History

Condensed from that published by the East Berlin Historical Preservation Society. www.ebhpspa.org

Historical places for EB Banners 004John Frankenberger, a Prussian, purchased two hundred acres of Land from Thomas and Richard Penn, for which he paid 28 pounds, 16 shillings and 7 pence. On May 8th, 1764 He laid out a town with 85 lots, one main street, 4 cross streets and five alleys. He named the new town Berlin, after his native town in Prussia. East was added to the name in 1827 when the town post office was established to distinguish it from another Berlin in Somerset Count, PA to the west of Adams County.

The lots in the original offering of the new town cost 2 pounds 15 shillings each. The new owner had to erect a dwelling in two years or forfeit the lot to the original owner. The major interest in the new town changed hands several times in the late 1700’s. Eventually, in 1794 it was purchased by John Hildebrand, Sr. Mr. Hildebrand laid out 100 more lots on the north side of the town. The 1797 American Gazetteer notes that Berlin, then in York County, PA, had 100 houses.

In 1800 York County was subdivided. The new county was named for the then president of the United States, John Adams. Adams County was organized on January 22nd, 1800 and it included Berlin.

Historical places for EB Banners 002During 1879 the people of East Berlin petitioned to have the town incorporated as a borough. This was achieved on November 10th, 1879. The first election in the new borough was held on February 17th, 1880. Elected were a Burgess, Town Council, School directors, Assessor, Judge, Inspectors, Justice of the Peace, Auditor and Constable. East Berlin had 243 taxpayers, 72 horses, 33 cows, 63 pleasure carriages, 9 gold watches and 14 acres of timber.

The population growth of our town has been steady, if not spectacular. The 1820 population was 418 with today’s population at approximately 1,500.

One of our more notable residents was David Studebaker, who moved to Berlin from nearby Paradise Township, in York County in 1790. This is the same family later famous for producing the Studebaker automobiles. While living here Studebaker manufactured spokes for buggy and wagon wheels. His home still exists and has been restored.

Some of the major community development milestones in East Berlin history are:

    Our first fire engine was purchased in 1892. An engine house was built the same year.
    Our town water system was begun in 1898 and has been improved and modernized several times since then.
    Telephone lines were installed in 1912 and an exchange was located here, also.
    An electric light company was organized in conjunction with Abbotstown and the installation completed by 1921.
    Natural gas pipelines were installed beginning in 1933 by the then Gettysburg Gas Company.
    Our sanitary sewer system and treatment plant was constructed in 1957.

Historical places for EB Banners 001
The pleasant community of East Berlin has grown over the years and is still growing. Our area is a magnet for families because of the countryside, our modern town and our access to many amenities. East Berlin retains its Central Pennsylvania colonial charm because of the efforts and pride of our property owners. Our town is well maintained and many of the original homes have been lovingly restored.

For more information and a detailed history of East Berlin please contact the East Berlin Historical Preservation Society.

 

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