The Historical Society of Salisbury Township was organized June 15, 2000 as an outgrowth of a committee which gathered information for the writing and publication of The History of Salisbury Township. The society is dedicated to the principle that the knowledge and preservation of the township's rich history will help ensure a rich future.
The earliest history of Salisbury Township begins with a mammoth molar found in White Horse and the footprints of a small dinosaur found in a rock at Spring Garden.
Native Americans had camped by the Pequea Creek and its abundant runs since ancient times. Two of their main trails became Routes 340 and 741.
William Penn's visit to the Gap-in-the hills on his way to Conestoga in 1701 opened not only what was to be Lancaster County and Salisbury Township but Upper Gap, particularly, as Penn kept those two hundred acres for himself.
The creation of Salisbury Township in 1729 empowered it to grow. Families of various religious and political persuasions came primarily to farm, but seized new opportunities as industry and commerce emerged to suit the needs of the citizens.
Three of the early families seeking religious freedom settled in the fertile township resting on limestone plates filled with deep wells and a network of streams. Robert Gault settled in the northern part of the township in 1710. His sons, William and James had Robert Haines build a mill in 1734, known today as Yelk's Mill on Koser Road. It remains as the oldest standing mill in Salisbury Township. Some of the Gaults were part of the congregation that formed Pequea Presbyterian Church in 1724. In 1726 Francis Jones built a tavern, which he ran with his wife Jane. The southern part of that tavern, which was to become the Upper Gap Hotel, is the oldest standing building in Salisbury Township. The first Amish, Dr, Hans and Magdelena Blank, purchased land just north of Cains in 1767.
The completion of the Philadelphia-Lancaster Turnpike in 1794 sparked the building of the Rising Sun Tavern (1792) in Gap and the Mount Vernon Inn (1794) about a quarter mile east of the top of the Gap Hill. Both became as well known as the White Horse Inn (1740) on Route 340.
The Gap, once a point of convergence for travelers, became a religious center with the building of the Bellevue Presbyterian Church in 1823, and the Gap Methodist Church in 1876. It developed into a commercial center with the coming of the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad in 1834.
Schools and Post Offices gave each village an identity. Today, because of the centralization of those institutions, the old identities need to be taught and valued. It is our task to teach what and who Salisbury Township was through the facts, stories and artifacts that have come down from each family and each piece of land. The Historical Society of Salisbury Township counts it a privilege to shoulder this task.