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Archive for May, 2015

HersheyArchives@30-13 “Hire the Forty Men”

Over thirty men carry a single wooden support structure during the construction of the Arena. 1936

Over thirty men carry a single wooden support structure during the construction of the Arena. 1936

 

Milton Hershey launched  his “Great Building Campaign” to bolster the local economy during the Great Depression. Townspeople found work building the structures that would eventually become some of the major tourist attractions in town, (Hershey Community Building and Hershey Theatre, The Hotel Hershey, Hersheypark Arena and Stadium) and the result was a town that offered facilities and features unheard of for a community of its size.

 

The October 1929 stock market crash launched a long economic decline that grew into the worldwide Depression of the 1930s. But the town of Hershey stood in sharp contrast to much of the United States during these years. While most industries struggled to keep from shutting down, throughout the Depression Mr. Hershey’s affordable chocolate products enabled his company to enjoy sustainable sales and profits.

 

There were good business reasons for Mr. Hershey to pursue a construction campaign when he did. Prices for building supplies were at an all-time low, and the labor force was certainly available. It seemed an ideal time to revisit building projects he had delayed for years. The Hershey Community Building was originally conceived in 1915, for example, and putting a hotel up on Pat’s Hill had been planned as early as 1909.

 

Detail view of the Hotel Hershey first floor plan. Note the support column placed in the center of the circular dining room. As the plan indicates, Mr. Hershey ordered its removal. 1932

Detail view of the Hotel Hershey first floor plan. Note the support column placed in the center of the circular dining room. As the plan indicates, Mr. Hershey ordered its removal. 1932

 

But there was another driving force behind the campaign – a more altruistic one. Throughout his life, the community Mr. Hershey built around his factory remained an enduring passion. He cared deeply for “his” town and the people who lived and worked there. When the Depression threatened to bring economic disaster right to his doorstep, Milton Hershey met the challenge with his unique brand of benevolent paternalism.

 

“We have about 600 construction workers in this town,” Mr. Hershey is reported to have said. “If I don’t provide work for them, I’ll have to feed them. And since building materials are now at their lowest cost levels, I’m going to build and give them jobs.”

 

Mr. Hershey kept close tabs on these construction projects. It’s said that when the excavation began atop Pat’s Hill as the first step for building the Hotel, Mr. Hershey watched intently as two huge steam shovels tore apart the earth. His foreman told him, “These machines do the work of 40 men.” And Mr. Hershey simply replied, “Take them off. Hire 40 men.”

 

Group portrait, Hershey Community Buildilng construction crew. 1932

Group portrait, Hershey Community Buildilng construction crew. 1932

 

In addition to the major buildings, Mr. Hershey also initiated smaller projects to provide employment while developing the community, including Hershey Gardens, new rides and attractions for Hersheypark and new facilities for the Zoo were also completed during these years.

 

Mr. Hershey also used the Great Building Campaign as a time to further promote the sports of golf and hockey in town. In 1930, he started the Hershey Country Club and retained golf architect Maurice McCarthy to design what is now known as the West Course. He also opened Parkview Golf Course for the public and a nine-hole course at the Hotel. And he introduced the first golf course in the nation dedicated to junior golfers, now called Spring Creek Golf Course. The Hershey Ice Palace began hosting hockey games in 1931, and in 1936 the Arena opened. It was the first home to the Hershey Bears, now the oldest club in American Hockey League history.

 

The addition of these attractions built on the community’s image as a center for entertainment and relaxation. By the end of the decade, the town of Hershey had emerged as a nationally known tourist destination and was called “Pennsylvania’s Summer Playground.” Today the majority of the projects that began as part of the Great Building Campaign continue to exist and stand as memorials to Mr. Hershey’s vision, generosity and dedication to his town and its residents.

 

Brochure marketing Hershey as "Pennsylvania's Summer Playground." ca1940

Brochure marketing Hershey as “Pennsylvania’s Summer Playground.” ca1940

 

“As far as I know, no man was dropped by reason of the Depression,” Mr. Hershey is reported to have said. “And no salaries were cut.”

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-12 Designing a Course Fit for a Pro

In 1928 Milton Hershey Hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, 1st page.

