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Hidden collections: Hershey Senior Citizens Writing Project

Did you know that the Hershey Community Archives includes records of local businesses and organizations? In addition to caring for the corporate records of Milton Hershey’s businesses, we also seek to preserve the history of the Hershey community and actively collect the records of organizations such as the Hershey Rotary Club, the Volunteer Fire Company, People Mover, Hershey Figure Skating Club, and receive donations from individuals. While these collections are much smaller than our corporate collections, these private collections hold treasures and help us to understand our community’s history.


Hershey’s Mohler Center was originally organized in 1983 as the Senior Citizens’ Center of Derry Township. In 1989, the Center sponsored a reminiscence writing competition. The competition was held again in 1991. The essays were donated to the Archives in 1993.


These essays, written by more than 50 individuals, contain wonderful personal stories about growing in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. While many of the contributors grew up in the Hershey area, there are also  stories of childhoods spent elsewhere in the United States, a reminder that we became a much more mobile population following World War II.


These essays offer a unique perspective on local and national events, public school, recreation, and home life.


Hershey Junior-Senior High School auditorium, Hershey Industrial School (today Milton Hershey School). ca1934

Hershey Junior-Senior High School auditorium, Hershey Industrial School (today Milton Hershey School). ca1934


There are several essays centered on memories of World War II. One essayist (a Milton Hershey School graduate) wrote:


All the students in grades 6 to 12 gathered in the High School auditorium at noon to hear President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s declaration of war. It was quite a somber time. Principal W. Allen Hammond, normally very talkative, was subdues in his remarks after FDR’s message was finished. He alluded to the fact that, unfortunately, there would be graduates – past and upcoming – who would be killed in action. Mr. Hammond was very prophetic; 37 Homeboys paid the supreme price.


Other essays spoke to businesses that no longer exist, providing a window to the past:


The Bradley Quarries not only quarried their limestones but crushed and baked some for lime. The kilns were on the hill between Old West Chocolate Avenue and [the] Philadelphia & Reading train tack and the main or first quarry. There were three kilns sheltered from the weather on three sides. At night one could see the bright glare in the darkness.


These essays are a great resource for people seeking to understand what life was like in Hershey for those growing up in Hershey. While the Archives holds photographs from these years, the essays help us understand what was happening inside those buildings.


Hershey's Y.W.C.A. was located across from the railroad station. 1913

Hershey’s Y.W.C.A. was located across from the railroad station. 1913



For example, we know that Hershey’s YWCA was located across from the Hershey railroad station (currently the ZooAmerica parking lot). But what went on inside the building? From an essay titled, “Return to Hockersville Road and More,” we learn:


In the middle of the [19]20s I was a Girl Reserve, a YWCA girl group similar to the Girl Scouts, that year at the YW. The second and third floors had rooms and a recreational room (or beauty parlor) for unmarried working women. The northeast end of the building was the gym and in back of the gym was the kitchen.

 And in the [19]30s when it was remodeled for an apartment house, my family and I lived in an apartment on the first floor.


Even if you didn’t grow up in Hershey, the town’s amenities attracted visitors from all around. If you lived close by, visiting Hershey could be a regular summertime activity. For a boy growing up in Palmyra, visiting Hershey Park was a popular pastime.


Entrance to Hershey Park, ca.1920-1930

Entrance to Hershey Park, ca.1920-1930


In an essay titled simply, “Childhood Memories,” the author reminisced about the park:


Those were the days when, if I earned the money myself, I was permitted 25 cents to spend at Hershey Park. A 5 cent trolley ride to and a 5 cent trolley ride from the park to Palmyra, left me with 15 cents to spend at the park. What gigantic decisions! Shall I squander my 15 cents on amusement rides?  . . . Souvenirs? . . .Popcorn? . . .a Pony Ride? . . .an Eskimo Pie? After I grew slightly wiser – and older – I WALKED from Palmyra to Hershey and back, thereby allowing myself the ENTIRE quarter (a small fortune, then) to spend in the Park.


