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