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The history of Hopewell Township has been characterized more over the years by loss of territory than by any other factor, except for a 30 year period from 1945-1975, when the community exhibited an extraordinary increase in population. Hopewell was formed in 1812 when the three odd-shaped townships on the county's south side were reorganized into four , more rectangular areas. Prior to that year, the area was mostly in the former First Moon Township, and a small part (west of Raccoon Creek) was in Second Moon Township. According to Bausman, Hopewell got its name from an early Presbyterian congregation whose first church was located near the southeastern border of the township. The church was later moved to Allegheny County where the cemetery can still be seen, near the County line.

Hopewell's first polling place, Independence Village, was lost when Independence Township was formed in 1848, reducing Hopewell by half. An effort to create Logstown Township along the Ohio River was unsuccessful, but eventually, the the riverside villages incorporated and separated from the Township: Aliquippa in 1894, Woodlawn in 1908, and Shannopin (now South Heights) in 1909. In 1926, Woodlawn (now Aliquippa) annexed New Sheffield Village from Hopewell Township, doubling the size of the borough but significantly reducing the township's population. In the following years, the township grew slowly, primarily around the fringes of the borough. Davidson Heights, Woodlawn Park, and the part of New Sheffield outside the borough developed during this period. After the Second World War, when the automobile made it possible to live a little farther from one's place of employment, vast numbers of young families moved from the borough to the township. New housing developments appeared every year as more people chose suburban lifestyles.

Except for an oil boom in the 1880's, Hopewell's industry long centered on farming and milling. In the lmiddle of the century, however, more diversified industry located in the township including the manufacturing of modular homes, concrete products, and, for a short time, airplanes. Today, the township's rapid growth has leveled off, but Hopewell continues to be one of the largest communities in the county. Independence and Raccoon Townships were combined into the Hopewell Area School District. In addition to ample shopping facilities, an industrial park, renovated schools, and easy access to large highways and the new Pittsburgh International Airport, this community, largely rural two generations ago, now provides a full range of urban services for its citizens.