Learn more about this collection, the Hershey Senior Citizens Writing Project, and many more by visiting the Archives’ website. Hershey Community Archives is open to researchers Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and on the first Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Accession 200608: Snavely Family Papers

While the Archives is best known for managing the archival records of Milton Hershey’s corporations, we also collect and care for the records of  many individuals and local organizations.  The finding aids for these collections are available online on the Archives’ website:


These collections contain a wealth of materials documenting many different aspects of Hershey’s past.


Milton Hershey, 1887

Milton Hershey, 1887


There are very few materials that shed light on Milton Hershey’s early adult years. Milton Hershey spent his early adult years struggling to make a living. While his life and accomplishments are well documented once he achieved business success, little remains to tell the story of those early years.


We are very fortunate that the Snavely Family papers are part of the Archives’ collection.  This collection includes several letters from Milton Hershey to his Uncle Abraham Snavely, written between 1880 and 1882.


Sometimes personal letters paint a different picture than the one presented in published sources.


In 1894, Lancaster County (PA) published the Portrait and Biographical Record of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens. . .Together with Biographies and Portraits of All the Presidents of the United States.


I’m not certain who was responsible for researching and writing the brief biography of Milton Hershey. The entry begins with a brief genealogy, since both of his parents were born and raised in Lancaster County. The entry then continues:


 In 1876 our subject went to Philadelphia, where he engaged in the manufacture of confectionery, and there continued six years, after which he traveled in different states in the Union, and finally engaged in business in New York as a caramel manufacturer. He deemed it wise to remove his plant to Lancaster, where he has increased his business and employs a large number of men.


If this was the only documentation that existed for Milton Hershey’s early business years, we might have a very different understanding of his early life.


Business card; 1879-5/1881

Business card; 1879-5/1881

Business card; 1879-5/1881

Business card; 1879-5/1881



Fortunately for the historian, the Snavely Family Papers provides a slightly different view of those early years. As the finding aid notes, the collection is:


Largely comprised of correspondence and land records. The correspondence contains several hand written letters from Milton S. Hershey to his uncle, Abraham B. Snavely, requesting financial assistance.


The letters were written between 1880 and 1882, during the time that Milton Hershey operated a candy shop in Philadelphia. The letters reveal that Milton Hershey’s business was struggling at that time, and cash flow was not sufficient to support the business. Hershey turned to his Snavely relatives for financial loans, unfortunately, without much success. You can read more about these struggles here.


Interested in learning more? Visit the Archives and review all of the letters in the collection to gain a better understanding of Milton Hershey’s early business struggles.

Creating a Legacy: Milton S. Hershey’s trust fund for Derry Township public schools

Mourners paid their respects at Milton Hershey's gravesite, Hershey Cemetery. 10/16/1945

Mourners paid their respects at Milton Hershey’s gravesite, Hershey Cemetery. 10/16/1945


Milton Hershey passed away on October 13, 1945 in Hershey Hospital. While he had placed the bulk of his fortune into a trust for the Milton Hershey School in 1918, his continued financial success during the rest of his life created an estate valued at almost $900,000. Mr. Hershey’s will directed that his estate be used to create another trust fund.  This one would benefit Derry Township’s public schools.


Rarely sentimental, Milton Hershey’s will will directed that all his personal belongings be sold at auction, with the proceeds to be added to his estate. To comply with his wishes, an auction was held at the Community Building on Monday and Tuesday, December 17-18, 1945.


Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945, reverse side

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945, reverse side


Many protested the sale, wanting to keep his personal belongings intact. They argued that his possessions, which included furniture, rugs, linens, draperies, framed photographs, books, paintings, multiple sets of flatware and dinnerware, and his personal jewelry, belonged in the Hershey Museum. Apparently his executors, William F.R. Murrie, Ezra Hershey, and William H. Earnest, agreed. While the bulk of his personal belongings were sold at auction, the furniture that had filled Milton Hershey’s second floor apartment at the Hershey Country Club (High Point) was removed from the sale and Hershey Estates purchased these items. For many years the furniture was exhibited at the Hershey Museum as a memorial to Milton Hershey.


Some of the items from Milton S. Hershey's estate that were sold at auction on December 17-18, 1945.

Some of the items from Milton S. Hershey’s estate that were sold at auction on December 17 & 18, 1945.


