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Archive for June, 2015

HersheyArchives@30-17 Meet you at the movies: Seeing Wonders

 

Specially sized postcards promoting the town of Hershey were included with Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars. ca1915-1920

Specially sized postcards promoting the town of Hershey were included with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars. ca1915-1920

 

While he did not make use of print or radio media advertising, Milton Hershey was interested in promoting his model town and its amenities and attractions. He believed that the town and the chocolate business were intertwined and promoting one benefited the other.

 

Milton Hershey was an innovator and was inspired by new ideas and methods.

 

The immense popularity of movies in the 1930s encouraged Milton Hershey to experiment with them to promote his model community, and his chocolate business.

 

Hershey hired Don Malkames, a successful filmmaker from Hazelton, Pennsylvania, to create a film about Hershey.

 

In 1932, “The Gift of Montezuma” was released.  Distributed to public schools and community groups across the United States, this film told the story of Milton Hershey’s model town, the process of making milk chocolate and the beneficiary of Hershey’s success, Hershey Industrial School (today Milton Hershey School).

 

The following year, buoyed by the success of his first film, Milton Hershey decided to make a second film.  Once again directed by Malkames.

 

 

Unlike “Gift of Montezuma,” this short (less than 11 minutes) film, “Seeing Wonders,” was more like a travelogue. The film promoted Hershey as a model town and a destination. Significantly, Lowell Thomas, a nationally known broadcaster, was tapped to narrate the film.

 

“Seeing Wonders” celebrated Hershey’s continued growth and success during a period of national economic collapse. The film was designed to inform, inspire and encourage viewers to visit Milton Hershey’s model town.

 

 

The movie takes viewers on a tour of the model town’s comfortable homes and happy children.  The newly built Hershey Community Building, with its extensive recreational facilities is highlighted.

 

 

Hershey Park’s extensive recreational facilities were also featured including the zoo, amusement rides, entertainment, and recently built swimming pool.

 

 

The movie was filmed just after The Hotel Hershey opened.  In his narration, Lowell Thomas referred to The Hotel Hershey as “a palace, a palace that out-palaces the palaces of the maharajas of India.”

 

 

Throughout the movie, there are continual references to the Hershey Industrial School and the boys that are being cared for there.  As Lowell Thomas notes, the school “is the real meaning of the city that is a dream come true.”

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-16 Building a year round destination for entertainment: Hershey Theatre

Hershey Theatre, opening weekend program, September 1-4, 1933

Hershey Theatre, opening weekend program, September 1-4, 1933

 

In 1915, Hershey had his architect, C. Emlen Urban, draw up plans for a new community building.

 

Architect's drawing, Hershey Community Building. 1915

Architect’s drawing, Hershey Community Building. 1915

 

The building was to include a dining room, cafeteria, gymnasium, swimming pool, assembly rooms, a dormitory, a hospital, and two theaters: a small theater for local productions and a large, 2000 seat professional theater.  Groundbreaking was scheduled for early 1916 but the arrival of World War I delayed the start of the project.  The architect’s plans were put away and virtually forgotten.

 

Community Building and Theatre construction crew, 5/6/1932

Community Building and Theatre construction crew, 5/6/1932

 

As the 1930s Great Depression overwhelmed the country’s economy, Milton Hershey responded to the economic crisis by initiating a local building program, better known as the Great Building Campaign.  Hershey’s building boom provided employment for over 600 workers who otherwise would have been unemployed and built many of this community’s most impressive structures.

 

Hershey Theatre, Auditorium outer wall elevation. 12/30/1931. Origianl drawing by architect C. Emlen Urban

Hershey Theatre, Auditorium outer wall elevation. 12/30/1931. Origianl drawing by architect C. Emlen Urban

 

The original 1915 plans for the Community Building and Theatre were dusted off and workers broke ground in 1928.  Work was completed in 1933. Hershey dedicated its new Community Center and Theatre, during the town’s thirtieth anniversary celebration held September 1-4, 1933.

