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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.



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


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.


Looking Back: Hershey’s First Chocolate Products


Early Hershey Chocolate Company invoice.  February 9, 1899

Early Hershey Chocolate Company invoice. February 9, 1899


In February 1894, Hershey Chocolate Company was established after Milton Hershey purchased some chocolate making machinery he had seen exhibited at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  Mr. Hershey was excited by the challenge of learning to make a different confectionery product:  chocolate.  Before long, he was making semi-sweet chocolate for use with his caramel products.  He also began marketing a line of chocolate products known as “sweet chocolate novelties.”


Hershey was years away from developing his formula and process for making milk chocolate, the confectionery treat that would make his future fortune.  Unlike the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars, that are a part of our American psyche, Hershey’s chocolate products had imaginative names and  were wrapped in colorful, fanciful packaging.  They were moulded into cigars, cigarettes, sticks, batons, wafers and other fanciful shapes.


Hershey Chocolate Chrysanthemums. ca.1895-1909

Hershey Chocolate Chrysanthemums. ca.1895-1909




Even after Hershey’s milk chocolate was introduced and became America’s chocolate bar, Hershey continued to produce and market these products until February 1917.


I think I would buy these products just for the packaging.  I hope you enjoy this glimpse at Hershey’s earliest products.


Building to Impress: A New Home for the Hershey Trust Company

New Year.  New Exhibit.  I’ve just mounted a new display in the Archives’ exhibit case in the Grand Lobby of The Hershey Story.  This time the exhibit takes a look at building a new building for Hershey Trust Company.


Once Milton Hershey set his mind to something, he moved quickly and decisively.  And building a town for his new chocolate factory was no exception.  During the town’s first thirteen years, construction was constant as buildings went up, were enlarged and even replaced as the town grew.  The reason, of course, was because Hershey’s chocolate business was booming and the town needed to grow to accommodate the growing numbers of workers being hired for the chocolate factory.


View of Hershey from the chocolate factory smokestack.  ca1906-1909

View of Hershey from the chocolate factory smokestack. ca1906-1909


Hershey, of course, was much more than the chocolate factory.  Milton Hershey established a wide variety of businesses to serve the town.  Hershey Trust Company, the town’s first bank, opened in 1905.  By 1910, the trust company’s business was outgrowing its original home.  Milton Hershey asked noted Lancaster architect, C. Emlen Urban, to design a building appropriate for the town’s financial institution.  His design for the new building incorporated classical elements to reflect the importance of its primary occupant.


Titzel Construction Company construction crew stands in front of the future Hershey Trust Company.  1913

Titzel Construction Company construction crew stands in front of the future Hershey Trust Company. 1913


On August 20, 1912, workers broke ground for a new bank building at the intersection of Cocoa and Chocolate Avenues.  Various construction setbacks delayed the completion of the building for almost a year.  The building finally opened in the summer of 1914.


Archival collections hold many documents that trace the path and delays of construction.  If you’re in town, stop in and check out the new exhibit.

Following in your father’s footsteps?

Henry Hershey standing in front of his greenhouse, 1900

Henry Hershey with an experimental pear tree, 1900


Milton Hershey’s father, Henry Hershey, is a bit of an enigma.  Henry Hershey came from a well-to-do Lancaster County Mennonite farming family.  As the first-born (he had six siblings!), he should have been the responsible child, shouldering family responsibilities and following in his father’s footsteps as a successful farmer.


However, Henry Hershey did not fit the mould as a typical first born child.  His heart was not in farming but in learning, not something particularly valued by his practical and prosperous father.  It appears that Henry tried to satisfy both his father and himself and ended up failing at both goals.


You have to wonder how Milton Hershey was influenced by his father’s experiences and failures.  Would he have had the opportunity to discover his passion for candy-making if he had been the son of a successful, prosperous farmer such as his grand-father rather than the son of a dreamer who chased rainbows but never found the pot of gold at the end?


Learn more about Henry Hershey at the Archives’ website.

Things old are new again: Hershey’s Modern Office Building

Hershey Chocolate Corporation Modern Office Building, 1935

Hershey Chocolate Corporation Modern Office Building, 1935


People who regularly drive through Hershey on Rt. 422 (Chocolate Avenue) have noticed all the construction and reconstruction taking place at the original chocolate factory.  Included in this project is construction work being done to the building at 19 East Chocolate Avenue, a structure also known as the Windowless or Modern Office Building.  Completed in 1935, this building served as the corporate headquarters for Hershey Chocolate for over forty years.  Today, this building is the heart of The Hershey Company’s operational offices.


When the building was constructed, much of the world was struggling under the financial stress of the Great Depression. Jobs were lost as businesses retrenched.  In Hershey, there was a different experience.  Milton Hershey responded to the economic upheaval with a construction program.  During the 1930s, many of Hershey’s monumental structures were built, including Hotel Hershey, Milton Hershey School’s Catherine Hall (then the Junior-Senior High School), the Community Building (14E), Hershey Sports Arena and the Modern Office Building for the Hershey Chocolate Corporation.