The Milton S. Hershey Estate auction was held in the Community Building Social Room. There were afternoon and evening sessions with a large attendance of buyers and the simply curious. It appears that there was something for everyone. The auction flyer highlighted large collections of Cauldron, Coalport and Dresden china, rare ivory pieces, cut glass, bronze statuary, silverware, oil paintings, linens and fine furniture. The Auction was handled by L.J. Gilbert and Son, Lebanon, PA auctioneers.


The sale raised just over $17,000 helping to create an Testamentary Trust Fund endowment of about $900,000. Since its creation the trust fund has made semi-annual payments to the Derry Township School District with the goal of helping to mitigate public taxes paid in support of Hershey’s public schools.

HersheyArchives@30-31: West Hershey

Well, our anniversary year has past, but we have one more story to share that highlights the Archives’ oral history collection.  Enjoy!


West Hershey manufacturing plant under construction. ca.1990-1991

West Hershey manufacturing plant under construction. ca.1990-1991


West Hershey, The Hershey Company’s manufacturing facility located on the west end of Hershey, Pennsylvania, began operating in 1993. However, the need for the facility was first recognized in the 1970s. Richard A. Zimmerman, who was then Chief Operating Officer and later Chief Executive Officer, understood the challenges Hershey Chocolate faced in the last quarter of the 20th century and began implementing changes that would lead to the company’s success in the coming century.




Aerial view of West Hershey.  08/06/2003

Aerial view of West Hershey. 08/06/2003


Zimmerman was aware that Mr. Hershey’s original factory, which opened in 1905, was nearing obsolescence and that the company needed to reexamine its manufacturing processes.  He recognized that in order to modernize the manufacturing process the company needed to start with its milk processing technique.  Fresh milk is a critical ingredient in Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. How the milk is processed is essential to the development of the “Hershey flavor.”


[W]e were working on Hershey West in 1976….I knew we had a very obsolescent, if not obsolete, processing technique. Literally, our processing of milk, the condensation of that product, was circa 1920….So we began to work hard on the milk aspect, because so much of our flavor is developed through the milk process, that we knew that we had to find a new way to do that. So we began to work pretty diligently, and kept working at it and working at it and working at it for over ten years.  [Oral history interview with Richard A. Zimmerman, 11/07/1995.  95OH08.]


Richard A. Zimmerman.  CEO, Hershey Foods Corporation. 04/1991

Richard A. Zimmerman. CEO, Hershey Foods Corporation. 04/1991


Craig Moyer, a process engineer hired by Hershey Chocolate in 1973, became involved in modernizing the manufacturing process.  A significant portion of his career was focused on modernizing milk processing and planning the West Hershey facility.  He acknowledged Zimmerman’s contribution to Hershey’s continued success.

I don’t know this for a fact because [Mr. Zimmerman] never really told me, but he had to have realized that The Hershey Company couldn’t move forward based on the [original/19 East] Hershey plant….he had the courage and he had the vision to allow us to move forward…that would let the company move forward. [Oral history interview with Craig Moyer, 03/10/2014.  2014OH02.]


Upon his retirement in 1993, Zimmerman’s tenure as CEO was noted for his commitment to modernization, manufacturing capacity expansion, quality and productivity improvement, an expanded international presence, increased efforts in new product development, and an emphasis on innovative training opportunities for employees.



B-Roll of West Hershey factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Milk processing and factory exteriors. 09/2012


In 2012, a new 340,000 sq. ft. expansion to the West Hershey facility was completed.  The $300 million investment features the latest manufacturing technology and equipment that speeds production, delivers consistent high quality, and provides the opportunity to produce new products in the future.  In the tradition of Mr. Zimmerman, approximately 700 employees were trained to prepare them to work in the facility’s high-tech manufacturing environment.

HersheyArchives@30-30: Hershey Chocolate-the Great American Chocolate Bar

Remember your first Hershey Bar? Print advertisement, 1980

Remember your first Hershey Bar? Print advertisement, 1980


It is an advertising industry legend that Hershey Chocolate did not advertise. The advertising industry marveled at Hershey’s success without the use of advertising. During the company’s first fifty years, Hershey Chocolate succeeded without media advertising because it had few competitors in the solid chocolate confectionery market.