In 1928 Milton Hershey Hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, to design 2 golf courses for Hershey. 1st of 2 pages.

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In 1928 Milton Hershey hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy to design two golf courses for Hershey. page 2 of 2.

 

Hershey’s first golf course opened in 1909.

 

Hershey's first golf course was nine holes and was located along Chocolate Avenue. ca1915

Hershey’s first golf course was nine holes and was located along Chocolate Avenue. ca1915

 

Located along Chocolate Avenue, the 9-hole golf course was built near Milton Hershey’s home, High Point. However, the chocolate factory’s continual eastward development encroached on the golf course, shrinking its size to 5 or 6 holes. Local golfers were forced to go to Harrisburg or Lebanon to play a round.

 

In the late 1920s, Milton Hershey decided it was time to bring golf back to his community. He asked his engineer, Harry N. Herr, to develop a new 18-hole course on Pat’s Hill. The site was chosen because Mr. Hershey planned to build what would become The Hotel Hershey adjacent to the course. Though he was a golfer, Herr had never designed a golf course. Undaunted, he proceeded to lay out an exceeding difficult course for the steep and hilly terrain on Pat’s Hill.

 

Drive to Pat's Hill. ca1915-1924

Drive to Pat’s Hill. ca1915-1924

 

Before construction could commence, Milton Hershey met with Maurice McCarthy, a nationally known golf architect. Hershey took him to view the proposed course on Pat’s Hill. McCarthy discouraged its construction, suggesting that it was better suited for mountain goats rather than people.

 

In 1928 Milton Hershey Hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, 1st page.

In 1928 Milton Hershey Hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, to design two golf courses for Hershey. 1st of 2 pages.

Trust001B14F33.1B

In 1928 Milton Hershey hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, to design two golf courses for Hershey. page 2 of 2.

 

Initially, McCarthy was hired to develop two courses. The first was for the soon to be established Hershey Country Club and incorporated the land of the original 9-hole course along Chocolate Avenue. The second course was the Hershey Park Golf Course along Park Boulevard.

 

Aerial, Hershey Country Club golf course. ca1930

Aerial, Hershey Country Club golf course. ca1930

 

The country club course was expected to surpass the National Golf Links of America in Southhampton, New York. The expectation was that the great tournaments would come here and Hershey would have the honor of hosting the United States Open Championship, commonly known as the U.S. Open. In 1930, Milton Hershey’s home, High Point, became the clubhouse for the new country club.

 

Aerial, Hershey Park (Parkview) golf course, 7/28/1932

Aerial, Hershey Park (Parkview) golf course, 7/28/1932

 

The second course designed by Maurice McCarthy was the Park Golf Course. Hershey Park Golf Course (later Parkview) was designed to serve as Hershey’s public course. A challenging course, incorporating Spring Creek and its surrounding hills, the Park Golf Course, was reasonably priced and popular with community residents and visitors alike. For $1.00 ($1.50 on weekends) a player was entitled to play all day. Greens fees also included swimming privileges in the Hershey Park Pool.

 

Children golfing on the links of the Juvenile Golf Course.  left to right: Virginia Phillips, watching; Helen Snavely, holding flag; Aimee Witmer, putting. 4/10/1937

Children golfing on the links of the Juvenile Golf Course. left to right: Virginia Phillips, watching; Helen Snavely, holding flag; Aimee Witmer, putting. 4/10/1937

 

The success of these courses sparked a demand for golf in Hershey. Encouraged by the public’s interest, Milton Hershey commissioned Maurice McCarthy to design and build two more courses for the community. In 1932, the 9-hole Juvenile Golf Course (today Spring Creek Golf Course) opened. This course, built around the meandering Spring Creek, was developed to serve boys and girls under the age of 18.

 

The Hotel Hershey's executive golf course. ca1935-1950

The Hotel Hershey’s executive golf course. ca1935-1950

 

The last course developed by McCarthy for Hershey was an executive 9-hole course for The Hotel Hershey. This course opened May 4, 1934.

 

With Maurice McCarthy’s help, Hershey became a mecca for golfers offering 54 holes of golf for every skill level and making Hershey the “Golf Capitol of Pennsylvania.”

 

#HersheyArchives@30