Milton Hershey’s great interest in innovation and experimentation shaped the design of this new office building.


Original plans for the building called for a conventional design with windows and awnings.  As the foundation was being dug, Milton Hershey became intrigued with the idea of a windowless facility.  Such a design would dramatically increase the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems.  At Mr. Hershey’s direction, architect/builder D. Paul Witmer, quickly drew up new plans and construction continued without any delay.


Under construction:  Hershey's Modern Office Building.  1935

Under construction: Hershey’s Modern Office Building. 1935


The building was constructed of locally quarried limestone.  Construction began in the fall of 1934 and was completed in December 1935.


The building was a real testament to Hershey skills and ingenuity.  The building was designed and built by the Hershey Lumber Company (Paul Witmer serving as its manager).  Certain interior building products were installed by the Hershey Department Store.


There was quite a bit of excitement regarding the opening of the new office building.  Hershey Chocolate Corporation hosted a public open house on December 28, 1935.  Almost 14,000 people attended during the day long event.  The Hotel Hershey Highlights noted that the open house commenced at 9:00 a.m. and doors didn’t close until 9:00 p.m.


Printed for the building's open house, the booklet described many of the bulding's unique features.  1935

Printed for the building’s open house, the booklet described many of the bulding’s unique features. 1935


Visitors received a booklet, printed by the chocolate factory print shop, describing the building’s special features.  In particular, the booklet described the building’s interior plan, its atmosphere:

“Conditioned air, dust free,”

lighting, flooring, ceilings, walls:

“The room devoted to calculating machines and other noisy equipment has its walls of the same special acoustic plaster as is used on the lobby ceiling,”


Hershey Chocolate Corporation; Payroll record keeping department.  ca.1935-1940

Hershey Chocolate Corporation; Payroll record keeping department. ca.1935-1940


furniture, and telephone system:


“communicating facilities are provided between all office and the plant by dial telephones” and messenger service: “special small box type elevators connect the Receiving Department with the Mailing Desk.  A pneumatic tube system connects the Traffic Department with the Shipping and Stock Rooms of the plant for the rapid, safe delivery of all orders.”


Today the building is in the midst of major renovations to make it a functional and modern (once again) office space for The Hershey Company.



Celebrating Christmas


Each year Hershey Chocolate Corporation decorated its office building with lights for th holiday season.  ca.1963

Each year Hershey Chocolate Corporation decorated its office building with lights for th holiday season. ca.1963


Later this week, Hershey will gather in front of the Community Building on (14E) Chocolate Avenue to mark the beginning of the holiday season with the lighting of the community Christmas tree.


This is tradition stretches back to 1915. That year the Hershey’s Mother’s Club was inspired to put up the community’s first Christmas tree.  The idea for having a community Christmas tree may have been inspired by a community tree first erected in New York City’s Madison Square in 1913.


The Hershey Press announced the erection of a community Christmas tree in its 12/13/1915 issue.

The Hershey Press announced the erection of a community Christmas tree in its 12/13/1915 issue.


 The article noted that the lighting ceremony would be held that evening at 7 p.m. and would include carols sung by the school children and a time for singing by the attendees. 


Hershey Press, 12/30/1915

Hershey Press, 12/30/1915


As the next week’s issue of the Hershey Press noted, the event was highly successful.  Over 200 attended, a significant number when you remember that the entire town’s population was only 1500 people.


With that simple, last minute plan to erect a community Christmas tree, a long-lived tradition was born.  While at times the tradition was interrupted or altered because of world wars, each Christmas holiday season Hershey gathers together to celebrate the season.  To learn more, visit the Hershey Community Archives.



 Text of the 12/23/1915 Hershey Press article:

Will Be Located at Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues and Will Be Beautifully Illuminated—-

Exercises Thursday Evening: at 7 O’clock—Committee

Hershey is to have a community Christmas tree! 
At the meeting last week the Mothers’ Club took up the suggestion of Miss Margaret Langworthy and appointed the president, Mrs. Ezra F. Hershey, to put the idea into execution. There was not much time for the work, but Mrs. Hershey secured the co-operation of James B. Leithiser, and he promptly enlisted the facilities of the Hershey Improvement Company. James Millard was asked to secure the tree, and as this issue of the Press is being printed the tree is being carried to the chief comer, of the town and installed for the great holiday. It is a superb cedar, and it will be wonderfully illuminated by many electric lights placed under the direction of Mr. Hull.

Everybody is invited to join in the affair. The exercises will be held Thursday evening at 7 o’clock, and the whole town, with invited guests from the surrounding country will be present. No long program will be attempted. There will be a short speech and then Christmas carols by the school
children and choruses by the assembled men, women and children. It will be a genuine old-fashioned time and it is expected to be the main event of the Christmastide.
The Mothers’ Club is doing great work for the children.