Culture

THIS PLACE MATTERS: 2021 DISCOVER HANOVER® MAGAZINE FEATURE

Front entrance of the long-closed Hanover Theatre
Published on
May 6, 2024
Photo by Dan Sell Photography
Photo by Dan Sell Photography

Hanover has officially entered its renaissance, with several landmark buildings downtown under complete restoration, and more on the way. Follow along as we highlight the major changes happening now, plans for the future, and those who are working to keep the momentum going.

Photo from @StateHanoverTheater Facebook Page
Photo from @StateHanoverTheater Facebook Page

39 Frederick Street
The State Theater

First on our list is the State Theater. The theater began operating in 1928 and ran for nearly 60 years before closing in 1986. After its closure, the property went through many uses, first a proposed antique mall, then a warehouse, until it was finally sold in 2007 to a holding company. The holding company planned to maintain the theater until a preservation organization could raise funds to restore it. Instead, the theater sat vacant for over three decades, until now.

The same trio to partner on the renovation of the former McAllister Hotel (mentioned on pg. 32) will again come together to renovate a landmark building in Downtown Hanover. Handsome Cab owners Robert Godfrey and Andrew D'Agenais and McAllister Lofts owner Jordan Ilyes plan to reimagine the theater as a non-profit, multi-use entertainment space.

According to the building’s website, the State Theater was designed by William Harold Lee, whose portfolio includes 80 theaters, most of which were located in the Philadelphia area. Today, only 16 are still standing. The interior decorator—Arthur Brounet—often collaborated with Thomas Lamb, the most prolific theater architect of his day. Today there are only two complete Brounet theaters still in existence: Hanover’s State Theater and the Byrd Theatre in Richmond, VA.

At one time the only theater in Hanover, this beloved property holds a special place in many residents’ hearts. Soon, the space will once again welcome the community through its doors, perhaps for a prom, cabaret night, or business conference.

While this project likely will not come to fruition until 2022-2023, much will be happening behind-the-scenes while the new owners fundraise for renovations. To follow along, please visit @StateTheaterHanover on Facebook.

Rendering by Integrated Development Partners, LLC
Rendering by Integrated Development Partners, LLC

34 Frederick Street
Former Montgomery Ward

Just across the street from the State Theater sits the former Montgomery Ward building. Another 1920s era structure (1929 to be exact), the Montgomery Ward has also sat empty for decades.

Things took a turn for the better in 2018 when the property received a $1.4 million redevelopment grant, secured through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.  

Shortly after this announcement, Integrated Development Partners, LLC (IDP) of Wormleysburg, Pennsylvania announced they would be working with the property owner in redeveloping the property to include 3,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial space on the first floor and 16 luxury, loft-style apartments on the second floor. Project plans also include alfresco dining and a pedestrian space in the alley adjacent to the building.

The Montgomery Ward project, which has already started, will complete the residential portion of the building this summer. Completion of the mixed-use commercial space is to be determined.

Photo by The Evening Sun

11 York Street
McAllister Lofts/Ikigai Coffee/McAllister’s on York

Pass through the square and you’ll find what was once the Hotel Richard McAllister is now the McAllister Lofts!

This 1920’s building was first a hotel with roughly 70 rooms before being turned into a retirement home after World War II. In the 1990’s, the building was renovated into 34 low-income apartments until 2018 when the building was purchased by the Redevelopment Authority of York County.

A year later, the building was sold to Jordan Ilyes, a local developer.

Photo by Addie Aguirre Photo for Ikigai Coffee

Ilyes completely renovated the building into luxury, modern, energy-efficient apartments while still maintaining many elements original to the building (tile floors, marble steps, iron railings, etc.). Each of the 30 apartments has craftsman-style finishes, brand new kitchens and baths, triple pane windows with sound-buffering glass, and acid-etched concrete flooring.

Another interesting element to note: the basement of the hotel was converted into an underground parking garage, which is the first of its kind in Hanover! The garage is for renters only; however, we recommend taking a quick peek inside from the alley behind the garage to see the beautiful mural painted on the interior wall.

Underneath the apartments, you’ll find Ikigai Coffee, an eclectic coffee and tea shop. Much like the housing above, the style of Ikigai is clean, industrial, and welcoming. Since their opening day last summer, Ikigai has been welcomed to the Hanover community with open arms, and they already have their fair share of “regulars” who pop in daily.

Sharing a space with Ikigai Coffee and the McAllister Lofts will be McAllister's on York, an upscale restaurant featuring Hanover’s first rooftop bar! McAllister’s on York will be the second restaurant for co-owners Robert Godfrey and Andrew D’Agenais, who also own The Handsome Cab in York.

The restaurant will serve American cuisine in a modern, art deco atmosphere. It will seat 80 to 100 people, in addition to the partially enclosed rooftop area on the second floor.

McAllister's on York was one of two businesses in Hanover to receive an economic development liquor license in 2020 (the second is mentioned below). Why is this important? York County can only give two of these per year, and in 2020, both went to Hanover businesses! Our town is certainly making great strides towards progress, and people are noticing.

