A Brief History Of Colerain Township
Based on information gathered from the History of Southern Lancaster County, compiled by the Solanco Heritage Volunteers, and from Our Present Past, prepared by the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County, Colerain Township was organized as a township in 1738. It was settled mainly by the Irish. Colerain township covered 19,479 acres and was named after a seaport town in the county of Londonder, Ireland. Records show that Presbyterian Scots and Scotch-Irish also moved into Colerain Township very early in the settlement.
It is said that early settlers in Colerain, found it proper to transfer the beloved old-world name of "Coleraine" to their new home as a reminder that even though they were removed from Ireland, they were still Irishmen. Somehow, though, the "e" was dropped and it became Colerain.
Union was the principal village in the township and believed to be the oldest. The first house in Union was built in 1824.
The Union Church was organized by the Presbytery of New Castle in 1816, the Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1828, the Colerain Baptist Church in 1843.
The post office in Kirkwood was established in 1856.
The White Rock Covered Bridge, on the west branch of the Octoraro, was built in 1847 and rebuilt in 1884. White Rock Bridge is located between Little Britain and Colerain Townships.
According to the History of Southern Lancaster County, in 1834, Colerain Township built seven schools: Hope, Mount Eden, Harmony, Rosedale, Pleasant Grove, New Salem and White Plain. All were rebuilt in1873 and 1883. Union and Andrews Bridge built new schools in 1873. In 1899, a school was built in Kirkwood.
On Amish Parochial Schools, in 1948. Southern End Amish purchased Brick School, an abandoned public school, and began the local parochial school system in Colerain. The school was located just off Noble Road. Next came Salem School, it was also an abandoned public school. The first school built by the Amish was opened in 1958 along Maple Shade Road. By 1989, there were 32 Amish Schools in the Solanco System with plans being made to have at least three more built.
Violet Groff, an "English" neighbor began teaching at Brick School from 1948 to 1956 and Mary Thompson (Mrs. Paul) taught at Salem School for 17 years, resigning in 1969, to become the Colerain Township Tax Collector.
It is reported that the Amish first came to Colerain Township in 1935 and make up about 33.1% of the total township population per a report in the History of Southern Lancaster County. According to research, Isaac and Mary Zook and their nine children, moved from Skelp Level to a 265 acre farm near Kirkwood. They are said to be the first Amish family to arrive in Kirkwood.