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Reese’s Pieces: E.T’s Favorite Candy

Reese's Pieces were introduced in 1978.

Reese’s Pieces were introduced in 1978.

 

How a great candy was saved from oblivion by a small alien visitor from outer space OR the story of Reese’s Pieces, E.T.’s favorite candy.

 

In the 1950s, Hershey Chocolate developed the capability for panning; that is, sugar-coating a product.  M&Ms are probably the best known example of a panned candy product.  Hershey’s first panned product was Hershey-Ets, candy-coated chocolate discs or lentils.  One marketing challenge for this new product was that when the company introduced Hershey-Ets, people would say, “What is it?”  And to define it, you had to use the competitor’s name.  That’s a pretty difficult situation.  The product was eventually discontinued, except for holiday and seasonal applications.

 

Hershey-ets single serving bag, 1 3/4 oz., 1961-1968

Hershey-ets single serving bag, 1 3/4 oz., 1961-1968

 

This was Hershey’s first attempt at a marketing a panned product.

 

Flash forward a couple decades.

 

In the 1970s, Hershey Chocolate developed a formula for sweetened peanut meal with the consistency of chocolate.  It became the basis for Reese’s Pieces, which were made using the same procedures and equipment as Hershey-Ets.

 

The new product was originally named PBs.  But PBs wasn’t a proper name and the product was soon rechristened Reese’s Pieces.

 

At that time, Hershey was building a new manufacturing plant in Stuart’s Draft, Virginia, and Hershey planned to manufacture Reese’s Pieces there, in addition to the manufacturing in Hershey.

 

Hershey Chocolate supported the introduction of Reese's Pieces with advertising and promotional coupons.  1980

Hershey Chocolate supported the introduction of Reese’s Pieces with advertising and promotional coupons. 1980

 

The product launch was successful.  Reese’s Pieces sales went up significantly, held a little bit and then started coming down, not at an alarming rate, but it was certainly a bit disturbing, particularly since the company was in the process of building additional manufacturing capability.

 

About that time, Hershey Chocolate  received a call from Universal Studios, and they said that Steven Spielberg was producing a movie called “E.T.,” and they had decided to use Reese’s Pieces and the candy would play a featured part in the picture.  Over the phone, Universal invited Hershey to cooperate by promoting the picture.

 

Jack Dowd, then Director, New Products Development, traveled to California to meet officials from Universal Studios.  The plot was sketched out, and Universal explained that this creature was lured into the house by Reese’s Pieces.  The vice president said to Jack that they had decided not to use M&Ms.  Trying to come up with an alternative candy, he had asked his son, “What would you use?”  And his son said, “Reese’s Pieces.”  The vice president said he had never heard of Reese’s Pieces until that moment.

 

Dowd thought the project looked like something worthwhile.  Dowd knew Reese’s Pieces needed some special promotion to save it.  He agreed that Hershey Chocolate would support the movie with about a million dollars’ worth of marketing.  Hershey would create consumer promotions, trade promotions, and displays, featuring “E.T.”  In return, Hershey Chocolate would have an exclusive in the confectionery field for promotion and advertising.

 

This was the first time Hershey Chocolate had agreed to partner with Hollywood in the promotion of a movie and its use of a Hershey product.

 

Jack Dowd, in his 1991 oral history interview, remembered:

 

So I came home and informed Earl Spangler (Hershey Chocolate president) and the staff that we were going to spend a million dollars on a movie that I couldn’t show them the script for, that was going to employ a little green creature from outer space, and I couldn’t show them–at that point it was still confidential–I couldn’t show them a picture of that either.  I hadn’t seen it either.  I didn’t know what it would look like.

 

Earl said, “Are you sure this is going to work?”

 

And I said, “Oh, sure.”  Because what else could I say?  If I said, “Oh, no,” then we’d have to cancel it and I’d already signed up for it. 