Hershey Chocolate offered a variety of promotional displays to stores to help them promote Hershey products. ca1936

Hershey Chocolate offered a variety of promotional displays to stores to help them promote Hershey products. ca1936



Window display, 1930-1932

Window display, 1930-1932











The image of Hershey as a company that succeeded without advertising stretches the truth.  It is true that Hershey did not use media advertising (newspaper ads, radio, television) until 1970. However, Hershey did make extensive use of trade and point of purchasing advertisements throughout its history.  Unlike most companies that directed advertising dollars to consumers as well as customers, Hershey concentrated all its advertising budget towards the trade, placing ads in trade publications, offering cut sheets to customers to use in their own newspaper ads and promoting its products with shelf talkers and window displays.


In the 1960s, market changes and the growth of the Mars Candy Company under Forrest Mars challenged Hershey’s control of the market. During the 1960s, Mars steadily gained market share and Hershey realized that it would have to change how it conducted business.


It was not a simple matter to begin media and print advertising. Hershey first needed to build the infrastructure that would enable them to develop a modern marketing program and support an advertising campaign.  That took several years.


Jack Dowd, hired in 1965 to help Hershey establish its first marketing department, recalled in his 1991 oral history interview, the chocolate company’s reluctance to move towards implementing a media advertising campaign, in spite of the company’s trend toward losing market share.


Incidentally, my interview, the first day I met a number of people, including Harold Mohler [Hershey Chocolate Corporation president].  He said, “They seem to like you here, but a couple of things you should know about Hershey.  One is, we don’t advertise.”

I said, “I’m vividly aware of that.  Everybody in marketing is aware of that.  But I have a couple of hypotheses about your company because I’ve done a lot of reading about it, and if they’re true, you’re going to be advertising.”

He said, “What are they?”

I said, “I think your share of market has been declining.”

And he said, “Yes, it has.”

I said, “I think your new products are not as successful as your old products.”

He said, “That’s true.  They’re not.” 

And I said, “I don’t think that your products are as popular with children as they are with adults.”

And he said, “That’s true.” 

And I said, “Given those three, you’re going to start to advertise.” 

He said, “Well, we haven’t decided yet.”


It was not until 1969 that the company was ready to launch a national media advertising campaign.


When Hershey Foods Corporation began the process of searching for an advertising agency, it was particularly interested in the agency’s skills in producing television ads. After interviewing six firms, Hershey hired Ogilvy and Mather, who were based in New York City.


In sharing the news of hiring Ogilvy & Mather with their employees, Hershey noted the growing competition for shelf space in the grocery store, the changing demographics of the country’s population with the emergence of the baby boom generation and the need to connect with a more youthful audience. The July 21, 1969 memo stated:


With the competition getting keener for the consumers sweet tooth – and the fact that almost half of the people in the United States today are under 25 years of age, we felt it prudent to introduce this marketing tool to acquaint this younger generation with our items and to maintain our position with the over 25 group.


Hershey selected three brands with which to test the advertising waters: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Hershey’s Instant, a milk chocolate powder. At first tests were done in seven cities for several months before launching a national campaign in September, 1970.


Hershey Foods Corporation used both television and print media ads to promote its products. 1980

Hershey Foods Corporation used both television and print media ads to promote its products. 1980


Ogilvy & Mather’s creative director for the Hershey Milk Chocolate team was Billings Fuess.  He developed the “Hershey. The Great American Chocolate Bar” ad campaign.


Billings Fuess was inspired by his love of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, believing that it was superior to European milk chocolate. He explained his reasoning and inspiration in a 2010 oral history interview.:


I had the idea for “The Great American Chocolate Bar” because I knew there was a lot of wonderful history behind Hershey.  I also liked Hershey bars and they were a heck of a lot better than their competition from Switzerland.  And I wanted to give them a dig and say the great AMERICAN chocolate bar.


Storyboard for Hershey's Milk Chocolate commercial, "Montage." 5/1970

Storyboard for Hershey’s Milk Chocolate commercial, “Montage.” 5/1970


Along with the slogan, Fuess also developed the concept for the first television commercials.  He wanted the commercials to express the personal relationships nurtured by the shared enjoyment of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate.  His strategy was to “build upon the marvelous reminisces of people and what the Hershey bar means to most people and the fact that it’s American and it tastes so good and there’s something wondrous about a little child eating it and sharing it with his parents . . . The idea of a father with his son on his shoulders and the son tears open the Hershey bar, eats some and give some to his father as he’s walking down the street.”


