Township of Hopewell
Hopewell Township is a First Class Township with a population of 12,593, encompassing an area of 17.2 square miles. Hopewell is situated along the southeast boundary of Beaver County, bordering the northwestern tip of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania. Hopewell Township has seven borders. It encloses the city of Aliquippa on three sides and the borough of South Heights to the southeast. Where not shared with these two communities, the eastern border of the township follows the Ohio River. Other borders include the townships of Independence to the southwest, Raccoon in the northwestern corner, Center to the north and northwest, and the Allegheny County townships of Crescent and Moon in the southeast.
Notable People Associated with Hopewell Township
- Tony Dorsett, a former American football running back who played professionally in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos, attended Hopewell High School, where he played football and basketball.
- Paul Posluszny, currently playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, was a standout running back and linebacker at Hopewell, before attending Pennsylvania State University. Before playing for the Jaguars, he played for the Buffalo Bills.
- Christa Harmotto, a U.S. Olympic volleyball player, attended Hopewell High School before leading the women’s volleyball team to win the 2004 state championship. In the Olympics, she took home a silver in 2012 and a bronze in 2016.
Hopewell, PA History
In the 1700s, the area became an important center for the fur trade and military activity related to the Revolutionary War. John Gibson is said to be the first settler in the Hopewell Township in 1771. The nearby Ohio River became a principal avenue of the Gateway to the West which attracted pioneers to the area. Lumber, farming wheat, and corn along with mills for grinding grain and sawing were the center of the township's activities. For political purposes, six townships were formed, with three on the South Side, namely, First Moon, Second Moon, and Hanover. It was not until 1812 that Hopewell Township, originally part of First Moon, came into being.
As Hopewell’s population increased, enterprising men were soon providing goods and services for the early settlers which made work less laborious and life a bit more comfortable including a: sickle shop, grist and saw mills, a tannery and sickle factory, and carding mills to relieve the women of the tedious task of making home-spun cloth. In 1878, a steam mill was built which became the first flour mill operated on a wide-scale commercial basis and served the surrounding farming community for over 70 years. As people gravitated to the mills, villages grew up around them, and new services were provided such as: a village shoemaker, blacksmith, cabinet maker, harness maker, wagon maker, tailor and hatter, a tavern, inn, and distillery, a railroad station, and ferry service.
In 1884, William C. Kelley bore a gas well at Raccoon Creek on John Zimmerly’s farm near New Sheffield. The Phoenix Glass Company of Monaca obtained leases on much of this land to use the gas as an industrial fuel. As gas wells became scattered throughout the township, the veneer of civilization began to show as candles and oil lamps gave way to gas illumination. At the turn of the century, the Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation of Pittsburgh was compelled to find room for expansion in the area which became overcome by industrial activity and an increase in residents.
The central theme of Pennsylvania history is how a commonwealth of yeoman farmers became a commonwealth of industrialists, city dwellers, and labor unions. The development of Beaver County and Hopewell Township exemplifies this central theme of the State. Its evolutionary growth was from agriculturism to industrialism, from ruralism to urbanism, from simplicity to complexity.
You can find out more details about Hopewell Township’s history at: https://pa-hopewelltownship.civicplus.com/187/History