 

Reese's Pieces was E.T.'s favorite candy.  Promotional poster, 1982

Reese’s Pieces was E.T.’s favorite candy. Promotional poster, 1982

 

We were going to offer a tee-shirt that had a picture of E.T.  We wanted a picture, and they sent us a picture of E.T. and the little boy.  I proudly showed the picture at the staff meeting, and Earl [Spangler] said, “That is the ugliest creature I have ever seen in my whole life.”  There’s no answer to that.  You just sit quietly and let the eruption die down. 

 

There was a special screening of the movie in the Hershey Lodge theater shortly after it premiered in New York City. The theater was filled with employees and their families.

 

At the end, the screen went black and there was total silence.  Nobody seemed to want to get off the mountain; they wanted to stay up there.  And then there was enormous applause. 

 

So I ran out in the lobby to watch the faces of the people that came by.  Many of them were tear-stained.  And Earl, who is a very emotional man, came out and his eyes were quite moist, and I said, “Is he still ugly, Earl?”

 

And Earl said, “Ah, he’s beautiful.”  And that was one of the high spots of the whole performance.

 

The movie was an enormous hit.  The publicity was incredible.  And the demand was tremendous, and fortunately just at that time the Stuart’s Draft plant came on stream and we were able to meet the demand, and the sales were more, far more than we expected.

 

Read Jack Dowd’s complete story on the Archives’ website.

 

 

A key to the past: Hershey Chocolate Factory architectural plans

Aerial view of Hershey Chocolate Factory.  ca.1920-1925

Aerial view of Hershey Chocolate Factory. ca.1920-1925

 

This week’s blog post was provided by Archives Assistant, Julia Morrow.

 

The original Hershey Chocolate Factory has dominated the streetscape of Chocolate Avenue in Hershey, PA ever since ground was broken in 1903.  The factory is not a single structure, but a complex of buildings that were constructed over several decades.  Once Milton S. Hershey started building, he didn’t stop; new buildings and renovations were added to the factory as Hershey Chocolate Company expanded.  Hershey’s original chocolate factory closed in 2012 and is currently undergoing partial demolition.

 

The buildings may have not withstood the test of time, but their blueprints have been saved.  Factory blueprints were transferred to the Hershey Community Archives in 2013. These architectural plans trace the evolution and growth of the Hershey Chocolate Factory compound over the last hundred years.

 

Architect Urban's design plan for a new Hershey chocolate factory. ca.1903

Architect Urban’s plan for a new Hershey chocolate factory. ca.1903

 

Nationally recognized architect, C. Emlen Urban, was the original architect for the Hershey Chocolate Factory.  Working with Milton S. Hershey on the development of Hershey, PA from 1903 into the 1920s, C. Emlen Urban is responsible for many of Hershey’s most beloved buildings.

 

Twenty four of Urban’s earliest blueprints of the factory, drawn in 1903, remain.  Many of these blueprints are detailed floor plans which provide important information including the functional layout of the factory.  For example, the “Cocoa Bean Roasting Hulling” room was located next to the “Cocoa Press” room.  By studying the floor plans, you can see how Milton S. Hershey organized the production process of his famous Milk Chocolate.

 

While these plans provide extremely detailed information as to the layout and construction of the factory, they can be appreciated on another level.  Each individual plan was drafted by hand, resulting in a hand-drawn work of art.  Today, architectural plans are created on computers, using drafting software.

 

Urban’s factory plans also included elevations of the factory facades.  This collection provides one of the earliest views of how the Hershey Chocolate Factory would look from the outside.  One particular plan shows the southern and western facades of the Hershey Chocolate Factory’s Cocoa Powder, Sugar Mill, and Mixing building.

 

Hershey Chocolate Factory, western elevation. Original design by C. Emlen Urban. ca.1903

 

Hershey Chocolate factory, birdseye view.  ca.1909

Hershey Chocolate factory, birdseye view. ca.1909

 

Compare the images of the factory elevations with the postcard view of the original factory.   While some of the architectural elements were incorporated into actual construction, such as the cupolas and the window design, the original factory as envisioned by Emlen Urban, was not built as he initially imagined the building.