The Great American Chocolate Bar campaign served the company well. It continued to serve as the basis of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate marketing from 1970 until 1994.



HersheyArchives@30-29: What’s New?

Occasionally, someone asks: “What is the oldest item in the archival collection?” But no one has asked, “What is the most contemporary item in the collection?” Researchers often equate archives with pre-twentieth century materials such as handwritten deeds or manuscripts written on parchment. However, Hershey Community Archives’ holdings are largely comprised of twentieth century records and, increasingly, twenty-first century records.


The Archives regularly receives sales and marketing materials from The Hershey Company announcing new product launches.

The Archives regularly receives sales and marketing materials from The Hershey Company announcing new product launches.


The Archives receives regular transfers of records from the corporations and organizations whose historical records we manage, such as The Hershey Company, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, Hershey Area AARP, and the Derry Township Senior Citizen’s Council. Contemporary records, yes even those that date from 2015, are currently held by the Archives.


Hershey Area AARP newsletter from March-April 2015.

Hershey Area AARP newsletter from March-April 2015.


These selected contemporary records have what is called “archival value,” meaning the records have enduring value based on their historical usefulness or significance, that justifies their continued preservation. The records are collected quickly after they are produced so that they are less likely to be lost, causing a break in the documentary record.


Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar wrapper chronology. Regular transfer of records helps lessen the likelihood of breaks in the documentary record.

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper chronology. Regular transfer of records helps lessen the likelihood of breaks in the documentary record.


By collecting contemporary records, the Archives can provide a comprehensive institutional history or document the development of a particular event.


Contemporary records illustrate how ZooAmerica’s Creatures of the Night has evolved since its beginning.

Contemporary records illustrate how ZooAmerica’s Creatures of the Night has evolved since its beginning.


Archivists have an obligation to future researchers and the organizations they serve to collect and preserve contemporary records so they are available when a need arises. The records produced in 2015 and transferred to the Archives are already “archival” and have historical value. The records will help tell or illustrate an institution’s history 50 years from now or perhaps just a few years from now.


HersheyArchives@30-28: The Wonderful World of Chocolate: Hershey’s Chocolate World

Hershey’s Chocolate World brochure, ca1973

Hershey’s Chocolate World brochure, ca1973


Hershey began offering tours of its chocolate factory shortly after the factory opened.  By 1915, visitors could register for a tour at the town’s Visitor Bureau, located in the Cocoa House, on Chocolate Avenue.


In 1928, the factory began keeping formal statistics about factory tours.  A factory tour was a popular part of a visit to Hershey.


Hershey Chocolate factory tour. At the end of the tour, visitors received free samples of chocolate and cocoa milk. ca1950-1960

Hershey Chocolate factory tour. At the end of the tour, visitors received free samples of chocolate and cocoa milk. ca1950-1960


By 1970, almost one million people were touring the factory each year.  The factory was not designed to handle so many people.  So many visitors were causing traffic jams downtown, overwhelming the building capacity and creating risks for product safety.


Ken Bowers, who came to Hershey Foods Corporation in 1970 to head up the public relations department, remembered that a task force had been assembled to determine how best to address the challenge of a factory tour that had outgrown its capacity.  He recalled that the committee considered three options:


One, to simply terminate the tour program, because it had gotten to the point where it was creating problems for the plant.  It was creating problems traffic-wise, congestion-wise for downtown Hershey.  And there were plenty of other corporations who had had tours that were beginning to lop them off and close them and it would not have been setting a new precedent.  So that was a very real possibility. 

A second big possibility was to do rather extensive renovation in order to keep that tour program, by putting it, perhaps, into the ceiling of certain of the rooms so it would not interfere with production, with glass-enclosed walkways or something where people could not potentially throw things into the vats of chocolate, etc. 

And, of course, the third basic choice was to develop something new, different elsewhere, a mini factory kind of thing.  Those were the three things that were discussed at great length, with a considerable amount of research attached to each one.