40 Broadway

Oakwood Kitchen/Fat Bat Brewing Company

A stone's throw away from the McAllister Lofts, Hanover’s latest redevelopment project is taking place at 40 Broadway. What once housed the Sandy Woods, a beloved furniture store, will soon be an upscale casual restaurant called Oakwood Kitchen.

As mentioned previously, Oakwood Kitchen was the second recipient for the county’s only two economic development liquor licenses in 2020.

Oakwood Kitchen will be operated by the group behind Artisans & Oak, a wood-fired pizza restaurant located in the Markets at Hanover. An opening date has yet to be released.

Hanover will be welcoming its latest brewery, Fat Bat Brewing Company, in the rear portion of the building. Located directly next to the alley entrance of Something Wicked Brewing Company and just around the corner from Miscreation Brewing Company, Fat Bat joins Hanover's beer scene in a neighborly way.

Fat Bat Brewing Company is scheduled to tentatively open this spring. In the meantime, Bank Lane might need to be renamed to Brewer’s Lane, and we like the sound of that!

Rendering by Simone Collins for the Hanover Borough
Rendering by Simone Collins for the Hanover Borough

Streetscape Plan

In addition to several large redevelopment projects, Hanover is also undergoing a streetscape beautification plan. The plan began with several community meetings in 2018 and has since sparked several smaller projects such as new trash cans, benches, and lighting downtown.

According to Simone Collins Landscape Architecture, a planning and design firm based in Norristown, Pennsylvania, the primary goal of the streetscape plan is to “provide a safe, functional, aesthetically pleasing, environmentally-sustainable, multimodal streetscape that includes pedestrian spaces and walkways to accommodate people of all ages and physical abilities.”

Larger aspects of the plan, like new traffic patterns, pedestrian spaces, and decorative landscaping elements have yet to happen due to a lack of funding, as an engineering study must take place prior to these changes.

Main Street Hanover

All of these projects have been assisted in some way by Main Street Hanover, a non-profit dedicated to the revitalization of downtown Hanover.

Main Street Hanover launched in January 2013 as a collaborative effort between the Hanover Borough, Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce, Partnership for Economic Development of York County, and York County Economic Alliance. Following the Main Street Four Point Approach© of Organization, Design, Economic Restructuring and Promotion, the Hanover community has embraced the revitalization movement wholeheartedly.

The mission of Main Street Hanover is to expand the economic capacity of downtown Hanover, thus improving the business environment, enhancing the quality of place, and increasing community synergy.

Want to help more redevelopment projects happen in downtown Hanover? Support Main Street Hanover’s mission by attending one of their events, participating in their many fundraisers, or simply donating to the organization! For more information, visit www.mainstreethanover.org or contact Justine Trucksess, Executive Director, at jtrucksess@mainstreethanover.org.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to common questions about dietary options, reservation policies, and hours of operation.

What are the top attractions to visit in Hanover?

Visitors often inquire about the Hanover Historic District, which is known for its over 2600 mid-19th to mid-20th-century buildings.

Are there guided tours available in Hanover?

In Hanover, Pennsylvania, history enthusiasts can enjoy a journey through time with visits to the Hanover Area Historical Society Museum, which showcases the town’s rich past; the Warehime-Myers Mansion, a beautifully preserved example of early 20th-century architecture; and the Neas House, one of the oldest surviving structures in Hanover, offering a glimpse into the life of the 18th-century Pennsylvania German settlers. These historical landmarks provide a captivating window into Hanover’s heritage and are a must-visit for those looking to experience the town’s historical charm.

Can visitors engage in any unique local activities?

In addition to Codorus State Park and Hickory Falls, Hanover is also known for the Snack Town Street Fair, a vibrant festival celebrating the town’s snack food heritage with craft vendors, food, and entertainment, created in partnership between the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce and Utz Brands

What historical experiences can one have in Hanover?

Hanover provides a rich historical experience with tours like the Civil War Ghosts of Gettysburg Tour and the Spirits of Jennie Wade Ghost Night Tour in nearby Gettysburg.

What is Hanover known for?

Hanover, Pennsylvania, is renowned as the Snack Food Capital of the World, home to iconic brands like Utz Quality Foods and Snyder’s of Hanover, which are part of the Campbell Snacks portfolio.                              

Where can I grab a drink?

Dolphin & Anchor Pub: Located in the heart of Hanover, they offer traditional beer styles with a twist.

Sign of the Horse Brewery: A contemporary brewery catering to craft brew enthusiasts with a range of house taps.

Fat Bat Brewing Company: A local brewery started by a beer-loving brother and sister team, known for their craft beer selections.

Iron Lion: A place where you can enjoy a selection of craft beers in a market setting1.

Where can I get a map of Hanover?

The Borough office at 44 Frederick St, Hanover has everything you will need to find your way around Hanover.