 

This original plan also does not include a key that would provide a drawing scale and other architectural information.  It is probable that C. Emlen Urban created this plan to convey his vision for the factory buildings to Milton Hershey.  The beautiful detail work on this blueprint, and the numerous other factory blueprints in the collection ensure that although the physical buildings may be gone, the original Hershey Chocolate Factory will live on.

A new ride for a new park: Trailblazer Roller Coaster

Trailblazer roller coaster, birds' eye view.  ca.1974-1985

Trailblazer roller coaster, birds’ eye view. ca.1974-1985

 

Did you know that Hersheypark has 12 (12!) roller coasters? And that most of them have been added to the park in the last 23 years?

 

For most of the Park’s existence, only one roller coaster was present.  Hershey Park’s first roller coaster, The Wild Cat, began operating in 1923.  In 1946, it was disassembled to make way for the park classic, The Comet, a wooden, out and back coaster that is still a mainstay of the park today.

 

After Hershey Park decided to reimagine itself as a themed amusement park in 1971, many changes were made.  The park moved to a single price admission plan, created themed areas and began adding new and exciting rides, as well as a wide variety of entertainment.

 

In 1974 Hersheypark (now one word) added a second roller coaster:  the Trailblazer.

 

 

Hersheypark's Trailblazer roller coaster trains coming around a sharp bend.  ca1977-1985

Hersheypark’s Trailblazer roller coaster trains coming around a sharp bend. ca1977-1985

 

The new roller coaster was designed by Duell and Associated and built by the Arrow Development Company of Mountain View, California.  The Trailblazer was a modern, high-speed steel roller coaster. Unlike traditional wooden coasters, steel coasters are made with tubular steel track which can be bent in any direction.  This allowed Duell to incorporate tight turns into Trailblazer’s ride.

 

The Trailblazer was located near Spring Creek and was incorporated the hillside, blending the ride into its surroundings.

 

The Trailblazer was 1,874 feet long and featured a series of tight curves that turned riders completely sideways.  The ride had three trains with five cars each that could carry up to twelve hundred passengers per hour.

 

Shortly after the Trailblazer roller coaster opened, the Park added the Trailblazer Theater and Saloon, building on the western themed area.  ca.1976-1980

Shortly after the Trailblazer roller coaster opened, the Park added the Trailblazer Theater and Saloon, building on the western themed area. ca.1976-1980

 

The Trailblazer along with the Dry Gulch Railroad was the beginning of the park’s frontier theme area.

 

Providing for the community: Hershey Hospital

Milton Hershey’s commitment to providing a wide range of services was impressive.  While opportunities for education, recreation and cultural activities have often been described in various publications and other venues, his commitment to ensuring the health of his community is not often discussed.

 

Hershey’s first health facility opened in 1918 in response to a devastating influenza epidemic. As need grew,  a health clinic opened in 1921 and Hershey’s first hospital was established in 1924.  Located in the Gingrich house on East Chocolate Avenue (just across the street from the chocolate factory), it offered 10 beds.  Nurses’ quarters were provided in Fanny Hershey’s old house next door.

 

Aerial view:  Chocolate Avenue; Fanny Hershey home (nurses' quarters) and first Hershey Hospital visible in lower right.

Aerial view: Chocolate Avenue; Fanny Hershey home (nurses’ quarters) and first Hershey Hospital visible in lower right.

 

When the Community Building was completed in 1932, the hospital moved to the building’s 5th floor.  The ambulance entrance was located on Caracas Avenue.  This hospital held 20 beds. Nurses’ quarters were located on the 6th floor.  At the same time, a separate infirmary was built on the campus of Hershey Industrial School (now Milton Hershey School).  This clinic was created to provide healthcare for the school boys.

 

In 1941 Hershey Hospital merged with the Hershey Industrial School Infirmary.  It was located on Rt. 322.

In 1941 Hershey Hospital merged with the Hershey Industrial School Infirmary. It was located on Rt. 322.

