundance of snakes near the creek at that time.

In 1723 or 1724, Johann Eberhard Ream (sometimes spelled Riehm) settled his family near the spring located to the rear of what is now 31 S. Reamstown Road in Reamstown. The Reams came from Leiman, Germany in 1717. Eberhard Ream was granted a patent for 389 acres in 1736 from the William Penn family.

In 1759, Eberhard Ream and his wife, Anna Schwab Ream, divided their land among the sons. The 54 acres given to one son, Tobias, were laid out into building lots, which were sold on the ground rent plan. He named the community Zoar (sometimes spelled Zohar). By 1772 the name had been changed to Reamstown.

In the mid 1700's, the road from Lancaster to Reading passing through Reamstown was known as "the Kings Highway". A stagecoach route was created and, since Reamstown was nearly midway between these two larger communities, a number of hotels thrived.

A second early road was laid out from Churchtown to Schaefferstown, Reamstown at the intersection of these two main roads, became a natural site for the seat of government for Cocalico Township which, until 1838 included what became the present boroughs of Adamstown, Akron, Denver, and Ephrata and the present Townships of East and West Cocalico, Ephrata, and part of Clay Township.

The combination of mountains, abundant water, and limestone soils were of prime importance in the early development of the Township. Early settlers, with agrarian interests, found the Township well suited to the development of their farms. These farms have been tilled continuously and with coordinated preservation with the county, these farms will hopefully continue to operate profitably indefinitely.

Small villages, which remain today, were created at important crossroads to the transportation network. Country stores, churches and schools developed throughout the Township. This formed the landscape pattern, which remains today.

East Cocalico Township remains a progressive community with a diverse culture. It preserves an interesting sampling of the old and new with the latest in world technology, as well as century old methods. East Cocalico Township remains an interesting and satisfying place to live, to work, and to be.

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East Cocalico Township, containing 20.4 square miles, is located in the northeastern section of Lancaster County and borders Berks County. It is one of the several areas along the northern border of the county which contains mountain ridges, including the Adamstown Ridge rising to more than one thousand (1,000') feet and containing slopes exceeding twenty-five (25%) percent. Most of the Township contains gently sloping farmland of less than eight (8%) percent slope. Interspersed throughout the Township are small ridges, rising from six hundred to eight hundred feet (600' to 800'). Some of these formations have fairly severe slopes.

Our Township is served by the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Exit 286) in an east-west direction, and Route 222 serving north-south, the two crossing and connecting to the Spur Road connector. About 28½ miles of State Roads and close to 55 miles of Township Roads serve our residents. Added new, yet undedicated, street will eventually bring the total length of Township owned streets and roads to at least 60 miles.

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Regional Location and Setting

East Cocalico Township is strategically situated in the northeast corridor of the United States. Nearly one-fifth of the United States population is accessible for East Cocalico Township within a six-hour drive. East Cocalico Township is in the virtual crossroads of North - South, East - West transportation links within this corridor. Several major cities are within a two or three hour drive of East Cocalico Township - New York City, Baltimore, and Washington. York, Allentown, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia can be reached within an hour and a half's drive. The importance of this strategic location adds to the growth pressure East Cocalico Township and Lancaster County now face.

East Cocalico Township is equidistant between Reading in Berks County and LancasterCity in Lancaster County. Our township relies on employment centers, shopping areas, and leisure-time facilities equally in both cities and counties.

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Government Profile

East Cocalico is a Township of the Second Class, governed by a three-person Board of Supervisors. Supervisors are elected at large for six-year terms. One supervisor is elected every two years for a six-year term.

The Township has a Planning Commission consisting of seven members appointed by the Board of Supervisors, responsible for guiding the Township’s policy on growth and preparation, the direction of the Zoning Ordinance, and the review of subdivisions or land developments submitted to East Cocalico Township.

In addition, the East Cocalico Township Authority, appointed by the Board of Supervisors, is a nine-member Authority responsible for the supply of potable water and the collection and treatment of sewage.

A three-member Zoning Hearing Board, appointed by the Board of Supervisors, interprets provisions of the Zoning Ordinance when necessary and hears appeals from Township residents.

There is a Township Manager and an Authority Manager. The Township retains a Solicitor and Municipal Engineers. The East Cocalico Township Office is located on Hill Road and houses the administrative offices, the East Cocalico Authority offices, and the East Cocalico Township Police Force (the Police provide services not only to East Cocalico Township, but also to residents of Denver Borough).

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Unique Natural Areas

Cocalico Creek Wetlands - These extensive wetlands extend above and below Blue Lake, and include stream sides of many of the small tributaries that drain into the creek. This wetland is the largest single contiguous wetland within Lancaster County, and may contain the state-designated endangered Pennsylvania Bog Turtle in the United States.

Adamstown Marsh - Located along the Little Muddy Creek in Adamstown and East and West Cocalico Townships, this marsh also maintains an excellent population of the endangered Pennsylvania Bog Turtle.

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Sites of Local Significance

Little Cocalico Creek - This creek has an abundance of valuable wetlands along its banks.

Denver Watershed - Located on the north side of Adamstown Ridge, this scenic and important watershed recharge area is a haven for wildlife. It also adjoins the Horseshoe Trail.

Horseshoe Trail - Runs along the Furnace Hills within the region on its 121-mile journey between Valley Forge and its connection with the Appalachian Trail on Stony Mountain in Dauphin County. This trail passes through East and West Cocalico Townships.

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East Cocalico Township's population as of the 2010 census is 10,310.

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From Outside of the Tri-County Area:
Exit 286 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Half a mile off of the exit. Take right at third traffic light (PA Rte 272). Next take a left on to Hill Road. We are at the bottom of the hill, approx. 500 feet off of Rte 272. Police Department is to the rear of the Municipal building.

From Lancaster:
PA Rte 222 NORTH to Pennsylvania Turnpike/Denver/Reamstown Exit. Left at traffic light on the exit ramp. Take right at second traffic light (PA Rte 272). Next left onto Hill Road. We are at the bottom of the hill, approx. 500 feet off of Rte 272. Police Department is to the rear of the Municipal building.

From Reading:
PA Rte 222 SOUTH to RTE 272/568 Junction. Take right at intersection to go onto PA Rte 272. Go straight through 2 traffic lights. Take 2nd right after the light-Hill Rd (right next to Park Place Diner). We are at the bottom of the hill, approx. 500 feet off of Rte 272. Police Department is to the rear of the Municipal building.

From Lebanon:
PA Rte 897 SOUTH to PA Rte 272 (Traffic light at Weaver Markets) Right onto PA Rte 272. Take 2nd right after the light-Hill Rd. (right next to Park Place Diner). We are at the bottom of the hill, approx. 500 feet off of Rte 272. Police Department is to the rear of the Municipal building.

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