While the option to simply discontinue the factory tour was one of the options, it was not seriously considered.  Hershey Foods Corporation recognized the great value the tour offered in terms of consumer relations and it was particularly important in a town like Hershey, which had a strong orientation towards tourism. Likewise, it was quickly realized that the factory would not lend itself to being remodeled to accommodate touring guests.


Even after deciding to build a new facility a number of decisions remained.  Should it be a model factory, actually producing product or should Hershey build a facility that would lend itself to longer hours of operation and be attractive to a broader audience. Deciding between these two options was not a simple matter.  The task force spent considerable energy debating the pros and cons of building a model factory versus visitor center that could explain how Hershey produced its milk chocolate.


Visitor Tour Task Team Final Recommendation Report, 5/21/1970.

Visitor Tour Task Team Final Recommendation Report, 5/21/1970.


The task team’s final recommendation was to “establish [a] Visitors Tour Facility in the general area of the existing Park/Stadium complex.” Acting on the task team’s recommendation, Hershey Foods decided to build Hershey’s Chocolate World, a corporate visitor center that could welcome the millions of people visiting Hershey each year and would teach visitors how Hershey’s milk chocolate is made in a fun and informative way.



Hershey’s Chocolate World original design featured a tour ride, retail area, café, and an historical display. 1970


Hershey Foods Corporation hired R. Duell & Associates to develop concept and design plans for the new visitor center. The firm was already working on design development plans for Hershey Park’s modernization and expansion. By employing the same firm, Hershey Foods Corporation was able to benefit from R. Duell & Associates already acquired understanding and knowledge of the general site and better coordinate how the two facilities might best interact with each other. R. Duell & Associates played a significant role shaping the direction and scope of Hershey Foods’ new visitor center.


Hershey’s Chocolate World, ca1973

Hershey’s Chocolate World, ca1973


The new visitor center was located near Hersheypark’s newly constructed “tram circle.”


Chocolate World’s tour ride showed visitors how Hershey’s milk chocolate was manufactured. 1973

Chocolate World’s tour ride showed visitors how Hershey’s milk chocolate was manufactured. 1973


Hershey’s Chocolate World also included displays devoted to company history. 1973

Hershey’s Chocolate World also included displays devoted to company history. 1973


Hershey Chocolate World’s retail area was themed to suggest a village in a tropical jungle. 1973

Hershey Chocolate World’s retail area was themed to suggest a village in a tropical jungle. 1973


Plans called for the visitor’s center to illustrate the steps necessary for manufacturing chocolate, from growing and harvesting cocoa beans, through the manufacturing steps to produce Hershey’s milk chocolate. Plans also called for an enlarged retail area, a small café and gift shop, and a company history display.


The last public Hershey Chocolate factory tour was held June 29, 1973 and the new Hershey’s Chocolate World opened the next day.



HersheyArchives@30-27 Hershey’s Kiss Streetlights

Hershey’s unique Kiss shaped streetlights can be found all along Chocolate Avenue. ca1970-1973

Hershey’s unique Kiss shaped streetlights can be found all along Chocolate Avenue. ca1970-1973


Each year millions of people visit Hershey, drawn by Hershey’s many attractions, including its streetlights.  Seriously!


Hershey’s streetlights are unique. The lights along Chocolate Avenue, Hershey’s main street, are shaped like wrapped and unwrapped Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates. They’ve been a part of the community’s landscape since 1963, when Hershey Chocolate Corporation president, Samuel Hinkle, suggested that the town improve its downtown lighting with a unique style of streetlights.


Hershey News, 12/26/1963

Hershey News, 12/26/1963


Sam Hinkle realized that Hershey’s street lighting was not adequate. During his travels he took note of how other towns were lit and he directed the chocolate corporation’s electrical engineer, Don Chubb, to study the problem and make some recommendations. Sam Hinkle added an additional condition to the project: he wanted the streetlights to be uniquely “Hershey.”


It was an unusual project and Don Chubb had vivid memories that he related in his 1999 oral history interview. Chubb recalled a meeting that Hinkle called to discuss new lighting for the town:


Mr. Hinkle made the statement that he wanted his town relighted . . . I said, “Well, the only way you can have street lighting like that is to get some manufacturers to come up with some prototype fixtures.”


