In 1838, the Township of Cocalico was divided into East Cocalico Township, West Cocalico Township, and Ephrata Township. the word "COCALICO" was given to their area by native Americans, and roughly translated means "den of snakes".
In 1723, the town of Zoar was founded by Quaker settlers. In 1760, Tobias Ream purchased 400 acres and renamed the area Reamstown.
The area was a thriving cigar center around 1900 with no less than twelve cigar factories located within the township. None of these factories remain today, they have been replaced by tourist industry, manufacturing, warehousing and quarying.
In 1920 the population of East Cocalico Township was 2,223. There has been a steady increase in population since that tume with the 1960 population at 3,791; 1970 at 4,893; 1980 at 6,364; and 1990 at 7,809.
East Cocalico Township is 20.4 square miles in area, with Exit 286 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike located near our geographical center.East Cocalico Township has the greatest concentration of antique dealers in Pennsylvania, and is known throughout the Eastern Coast as "Antique Alley", due to most of these dealers being along the main route.
The East Cocalico Township Police Department was organized in it's current form in the early 1970's. In 1978, the department began providing police service to the Borough of Adamstown under a contract agreement. In 1986, West Cocalico Township also began contracting the department's services, and in 1995 the Borough of Denver came on board. In effect, the department provides police coverage to the entire Cocalico School District. Ther area involved is approximately 50 square miles.
The department's strength is twenty-two full time officers, and two full time civilian employees. The department provides coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The current rank structure is 2 Sergeants, 3 Corporals, 14 Patrolmen, 2 Detectives, and the Chief of Police.
The department currently has one officer assigned to the Lancaster County Drug Task Force. The department also has an Accident Reconstruction officer, a Crime Prevention officer, a Crime Scene/ Evidence Technician, a MCSAP (D.O.T. truck inspection)officer, and a 3 officer Bicycle Patrol Unit.
The covered bridge depicted on the township emblem still exists, and spans the Cocalico Creek just south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike exit. Motor vehicle traffic can still cross the bridge. It is the only covered bridge in existance in the township, and one of the few that remain standing in Lancaster County. A second bridge had existed until the 1970's when it was burned down by vandals.