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Archive for October, 2014

Making a difference: Hershey Optimist Club

Hershey is fortunate to have several service organizations. While clubs have come and gone, they all exist to provide opportunities for individuals to make a difference in their community.

 

Hershey YMCA and the Busy Men's Doggy Bow-Wow at a dinner held at the Hershey Cafe. 3/1913

Hershey YMCA and the Busy Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow at a dinner held at the Hershey Cafe. 3/1913

 

The Archives is fortunate to have the records of a number of different service organizations that have operated in Hershey. Some are still going strong, while others have passed away.  To learn more about the community collections held by the Archives, follow this link.

 

Hershey Optimist Club members practice for an upcoming event at the Little Theater in the Community Building. ca1962-1963

Hershey Optimist Club members practice for an upcoming event at the Little Theater in the Community Building. ca1962-1963

 

The Hershey Optimist Club was founded in 1954, when it was sponsored by the Lebanon Optimist Club. An initial organizational dinner was held on May 5, 1954 with 13 prospective members in attendance. On May 19, 16 charter members attended the organizational meeting and elected officers.  By the time the charter closed on June 2, Hershey Optimist Club had 40 members. The Club held its Charter Party on September 25, 1954 at the Hershey Park Golf Club.  Regular meetings thereafter were held in the Community Building dining room.

 

Junior hockey team sponsored by the Hershey Optimist Club.  Coach Arnie Kullman is pictured on right. ca1960-1970

Junior hockey team sponsored by the Hershey Optimist Club. Coach Arnie Kullman is pictured on right. ca1960-1970

 

The Club has always focused its efforts towards helping and supporting the youth of the community. During its long years of operation, the Hershey Optimist Club sponsored youth athletic teams and programs promoting safety, education, respect for the law, and civic duty in Hershey’s youth. Over the years, Hershey Optimists sponsored a variety of programs including Bike Safety Week, the Oratorical Contest, the Respect for Law program, Boys Work projects, and Youth Appreciation Week.

 

In recent years the Hershey Optimist Club struggled to attract new members. In 2007 the club’s charter was revoked and the chapter was officially closed.

 

The Hershey Idea

Milton Hershey envisioned building a community in which all the parts were interwoven.  He built a model town for the workers of chocolate factory AND the workers in the businesses he established to provide services to make the town an attractive and functional place to live.

 

His desire to share his approach to business was communicated in recurring articles in the local weekly newspaper, The Hershey Press

 

Hershey's Progressive Weekly, July 10, 1913.  page 10

Hershey’s Progressive Weekly, July 10, 1913. page 10

 

For a short while, Milton Hershey even considered publishing a monthly magazine, to be titled, “The Hershey Idea.” Plans for the magazine were laid out in a full page ad that appeared in the Hershey Press.

 

The magazine promised to “attach the oppressions of dishonest Capitalism and the unjust assaults of Labor upon Capital. . .” It would include political and economic news in an “absolutely unbiased and judicial manner.”  It would also have a short story section.  The advertisement noted that the magazine’s first issue would be published in September 1913.

 

We don’t know why, but the magazine never materialized.

 

However, “The Hershey Idea” continued as an important philosophy of how Milton Hershey conducted business.

 

Team Work Sells the Hershey Idea.  Memo issued to all Hershey employees.  1938

Team Work Sells the Hershey Idea. Memo issued to all Hershey employees. 1938

 

The 1938 memo outlined Milton Hershey’s vision for his community and how he hoped all the different businesses would recognize that they were part of a larger whole.  What is fascinating about the memo today is that it continues to reflect how Milton Hershey’s businesses continue to try to work together for the benefit of consumers and visitors to the town today.

 

The text of the memo follows:

 

TEAM WORK
SELLS THE HERSHEY IDEA

     Visitors coming to Hershey should readily be sold on the HERSHEY IDEA as our facilities and attractions are not to be excelled.