[Hinkle asked] “How do we do that?” 


Well, the three major manufacturers were Westinghouse, General Electric, and Line Material.  So we talked to all three of them and asked if they would make up a prototype fixture, and in the process, I told each of them that the only thing that lends itself at all toward a streetlight is the chocolate Kiss, the Hershey Kiss, mainly because of the shape and it’s like a globe overtop of an incandescent bulb.


The three manufacturers each submitted a prototype lighting fixture and Chubb had them set up in a field near the Hershey Stadium. The light selected was designed by Line Material. As Chubb recalled:


The one from Line Material is basically the one that we have today.  They took the whole idea of a chocolate, or a wrapped Kiss, and made molds for it, made forms to spin them, and made them out of aluminum. Everyone, as soon as they saw it, [said] “Hey, that’s what we want.” 


Sam Hinkle was very pleased, except he said, “Can’t you take that [Kiss plume] and have it rotate like a weathervane?”  “Sure, probably no problem.”  Contacted them [Line Material], they said, “Oh yeah.” 



Once the final designs were approved, Chubb and his team developed a lighting plan for all of Chocolate Avenue and a portion of Park Avenue.


The new Kiss-shaped streetlights were officially lit and dedicated on December 23, 1963.

The new Kiss-shaped streetlights were officially lit and dedicated on December 23, 1963.


The lights were officially lit and dedicated in a brief ceremony on December 23, 1963. Sam Hinkle was so closely associated with the project that the lights were soon christened “Hinkle’s Twinkles.”


Today there are 107 streetlights (55 wrapped, 52 unwrapped) on Chocolate Avenue, and eight Kiss streetlights on Park Avenue between Chocolate Avenue and the railroad bridge. The Hershey Company has also installed them at each of their manufacturing plants.



HersheyArchives@30-26: Why Did Hershey Sell Its Cuban Assets?

List of Hershey Cuban assets acquired by the Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company. Page from Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company Notice of Stockholders meeting, 3/5/1946

List of Hershey Cuban assets acquired by the Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company. Page from Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company Notice of Stockholders meeting, 3/5/1946


In 1921, Milton Hershey hired Percy Alexander (P.A.) Staples to manage his Cuban operations. For the next 23 years Staples resided in Cuba. As part of his work, he became very knowledgeable about Cuba: not only its sugar industry, but also with its people, culture, economy, and politics.


In 1944, Milton Hershey selected Staples to succeed him as president and chairman of all of the Hershey Entities. Staples relocated to Hershey and quickly settled into his new responsibilities. Though Hershey’s Cuban properties had been consistently profitable, Staples recommended to Mr. Hershey that the Cuban properties should be sold. Staples’ long residence in Cuba provided him with a unique understanding of the country and perhaps created some concerns about its future.


P.A. Staples wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission to explain some of the details of the sale of Hershey’s Cuban assets. 4/6/1946

P.A. Staples wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission to explain some of the details of the sale of Hershey’s Cuban assets. 4/6/1946



Staples to SEC, page 2. 4/6/1946


Selling such a sizeable asset required months of due diligence and documenting all aspects of the business. Naturally, there were questions about why Hershey might want to sell a business that had expanded and been profitable for years.


Staples outlined his reasons for selling Hershey's Cuban properties. 4/6/1946

Staples outlined his reasons for selling Hershey’s Cuban properties. 4/6/1946


Mr. Staples outlined some of the reasons for selling Hershey’s Cuban properties in an April 6, 1946 letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):


“The desire of the Trustee to change its position from that of 100 percent owner of the Hershey Cuban enterprises to that of an owner of only half of the Preferred Stock, and less than 100 percent of the Common Stock, of the Company arises from the fact that, except for the Hershey Cuban enterprises, the only operating properties controlled by the Trustee are located in or near Hershey, Pennsylvania. The individual members of the board of trustees of Hershey Trust Company are men living in and around Hershey, Pennsylvania. Of them the writer (P.A. Staples) is the only one experienced in the operation and supervision of properties in Cuba and the only one having the specialized knowledge required for such purpose.


In the light of these circumstances, the late Milton S. Hershey, founder of the Hershey Industrial School, explored the possibilities of a transaction of the general character which is about to be effected and the proposed transaction with the Company is one which was approved in principle by Mr. Hershey before his death last fall.”