 

However, as it turned out, the new infirmary was under-utilized.  The students’ health was generally good.  So, on March 15, 1941 the Hershey Hospital and the Hershey Industrial School Infirmary were consolidated and  Hershey’s hospital moved to the red brick facility on Governor Road.  This location offered 50-70 beds, an operating room and dental and orthodontic departments.

 

Hershey Hospital, operating room. ca.1934

Hershey Hospital, operating room. ca.1934

 

At the new Hershey Hospital, patients could be hospitalized for uncomplicated childbirth, minor surgery, and important but not life threatening illnesses.  Hershey relied on specialists and surgeons to provide services not offered by the community’s general practice doctors.  Complicated medical conditions required patients to be transferred to other area hospitals in Harrisburg, Lebanon and Lancaster.  Hershey Hospital was an important part of the community’s health services for many years.

 

Hershey Hospital bed with breathing blanket covering.  ca.1934

Hershey Hospital bed with breathing blanket covering. ca.1934

 

In 1963, plans to build a teaching hospital and medical school in Derry Township were announced.  On October 14, 1970, Hershey Hospital closed and its patients were transferred to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.  While many in the community mourned the closing of the community hospital, the Hershey Med Center brought a whole new level of sophisticated and cutting edge medical care to the region.

 

Want to know more? Check out the Archives’ oral history collection for more stories about medical practice and the role Hershey Hospital played in the community.

Great things sometimes start small: H.B. Reese and the Reese Candy Company

Advertisement; Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, 1963

Advertisement; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, 1963

 

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are one of the United States best loved candies.  First introduced around 1928, the PB cups were not a stand-alone treat, but were marketed as part of an assortment of candies that you could buy by the weight.

They were named for their creator, Harry Burnett Reese.  Unlike Milton Hershey, it was not obvious that Harry Reese was destined to become a confectioner.  His background included stints as a farmer, dairy farmer, fish hatchery manager and factory worker.  All these varied jobs resulted from Reese’s efforts to support his rapidly growing family.  The jobs took him from York County to Ditchley, Virginia back to York County and then to New Freedom, Pennsylvania and finally to Hershey to work as a dairy farmer for Milton Hershey.  None of these jobs prepared him for his future success.

But Harry Reese was impressed with Milton Hershey and the success Mr. Hershey had achieved with the Hershey Chocolate Company.  Needing to support his family, Reese started making candy in his kitchen at night and marketing it around town and wherever he thought there might be customers.  The first years were challenging and offered little promise of his future success.

The Archives’ oral history collections contains interviews with a number of H.B. Reese’s children as well as workers.  His oldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth Reese Pearson, shared her memories of her father’s first efforts at candy making.  Born in 1901, Mary was old enough to vividly remember those early years.

Interviewer:  Right.  Tell me about the time frame when he started to make the hard candy.

Pearson:

Oh.  Well, that was in 1919, the very first thing.  He met an old man by the name of Mr. Bender up in Harrisburg at a market, where, you know, people bring in candies and things.  And Mr. Bender gave him the recipe for these hard candies and he started making them, shipping them out by the barrel.  It wasn’t long that he found his business wasn’t succeeding because the candy was sticking.  It wasn’t holding up, see.  That failed.

Interviewer: What did he try next?

Pearson:

I think maybe he tried different things, but the main–the one big thing he was doing when I was at Temple University in 1920 to ’22 was a bar called–he called a Lizzy Bar.  It was a chocolate bar, and I don’t know who gave him the recipe for the chocolate, but it started to sugar, see.  So that bar went off the market.

Interviewer: It was named after you?

Pearson:

Uh-huh.  It was named after me.  Because my roommate in those days called me Lizzy Bar.  [Laughter]  And he’d send me boxes of this candy.  It was wrapped in a very beige-looking background with brown printing.