      The public and our customers regard all our enterprises as one institution. This places a real responsibility on all enterprises alike because any lack of courtesy or efficiency in any one enterprise almost certainly reflects into every other enterprise in the customers mind and patronage. This applies impressively to customers and residents of Hershey.

     This element means greatly accumulated results for good or bad. Any customer lost by one enterprise for any reason of times produces a total loss of patronage for all other enterprises of the whole institution.

     We must depend almost entirely for creating the proper atmosphere by real efficient service and the co-operation of all enterprises.

Signed M.S. Hershey

 

A Neat Folder.
This can be made effective if you will sign and distribute to every clerk in the Hershey Department Store, down the line, including the Hershey National Bank.

Building Hershey: C.Emlen Urban

 

C_Emlen_Urban

C. Emlen Urban, 1863-1939. (Image courtesy of LancasterHistory.org)

 

This Sunday (October 5, 2014) The Hershey Story and the Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society are hosting a special walking tour of our downtown.  The tour will highlight some of the many buildings designed by noted architect, Cassius Emlem Urban, better known as Emlen to his friends. Mr. Urban was responsible for the design of some of Hershey’s most iconic buildings, including the Convention Hall, High Point and the Hershey Press Building.  It is remarkable to think that when you walk down Chocolate Avenue, much of what stands was designed by one architect.

 

Chocolate Avenue, 2007

Chocolate Avenue, 2007

 

So how did a Lancaster born and bred architect come to play such an important role in shaping the physical look of Hershey?

 

Cassius Emlen Urban (1863-1939) was born in Conestoga Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  After graduating from Lancaster’s Boys High School, he apprenticed as a draftsman at a Scranton architectural firm before returning to Lancaster in 1886.  That was the same year Milton Hershey also returned to establish the Lancaster Caramel Company.

 

Watt & Shand Department Store, Lancaster, PA. ca1905. Designed by C.Emlen Urban

Watt & Shand Department Store, Lancaster, PA. ca1905. Designed by C.Emlen Urban

 

Like Milton Hershey, Urban’s career quickly took off as he received commissions to design what became many of Lancaster’s signature buildings: Southern Market on Queen Street (1886), Watt and Shand Department Store (1898), and St. James Lutheran Church parish House on Duke Street (1903).

 

While Urban and Hershey must have at least  been aware of each other due to their close ages and similar status as members of Lancaster’s most notable young business owners, they also met socially through the Hamilton Club, a private men’s club, established in 1889 by some of Lancaster’s most prominent business and political leaders.  Milton Hershey was invited to join in 1893, a sure sign of his growing prominence in the Lancaster business and social circles.  Through the Hamilton Club, Milton Hershey established and nurtured relationships that became invaluable when he began making plans for his new chocolate factory and the model community that would surround it.

 

C. Emlen Urban played a significant role shaping the look of the community.  Urban was responsible for the design of all the new town’s major buildings constructed between 1903 and 1926:

 

Hershey Chocolate Factory, postcard view. 1909

Hershey Chocolate Factory, postcard view. 1909

 

List of C. Emlen Urban designed buildings in Hershey:

1903    Original Hershey Chocolate Company Offices and Factory    (demolished 1931)

1905    Cocoa House (1 Chocolate Avenue) (demolished 1963)

1908    High Point

1910    McKinley Building 1910 expansion (demolished 1928)

1914    M.S. Hershey Consolidated Building

1914    Hershey Trust Company (1 W. Chocolate Avenue)

1915*  Community Building and Hershey Theatre (14 E. Chocolate Avenue)

1915    Convention Hall

1916    Hershey Press Building

1909-1916       Mansions along Chocolate Avenue

 

*Urban was also responsible for the design of the Community Building and Theatre, even though the structure was not constructed until 1932.  The designs and the intent to construct it was announced in the Hershey Press newspaper in 1915.  The United States’ entry into World War I delayed the start of construction.  A variety of financial and business related obstacles delayed the start of construction until 1928.