1909: Hershey, with big plans for its future, was still a modest community of about 250 people. While the chocolate factory employed several hundred people, most of the workers lived in the surrounding communities, using the Hershey trolley system to travel to work each day. Hershey Park was essentially a community park, the only ride a small, second-hand merry-go-round that had been installed next to the baseball field the preceding year. Housing construction was underway, but available housing was extremely limited. Milton and Catherine Hershey had just moved into their new home, High Point, the previous year.
Milton Hershey’s aspirations for the expanding community included a newspaper. On September 3, 1909, the first issue of The Hershey Press, a weekly paper, was printed. Published through 1926, with a brief interruption in 1917 during World War I, The Hershey Press promoted the community, encouraged readers to support causes and new ventures and documented the events of the community and its residents.
Periodically I’ll be posting excerpts from The Hershey Press, following the centennial of their original publication.
Some background: The first issue of The Hershey Press was printed on Friday, September 3, 1909. An annual subcription to the weekly paper cost $.75. The first issue was 8 pages and covered a broad range of topics: a review of recent events, a history of Derry Presbyterian Church, a report of the Hershey Family Reunion held at the Park, baseball scores, jokes, as well as advertisements (both Hershey owned businesses and other) and a map of the community. The paper also introduced a column titled “Hershey Briefs” which offered updates on the activities of community residents and others, a precursor to today’s Facebook status entries. This column was one of the newspapers most enduring parts of the paper.
Check back often to learn more about the activities of Hershey 100 years ago.
P.S. If you can’t wait, The Hershey Press can be viewed online through a link on the Archives’ website.