History of West Cornwall Township
West Cornwall was once a part of Lancaster County. Our Township is made up of several unique areas, one of which is the small Village of Quentin. In the early part of the 19th Century a group of settlers migrated to the southern part of Lebanon County to be near the Cornwall ore mines. They formed a little hamlet and named it Independence.
In 1855 one of the residents purchased property in Independence and established Eby’s Hotel and Eby’s General Store. (This hotel still stands today having thought to be built in 1790.) Because of the importance of this area, it took on the name of Eby’s Corner. In 1860 ceremonies were held in the Town “church-School-Band Hall” and the commits was give the name Bismarck. During World War I the name Bismarck became unpopular with the residents and a special town meeting was called. In 1920 the residents again changed the name to Quentin to honor Quentin Roosevelt. A plaque explaining this action can be found on the Unite Church of Christ front lawn.
In the southwestern part of the Township another community was beginning to develop. This community’s named Mt. Gretna by the Cornwall and Lebanon Railroad Committee. It was originally know as Dick’s Hill (Governor Dick). This name came from a negro slave who resided and worked in the Mt. Gretna Heights area as a charcoal burner. He was employed by Grubbs Furnace in Cornwall. He gathered wood and burned it into charcoal to be used in Cornwall. He was also known to be an excellent stone mason. In 1884 Mt. Gretna Park was established in the area of the Mt. Gretna Station of the Cornwall & Lebanon Railroad. On July 4, 1885 the first encampment of the Pennsylvania National Guard arrived in Mt. Gretna.
This area was used as an Encampment of the 28th Division of the Pennsylvania National Guard. The area was used for this purpose for fifty years. On August 7, 1892 the first camp meeting services were held by the United Brethren Church. Summer cottages began to appear in this area. In 1923 Mt. Gretna Heights received its charter. Today there are around 60 homes that make up this section of Mt. Gretna know as The Heights. Although The Heights is located in West Cornwall Township they also have their own Heights Association to whom an assessment is paid annually.
Another section of Mt. Gretna is know as the Mt. Gretna Camp Meeting. This area was leased from Robet Coleman to the United Brethren Church for the August 1892 camp meeting. It was not until January 14, 1898 that thirty acres and forty perches were sold outright, reserving mineral right for $907.50. In 1899 a large circular, open auditorium was built by Mr. Cilly. This auditorium still stand in the camp meeting and is used today for outdoor services during the summer months. This building is of unique, but sound, design and is known as the Tabernacle.
The camp meeting area has its own association which collects annual assessments for the upkeep and maintenance of the privately owned grounds. This once “summer cottage” area has had few physical changes over the years and is basically unchanged. Many residents have remodeled and turned the summer cottages into a year-round residence. Today the majority of the 240 homes in the camp meeting are winterized. The Mt. Gretna Camp Meeting Association does have its own “Digest of rules and regulations” which may be obtained by contacting the association.
Another section of Mt. Gretna located in West Cornwall Township is Stoberdale. Stoberdale consists of 22 homes they do not have their own association.
Today, along with the sections of Quentin and Mt. Gretna, West Cornwall invites a privately owned community called Gretna Springs which is located in the southern part of the Township near Lancaster County line. Gretna Springs Community consists of approximately 200 homes. Along with much farmland, the Township also includes Cabin Point, Northwood Estates, Old Mine Road and a section of Arnold Court.