Then I think after that, most of his–oh.  He was making another coconut caramel bar that was very popular for a while.  Some man had given him the recipe for this coconut caramel, and the coconut was fresh coconuts–grated!  He didn’t have a factory then; he just had a kitchen.  So Poppy would go around three o’clock in the morning and start opening coconuts, fresh coconuts, and had them all peeled and ground, ready to make this coconut caramel candy.  In the summertime, he would shape it in bars, see, and roll it in coconut, and take a whole carload [read "automobile"] of it over to Mount Gretna, where the government had a lot of soldiers over there, spending the summer over there at Mount Gretna.  So then in the wintertime, he would cover it with chocolate, see, and sell it.  So that was his third thing that was keeping him that he wasn’t completely out of business, see.  He was still doing something.

So then I don’t know what year he started making all the different sort of candies and absolutely every center of that candy was delicious.  He had dates that he–  It was like a sausage grinder thing.  The dates would go in there and they’d come out, and something would cut them off in little pieces.  I was coating candies in those days, and if we were coating dates, they’d all be little cut-up pieces, and [we would] lay it in the Hershey’s chocolate, see.  He always used Mr. Hershey’s coating, see.

And then that candy was put into these little tiny round cups and went out as assorted.  So one day we’d make coated dates, the next day we’d make–he learned how to make a wonderful fondant, see.  Delicious fondant.  That’s how he made all these different assorted candies, see.    I can’t tell you how many were in the box, but the box–it all went out wholesale, five-pound box for $1.29, to mostly big stores like Bon Tons and stores in Lancaster, and they would sell it out by the quarter and half-pound.

The business had a lot of ups and downs until H.B. Reese decided to concentrate on making peanut butter cups starting about 1941.  You can read the whole story here on the Archive’s website.  Just make sure you have some Reese’s peanut butter cups handy.  You’re going to want some!

Hershey’s Syrup: Chocolate goodness in a tin

It wasn’t until 1926 that Hershey Chocolate Company began manufacturing and marketing chocolate syrup. When Hershey’s Syrup was first introduced, it was marketed to commercial users (i.e. bakers, soda fountains, restaurants).  Commercial chocolate syrup was marketed in two strengths: single and double.  Single strength was promoted for use in soda fountain pumps for making carbonated beverages.  Double strength was used for use as a topping and in milk drinks.

 

Hershey's Syrup label, 18 oz. 1933

Hershey’s Syrup label, 18 oz. 1933

 

In late 1928, salesmen’s requests led the company to package and market Hershey’s single strength chocolate syrup for home use.  It was packaged in two sizes: 5 ½ oz. and 18 oz. metal tins.  In 1934 the 18 oz. size was reduced to 16 oz and marketed as a 1 pound tin.  Labels incorporated the iconic Hershey block letter design.

 

Hershey's Syrup recipe pamphlet, 1936

Hershey’s Syrup recipe pamphlet, 1936

 

To help introduce the new product to consumers, Hershey Chocolate hired a public relations/marketing firm, N.W. Ayer & Son, to help with the launch.  Hershey also hired a noted home economist, Caroline King, to develop 12 recipes using syrup.  The recipes and syrup samples were distributed to “home institutes” and magazines, including Good Housekeeping Delineator, People’s Home Journal, McCall’s Magazine, Women’s Home Companion, Liberty and Conde Nast Publications.  Initial results were positive and publications printed recipes and articles about Hershey’s new product.

Here’s a page of recipes from one of those early recipe pamphlets:

Recipes using Hershey's Syrup, ca.1928-1933

Recipes using Hershey’s Syrup, ca.1928-1933

Fore! Origins of the Hershey Country Club

In 1928, Milton Hershey authorized the construction of two new golf courses for Hershey.  The first course was located next to Hershey Park and was named the Hershey Parkview course.  Parkview was a public course, open to all golfers.  The second course was laid out on land surrounding Milton Hershey’s home, High Point.  This course incorporated the remaining holes of Hershey’s first  9-hole golf course that had been established in 1908.  Over the years, the chocolate factory’s continual expansion had consumed the original course bit by bit so that by the 1920s only 5 or 6 holes remained.

 

In April 1930 Milton Hershey invited one hundred guests to a luncheon held at the new Hershey Country Club.

