Hanover was organized as a Township on April 2, 1850, primarily to provide government closer to home than the county seat in Chicago. Land was divided like a checkerboard into six mile squares called townships, each township being roughly 36 square miles. Hanover's location in the checkerboard is designated as Township 411 North, Range 9 East of the Third Principal Meridian - the farthest west of the old "country Towns" of Cook County.
In 1850 the first federal census of Hanover Township reported a population of 672. Most of these people were from upstate New York and New England. Ten years later, there were 926 residents, but a marked change in composition had occurred. Most were German Protestants from the Kingdom of Hanover in western Germany - hence the Township's name.
The rural government was concerned with collecting the tax, stray animals, control of weeds, maintenance of roads. After spring and fall rains, roads were apt to become long black ditches of mud, so this was quite a chore. The Clerk organized the machinery for elections. Another function, "poor relief" was minimal.
Rural days in Hanover Township ended with the westward spread of the Chicago metropolitan area. It was the rich land that beckoned farmers to this vicinity. That land has now been taken over by subdivisions, shopping centers, and industrial developments. The windmills and creameries are long gone, and only a few white farm houses and barns remain. The Milwaukee Road trains which once hauled milk cans into Chicago are now carrying commuters. But township government lives on, adapting to the changing time, still meeting the needs of the residents. Those needs, of course, have changed dramatically.
Today the population of Hanover Township is over 100,000. Most of Streamwood residents live within its boundaries; also portions of Bartlett, Elgin, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg, and unincorporated Cook County. In 1900 a town hall was built on the southeast corner of North Bartlett Road and Route 19. The cost of the town hall was $600. It served as the only polling place until 1912. Since 1985 the Township hall has been located on ten acres of land, two miles south of Route 19 and Route 59. This building along with the Hanover Township Senior Center, 240 S. Route 59, Bartlett; the Hanover Township Astor Avenue Community Center, 7431 Astor Avenue, Hanover Park; the Hanover Township Izaak Walton Center, 899 Jay Street, Elgin; and the Hanover Township Community Resource Center, 1535 Burgundy Place, Streamwood, house all Township services.