North Lebanon Township is located in the central section of Lebanon County. The Native Americans, known as the Leni Lenape, or Delawares, actually held title to all the land within the limits of Lebanon County until 1732. A number of the names are still recognizable in our township. Quitapahilla is corrupted from Quitpehelle or Cuwitpehelle, which signifies “a spring that flows from the ground among pines”. Tulpehocken, corrupted form Tulpewi-hacki, means “the land of turtles”.
During the period between 1755 and 1783, Native American attacks were widespread and the settlers of North Lebanon Township gathered their families at locations such as the Moravian Church at Hebron. A 1756 skirmish in the Weavertown-Kimmerlings area resulted in the death of 2 Native Americans that are buried in the Moravian Cemetery at Hebron. Light’s Fort, located at 11th and Maple Streets, at one time was well within North Lebanon Township’s boundaries and is now an official Pennsylvania Historical Landmark. It is believed that, at one time, sixty families took refuge here from the attacks.
In 1766 the Pennsylvania Dutch settlers that came to our area wrote that the waters are full of fish, the forests full of game, the mountains full of minerals, and the air is pure and healthy. The German immigrants migrating from Philadelphia were capable of locating the most productive lands and often chose the fertile lands that the English had passed over. They almost always followed the creeks and streams and recognized that healthy stands of Walnut trees were a good sign of fertility of the soil. They sought out the limestone soil realizing the value of the stone for building as well as lime for fertilizer.
North Lebanon Township was created by an act of the General Assembly as of March 18, 1840, which separated the two election districts of North Lebanon Township, north and south. After that followed a number of divisions of property, and ultimately Cleona Borough and West Lebanon were created from what started as North Lebanon Township. The township is approximately 7.5 miles E. to W. and 3.5 miles N. to S. comprised of rolling hills and some level areas. The carbonate geology found in the township includes limestone and dolomite formations, which may be found in conjunction with sandstones, shales, and/or other inclusions. North Lebanon Township is home to the oldest Tunnel in the United States, The Union Canal Tunnel. Dug in 1825 through 729 feet of solid rock at the cost of $30,000, it was an engineering marvel. The tunnel operated from 1827 to 1885 when the canal company was forced out of business due to the lowering of the water table, costly repairs, and growing competition from the railroads. Many of the canal locks are found throughout the township. North Lebanon Township is comprised of many small areas with names rich in history.
North Lebanon Township is home to many churches. The Kimmerlings Church dates back to at least 1745, when Jacob Kimmerling presented a tankard to be used for communion services. The church was first known as the Quitapahilla. Kochenderfer’s Church, known in 1874 as the “Little White Church” was built at a cost of $2,300. There were 40 members and ALL services were in German. This church has since grown dramatically and completed expansion in 2004.
In the late 1800’s, the Ebenezer area included 5 log homes, which are all covered with clapboard making their identification difficult. In 1918, the Ebenezer area consisted of 34 houses, in 1976 the homes numbered 188, and the numbers have increased rapidly after that point in time. The Ebenezer area is home to Lion’s Lake Park, as well as the Ebenezer Dam, a recreational area that offers something for everyone.
The Sand Hill area has little information on the formative years, however, Solomon Weber, born in 1840, lived on Sandhill Road and was the only known Civil War Veteran in the township. He fought at Gettysburg where his name can be seen on a monument at the battlefield. The surrounding areas were all farmland. Today, farms are fewer and we have the area known as the “Smutzie”, once a “Tailing Pond” for Bethlehem Steel, a game preserve for Cleaver Brooks, and is now privately owned and well represented by flora and fauna. Sand Hill was once referred to as Mount Airy, but the presence of 14 sand quarries, changed that name.
The Heilmandale area has little data in the early years. The opening of the Lebanon and Pinegrove Railroad on March 7, 1870 led to numerous changes in this area. This changed the center of business and social life and that had normally gone west, to the East. The railroad company established a station known as Heilman Dale and afterward opened telegraph and express offices and a post office. This was followed by a grain warehouse, coal yard, gristmill and creamery. This contributed to a new life and business that was very appreciated because the old waterway, the Union Canal was about to be abandoned.
The village of Reinoehlsville was built by Judge Reinoehl in the late 1800’s. It was the area near 7th Street that originally contained 8 double homes. Later, a bakery shop, more homes, a church, a store, and a schoolhouse were built in the area. The school was torn down and rebuilt and is now the home of the Rural Security Fire Company. In the early days, the area was surrounded by several dams: Light’s Dam (now called Ebenezer Lake), Stover’s Dam, Forney’s Dam, Grosse’s Dam, and the New Lebanon Brewery Dam. Some fed into the canal and others provided ice for the summers.
The town of Eustontown changed its name to Sunset around 1919. There was a contest to change the name. The Sunset Market was started in 1924, and later was replaced by Bargaintown USA. History repeats itself and now it is Sunset Market again. The sunset area is a largely developed area that is comprised of “tree” named streets.
North Lebanon Township is home to 4 different volunteer fire companies, Ebenezer, incorporated in 1946, Glenn Lebanon, formed in 1950, Weavertown, organized in 1939, and Rural Security, formed in 1955. They continue to provide the highest-level volunteer service to our growing population.
In the early 1800’s the Pennsylvania German settlers in Lebanon began making a sausage like food known today as Lebanon Bologna. Weaver’s was the FIRST bologna manufactured. The business was founded in 1885 and in 1893 he moved to Weavertown, where the plant is located today.
According to the Pennsylvania school report of 1850, there were 10 schoolhouses in North Lebanon Township. Bussing of the children began in the 1920’s when children form the western parts of the township were transported to the 4-room schoolhouse in Cleona. By 1954, 1-room schoolhouses were no longer used and all North Lebanon Township children attended the Ebenezer Elementary School. Today we have 2 public elementary schools and 3 private schools that are located in North Lebanon Township.
WELCOME TO OUR COMMUNITY, NORTH LEBANON TOWNSHIP, AND ENJOY!