In April 1930 Milton Hershey invited one hundred guests to a luncheon held at the new Hershey Country Club.

 

In April 1930, Milton Hershey sent an invitation to one hundred people in Hershey, inviting them to a luncheon to be held at his home, which was being remodeled to serve as a clubhouse for the new country club.  As part of the remodeling, Milton Hershey reserved the second floor of the house as his personal apartment.

 

Before lunch was served, Milton Hershey greeted his guests and invited them to look under their plates.  Underneath each plate was a charter membership card for each guest.

 

High Point Mansion served as the clubhouse for Hershey Country Club from 1930-1970.

High Point Mansion served as the clubhouse for Hershey Country Club from 1930-1970.

In 1970 a new clubhouse was built along East Derry Road.

In 1970 a new clubhouse was built along East Derry Road.

 

High Point served as the clubhouse for the Hershey Country Club until 1970 when the new East course  opened and new clubhouse was constructed along East Derry Road.

Hershey’s Community Gardens

Springtime in the Hershey Gardens.  ca.1979-1990

Springtime in the Hershey Gardens. ca.1979-1990

 

Evidence to the contrary, Spring is just around the corner.  As soon as the ground thaws, gardeners will be out, clearing away winter’s debris, preparing the garden beds and planting the first crops of the season: cabbage, beets. snow peas, kale and broccoli, to name a few.

 

Home gardens are a great way to grow fresh vegetables.  There is nothing better than a ripe tomato, just picked.  But what about people who don’t have a backyard or enough sunshine in their yards to grow vegetables? This spring, Hershey will launch its Community Garden, a partnership of Hershey’s corporate entities and the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.  Its purpose to to provide gardening space to employees and residents.

 

Hershey has a long tradition of helping residents without backyards to grow some of their own food.

 

During World War I, the United States government promoted community gardens to supplement and expand the domestic food supply. In 1917 Hershey responded by setting aside six acres of ground in East Hershey [east of Homestead Road, probably bounded on the south by Areba Avenue] for a community farm.  Rohrer Snavely was placed in charge.  In the March 22, 1917 issue of the Hershey Press, an article said the project planned to hire boys who wanted to learn garden farming while being paid.

 

Homestead Road is just to the left of Java Avenue, seen here just left of the houses.  ca.1910-1913

Homestead Road is just to the left of Java Avenue, seen here just left of the houses. ca.1910-1913

 

The program expanded to include gardens for girls the following month.

 

In 1918, Hershey, along with much of the nation, encouraged citizens to plant “War Gardens” to help with the war effort.  Hershey’s efforts in promoting public vegetable gardens ended with the conclusion of World War I.

 

It was not until the United States’ entry into World War II that Hershey again began to sponsor  community garden plots as part of the homefront’s efforts to support the war effort.

 

Want to know more?  Check out the Archives website’s latest essay addition about the history of community gardens in Hershey.

Skating for the Gold: 1953 United States Figure Skating Championship

What’s not to love about ice skating?  One of the highlights for me while watching the Winter Olympics is all the figure skating.  I love the beauty and creativity and greatly admire the athleticism needed to make it look so graceful.

 

Hershey Skating Club Winter Carnival, ca.1959

Hershey Skating Club Winter Carnival, ca.1959

 

Hershey also loves figure skating.  The sport has been an important sport in Hershey since the Hershey Skating Club was established in 1934.  Over the years, well-known figure skaters, including Roy Shipstad, Evelyn Chandler and Bruce Mapes have come to Hershey to work with the Skating Club and to perform in the Ice Arena.

 

National Figure Skating Championships, official program.  1953

National Figure Skating Championships, official program. 1953

 

In 1953, Hershey’s impressive facilities made it possible for the Hershey Skating Club to host the National Figure Skating Championships, often referred to as the “Nationals.”  Usually the competition is held in major cities with facilities and enough lodging to host the hundreds of skaters, their coaches and family members, over the four day event.  While Hershey was a small town, it was well acquainted with hosting large-scale events.  The competition brought national attention to the small community.

