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Archive for March, 2009

Serving the Region: Hershey’s service during the Three Mile Island Emergency

The accident at Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station was the most significant accident in the history of the American commercial nuclear power generating industry. Though no one was injured, the accident caused a partial core meltdown of the Unit 2 reactor. The accident occurred just a weeks after “The China Syndrome,” a popular movie that told the story of a nuclear reactor accident. The movie served to heighten local and national fear of the nuclear accident.

 

Hershey, located ten miles away from the accident site, served an evacuation site for people living within 5 miles of the power plant. When the accident was announced, State authorities recommended that pregnant women and children evacuate the area. Hershey was designated as an evacuation site. Working with the State and the Red Cross, Hershey Estates and the Hershey Arena prepared to accommodate up to 25,000 people who lived within the radius.

 

When news of the emergency broke on the morning of March 28, 1979, Hershey Estates Arena staff were holding their weekly staff meeting. Paul Serff, then in charge of the Arena, remembered that the hockey team had been practicing on the Arena ice. Practice was cancelled and the floor was put down over the ice. Restrooms were stocked, refreshment stands were staffed just so that evacuees would be able to get water. Not knowing how many people might come, Hershey Estates was told to be prepared to host up to 20,000 people. The Stadium had been closed for the winter. Staff opened up its restrooms, because they knew that the Arena would not be able to accommodate so many people but they thought that people could at least wait in their cars and use those restrooms.

 

The Red Cross arrived in the afternoon. Cots were put up, TVs were hooked up and the Medical Center sent over staff and set up a medical station that had the capability to support labor and delivery. Though approximately 144,000 residents within a 15 mile radius of the plant evacuated the area during this crisis, most people found other places to go, whether family or friends. Over the course of the 5 day emergency, only 186 people, primarily women and children, lived at the Arena.

 

c. Hershey Community Archives, 2009

The Past is Prologue: Hershey Museum

Visitors explore the Hershey Museum's extensive collection of American Indian artifacts.  ca.1933-1938

Visitors explore the Hershey Museum's extensive collection of American Indian artifacts. ca.1933-1938

The newest incarnation of the Hershey Museum, The Hershey Story  was dedicated on January 30.  But having a museum in our community is not new.

 

Milton Hershey intended to make his community an interesting and enjoyable place to live, work, and visit. In addition to endowing a school for orphaned boys, Hershey contributed millions of dollars for the creation of first-class amenities, including a community center, hotel, botanical garden, zoo, theater, arena, stadium and museum. Milton Hershey wanted to offer the community opportunities for a wider range of experiences than might typically be available in Central Pennsylvania.

 

The first Hershey Museum, founded in 1933, was established when Milton Hershey purchased a significant collection of Native North American artifacts assembled by John G. Worth of Philadelphia. Worth, a knowledgeable collector of Native American material culture, spent many years in the American West, and served as a civilian scout during the last of the Indian Wars. The museum, known as the Hershey American Indian Museum, was housed in Dr. Martin Hershey’s former Derry Road residence, adjacent to the chocolate factory. The Museum offered visitors an opportunity to explore how different American Indian tribes lived through a varied collection of clothing, tools, baskets and containers. In an era before television, the Museum offered visitors a window to peoples and cultures very different from Hershey and helped visitors to understand that the world was a large and varied place.

 

c. Hershey Community Archives, 2009

Welcome to the Hershey Community Archives’ Blog

With the launch of the Archives’ new website, we wanted to provide an opportunity to share some of the stories behind the Archives’ rich visual collections.  While historic photographs are fun to look at, there is always a story to be told.  With each photograph we will share at least part of the story.  We welcome your input.  Please share your own memories about what the photograph represents to you.  Also, at times we will post photographs for which we are seeking more information.