HersheyArchives@30-25: Hear Mr. Hershey


Milton Hershey poses  with a kitchen employee at a Hershey Industrial School picnic held at Hershey Park. 1938

Milton Hershey poses with a kitchen employee at a Hershey Industrial School picnic held at Hershey Park. 1938


In the 1920s, American households had a new choice in home entertainment—the radio. The first commercial radio station was established in 1920 and by 1922 over 600 stations were on the air. Radio programs in a variety of formats and genres were broadcast including radio plays, variety shows, news, and interview programs. One such program was “It Can Be Done” hosted by Edgar A. Guest, an English-born American poet who was popular in the first half of the twentieth century.


On June 8, 1938, “Milton S. Hershey, ‘The Builder,’” was featured on the radio show, “It Can Be Done.” At the time of the interview, Mr. Hershey was eighty years old. His voice had aged and his speech was slow as he was inexperienced with public speaking and was reading from a script. At the end of the interview, Guest read his poem, “Compensation,” in tribute to Mr. Hershey.


The audio below is the only known recording of Mr. Hershey’s voice. Click on the link to listen to Milton Hershey.



[Transcript of audio]


Announcer:      So Milton S. Hershey, the builder of an ideal town continues to build, to build happiness into the hearts of boys, happiness that is the foundation for sturdy, worthy, useful citizenship. The unconquerable, unselfish spirit of Milton S. Hershey has brought fulfillment of his most fantastic dreams. And proves once more, “It can be done.”  We present now, ladies and gentlemen, Milton S. Hershey,” the builder.”


Mr. Hershey:   Thank you, Eddie Guest. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.


Mr. Guest:       Mr. Hershey, how many years have you been in the candy business?


Mr. Hershey:   Sixty years.


Mr. Guest:       Are you still active in the business?


Mr. Hershey:   Indeed I am.


Mr. Guest:       You know, it seems to me that as long as I can remember I’ve seen your chocolate bar on candy counters.


Mr. Hershey:   Yes, the Hershey Bar has been on the market thirty odd years and we were the first to introduce the almond bar.


Mr. Guest:       Now, you must use an unbelievable amount of cocoa beans.


Mr. Hershey:   We use as much cocoa, raw cocoa beans, as France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain put together.


Mr. Guest:       Hmmm.


Mr. Guest:       How large is your town Hershey, Pennsylvania?


Mr. Hershey:   Hershey, Pennsylvania, has a population of 2500. In that total of 2500 we have 3200 students. The Hershey Township High School is the largest township high school in the United States.


Mr. Guest:       How long has the Hershey Industrial School been in operation?


Mr. Hershey:   Since 1909.


Mr. Guest:       Can you tell me what has happened to some of the boys you’ve trained there?


Mr. Hershey:   Well, one is treasurer of the Trust Company, two are in the bank, and there are others in responsible positions. You see, we follow the boys through until we see that they have jobs.


Mr. Guest:       Tell me, just how do the opportunities for the boys today compare with those of your day? That is, these boys coming out of your school?


Mr. Hershey:   Most of them have better chances for character building and education than ever before. Perhaps they don’t have the chance to make as much money as some individuals have made, but they will lead to happier lives.


Mr. Guest:        Milton S. Hershey, Household Finance and I humbly salute you and your courage which carried you through to success and we add our tribute to that of thousands of others for the great work you are doing with boys. Congratulations, Milton S. Hershey.


Mr. Guest:       Mr. Hershey, I’d like to think, when life is done,

That I had filled some needed post,

That here and there I’d paid my fare

With something more than idle boast.

That I had taken gifts divine,

The breath of life and manhood fine,

And tried to use them now and then

In service for my fellowman.


I’d hate to think when life is through

That I had lived my round of years

A useless time that leaves behind

No record in its vale of tears;

That I had wasted all my days

By treading only selfish ways

And that this world would be the same

If it had never heard my name.


I’d like to think when life is done

That here and there, there shall remain

A happier spot which might have not

Existed had I toiled for gain,

That someone’s cheery voice and smile

Shall prove that I had been worthwhile

That I had paid with something fine,

My debt to God for life divine.