 

National Figure Skating Championships, Schedule of Events,  1953

National Figure Skating Championships, Schedule of Events, 1953

 

That year, the men’s competition was won by Hayes Alan Jenkins, who would go on to lead American male skating for four years, 1953-1956.  He also would win the gold medal in the 1956 Winter Olympics.

 

In 1953 Tenley Albright (right) won the gold medal at the United States Figure Skating Championship held in Hershey, PA.

In 1953 Tenley Albright (right) won the gold medal at the United States Figure Skating Championship held in Hershey, PA.  Silver medalist Carol Heiss is pictured left.

 

In the women’s competition, Tenley Albright continued her reign as the leading female skater in the United States, having first won the Nationals in 1952.  Her reign would continue through 1956.  That year she also would also win Olympic gold.

More information about the Hershey Figure Skating Club is available at the Archives.

 

 

Something For The Ladies: Hershey’s Y.W.C.A.

Hershey's Y.W.C.A. was organized in February 1911.

Hershey’s Y.W.C.A. was organized in February 1910.

 

In the Fall of 1909 articles began appearing in the Hershey Press about wanting to start a Y.M.C.A. in Hershey.  Milton Hershey drew his support behind the plan, providing space in the Cocoa House for the organization to hold its meetings and events.  The successful launch of the “Y” in early 1910 probably prompted the women of Hershey to press for the creation of a similar organization for themselves. 

 

You can follow the story of Hershey’s Y.W.C.A. in articles printed in the Hershey Press.  To get you started, here are some excerpts from early letters to the editor and articles about starting a women’s club in Hershey.

 

 Hershey Press, 11/4/1910 (page 11)

A Communication –

A Letter Received at the Press Office

Editor of the Hershey Press — “Will you kindly print the following in your paper?”

To all the girls of Hershey, surrounding towns, and to all whom it may concern:

“We girls are all aware of the splendid Y. M. C. A. in our town. Why can we not have a Y.W.C.A.  just as well? The cry is, “If we girls only had some place to go.” Let us bestir ourselves and see if something can not be accomplished. Let us get together and form sort of a band or club. Let it be at least this much if it can not be a Y. W. C. A. though that is far more

preferable. “We surely can have something if we try. Some of the leading women of town have expressed a kindly interest in the movement and a willingness to lend a helping hand in this good work.  All those desiring to take part in such a movement will kindly send their names to Box 104, Hershey, Pa., before Saturday, November 19.

ONE INTERESTED.”

 

Clearly the letter was successful because just a few months later, the Press published another article annoucing that a Y.W.C.A. had been organized in Hershey. 

 

Hershey Press, 2/10/1911

OUR LITTLE TOWN APACE WITH THE CITIES

Young Women’s Christian Association Organized on Monday. State Industrial Secretary Present. Constitution Adopted

 

A permanent home for the Y.W.C.A.. ca.1912

A permanent home for the Y.W.C.A.. ca.1912

 

At first, meetings were held in the Hershey Park Pavillion.  But after the Hershey Garage and stable, located on the south side of the railroad tracks (currently Hershey’s ZooAmerica’s parking lot)  were destroyed by fire,  the location was selected for a permanent home for the Y.W.C.A. In August 1912, (page 5) the Y.W.C.A. moved into its new permanent home above the rebuilt Hershey Garage.  The facility included boarding rooms for single women, a spacious reading room with a piano, and a cafeteria with seating for 100.

 

Hershey’s Y.W.C.A. remained a vital part of the community for many years.  At some point in the later 1920s, Hershey decided to separate from the national Y.W.C.A. organization and reorganize as an independent Women’s Club, something the men had done years earlier, in 1913.

 

Hershey’s Women’s Club continued to play a vital role in providing opportunities for fellowship, recreation and education  through the post war years.  The organization’s purpose was assumed by other groups and the Women’s Club building was razed in 1963 to make way for a new headquarters for Hershey Estates and the Hershey Drug Store which occupied the first floor.