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Archive for April, 2013

Restoring a legacy: Hershey Foods Corporation and High Point Mansion

Golfers putting at the new Hershey Country Club golf course's 18th hole.  Milton Hershey's home, High Point, served as the clubhouse.  1933

Golfers putting at the new Hershey Country Club golf course’s 18th hole. Milton Hershey’s home, High Point, served as the clubhouse. 1933

 

In 1930 Milton Hershey donated his home, High Point, to the newly organized Hershey Country Club to serve as its clubhouse.  The house continued to serve as the Country Club Clubhouse until 1970 when the Club moved to a new facility on Derry Road. 

 

High Point Mansion served as the Hershey Country Club clubhouse until 1970.

High Point Mansion served as the Hershey Country Club clubhouse until 1970.

 

High Point sat vacant until 1977 when it was acquired by Hershey Foods Corporation to serve as a corporate headquarters.  Bill Dearden, CEO of Hershey Foods Corporation, described his motivation for using Milton Hershey’s home as the company’s headquarters in his 1989 oral history interview:

 

The building called High Point, which was Mr. Hershey’s home, was almost sacred ground, as far as I was concerned.  It was his home.  Many of his major decisions in developing the business over the years were made right here by him.  They were talking about making it into a museum or they were going to make it into something else.  There was also the thought of tearing it down.  I just couldn’t believe in my own mind that we would even think that way. 

 

The house was in poor condition and the project presented some real challenges.  Hershey Foods needed to take a gracious, though run-down, home and make it functional for a corporate office while respecting the historical nature of the building.  

 

High Point's First Floor, prior to 1977 renovations

High Point’s First Floor, prior to 1977 renovations

91022 B1 F16

High Point 2nd floor plan, prior to 1977 renovations

 

 

The Archives’ collections include pre-renovation floor plans, photos and feasibility studies for transforming High Point for business use.  Several design options were considered, including ones that would use the attic space for corporate offices.

 

 With a $2 million budget, Hershey Foods Corporation made extensive renovations to the building to make it functional as an office building.  While many of the porches had to be removed due to the high cost of repair, the main part of the first floor was kept largely intact, preserving the architectural integrity of the house.

 

High Point staircase, after 1977 renovations by Hershey Foods Corporation

High Point staircase, after 1977 renovations by Hershey Foods Corporation

 

 The company used High Point for their executive offices until 1991 when they relocated to a new corporate headquarters located just north of Hershey.

Hershey Rotary Club Auction

The 2013 Hershey Rotary Auction kicks off with a "Heads or Tails" contest.  4/13/2013

The 2013 Hershey Rotary Auction kicks off with a “Heads or Tails” contest. 4/13/2013

 

Hershey Rotary Club just held its annual auction last Saturday.  First held in 1968, the auction is the major fundraiser for the Rotary Club who uses the profits to fund its donations to the Hershey Volunteer Fire Company and countless other local organizations. Last week’s Auction was held at the Hershey Lodge, in one of the ballrooms.  A cash bar, hor d’oeurves and a silent auction preceded dinner and a live auction featuring trips, electronics, athletic events and Hershey memorabilia and other collectibles.

 

The original auction was a much difference event.

 

Registration desk at the annual Hershey Rotary Club auction.  4/22/1982

Registration desk at the annual Hershey Rotary Club auction. 4/22/1982

 

 Hershey Rotary Club’s Auction in 1968 was a community affair.  Club members and the community were asked to donate antique, collectible and new items for the Club to auction.  In addition, the Derry Township Police Department donated all the unclaimed bicycles collected during the preceding year.  Carnival games were set up to entertain children and picnic food was available for sale.  In 1968 Rotary was still a male only organization.  The wives of members were known as “RotaryAnns.”  The RotaryAnns contributed to the Auction providing a wider variety of baked goods for sale.

 

 

Good food for sale at the Hershey Rotary Club auction, 4/22/1982

Good food for sale at the Hershey Rotary Club auction, 4/22/1982

 

 

Since the Hershey Volunteer Fire Company was the primary beneficiary, they also contributed to the Auction by bringing a fire truck to the site.  Children (of all ages) were invited to sit in the truck and free rides were offered as well.

 

View from the Auctioneer's podium, Hershey Rotary Club Auction, 4/22/1982

View from the Auctioneer’s podium, Hershey Rotary Club Auction, 4/22/1982

 

 

At first, the Auction was held in the Stadium.  After the Hersheypark Maintenance and Service Center was built in 1976, the event was moved there.  To learn more about the history of the Hershey Rotary Club, visit the Archives’ website.

New exhibit: Hershey in 1963

Did you know that the Archives has a space for small exhibits in the lobby of The Hershey Story?  Located right next to the entrance to the Zooka Cafe, the exhibit case provides the Archives the opportunity to highlight its collections and use them to tell some of Hershey’s amazing stories. 

 

This morning I installed the latest exhibit about Hershey in 1963.  While people probably didn’t realize it at the time, 1963 was a pivotal year for Hershey.  Just consider this.  During 1963:

 

  • Hershey Chocolate Corporation acquired the H.B. Reese Candy Company
  • Hershey Trust Company, Trustee for Milton Hershey School Trust Fund, received permission to donate $50 million to Penn State University for the purpose of establishing/building a medical college and teaching hospital.
  • Hershey Estates opened Highmeadow Campground.
  • Cocoa Avenue Plaza, a new recreational center that featured a swimming pool with a retractable roof, was given to the community by Hershey Chocolate Corporation.
  • New streetlights in the shaped of wrapped and unwrapped Kisses chocolates were installed along Chocolate Avenue.

 

All these events foretold significant future changes in Hershey: both  for the businesses and the community.

If you live in the area, come check out the new exhibit.  It’s free!