 

Hershey Theatre stage, with fire curtain visible. 1934

Hershey Theatre stage, with fire curtain visible. 1934

 

Hershey Theatre was built just about the time that New York City’s Radio City Music Hall was constructed.  That performance hall’s stark art deco’s design stands in sharp contrast with Hershey Theatre’s interior.  Since the Theatre was built from plans developed 18 years earlier, its design more closely resembles the opulence of early twentieth century theaters.

 

Hershey Theatre Grand Lobby, ca1935

Hershey Theatre Grand Lobby, ca1935

 

The grand lobby is a lavish entrance to a romantic, European space. The lobby floors are laid with polished Italian lava rock.  Four different types of marble shape the walls and arches.   Solid brass doors open to the inner foyer, with its intricate blue and gold mosaic ceiling, patterned after St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, Italy.

 

In the orchestra, or main level of the auditorium, the theatre’s design theme is fully revealed as the grand style of Venice, Italy. The six-ton fire curtain features a painting of the city of Venice, with its Grand Canal slowly flowing past Doge’s Palace.  The Theatre’s ceiling was specially constructed to create the illusion of being in an outside space.

The Theatre features a four-manual 78 rank Aeolian-Skinner concert organ.  The organ’s more than 4,715 pipes and 25 bells are concealed behind the French doors of the front balconies facing either side of the stage.

 

Hershey Theatre, opening weekend program, September 1-4, 1933

Hershey Theatre, opening weekend program, September 1-4, 1933

 

To showcase the new Theatre, a series of concerts, lectures and performances were scheduled throughout the weekend. The celebration began with a grand organ dedication and recital on Friday, September 1.

 

Hershey Theatre, opening weekend program, inside pages. September 1-4, 1933

Hershey Theatre, opening weekend program, inside pages. September 1-4, 1933

 

The next day, Saturday, was the Community Theatre’s official opening day.  The program, a popular movie with a vaudeville revue was offered three times during the day.  The first movie shown at the theatre was “Pilgrimage” with Henriette Crosman, Norman Foster, and Marion Nixon.

 

The vaudeville show featured nationally popular singers, comediennes, dancers and acrobatics.  The show also featured “The Hersheyettes,” promoted as “a line of Beautiful Girls:” sixteen dancing girls performing precision routines.

 

Sunday, September 3, 1933, the celebration was a bit more serious with then Secretary of Agriculture (later Vice-President of the United States) Henry A. Wallace offering remarks at the official dedication ceremony. The theatre was overflowing, necessitating loudspeakers to carry the message to the crowd outside.  The gala weekend festivities concluded on Labor Day with three more movie/vaudeville performances.

 

To learn more about the history of the Hershey Theatre, visit the Archives website.

 

HersheyArchives@30

 

 

 

HersheyArchives@30-15 Hershey Bears: Champions in Every Decade

 

Hershey B’ars game program. 12/13/1933. The program includes an announcement of the formation of the EAHL.

 

Hershey Bears hockey fans were disappointed their Bears did not advance in the Calder Cup tournament this year, but Bears fans know their team is a team of champions.  Milton Hershey recognized hockey’s popularity in early 1931, constructed an ice rink, sponsored a team, and by 1936 built a new sports arena with a seating capacity of approximately 7,200 to house all the fans.

 

Hershey Convention Hall was completed in 1915, but it wasn’t until 1931 that an ice plant and rink were installed allowing the building to be utilized during the winter months.  The Ice Palace, as the building became known when the ice rink was operating, quickly became the playing surface for teams from as far away as Philadelphia.

 

An ice rink was installed in the Hershey Convention Hall during the winter of 1930-1931.

An ice rink was installed in the Hershey Convention Hall during the winter of 1930-1931.

 

During the 1932-1933 season the Tri-State League was formed and featured the Hershey B’ars as one of the league clubs.  The next season the Tri-State League reformed to the Eastern Amateur Hockey League (EAHL).  The Hershey B’ars began to outgrow the Ice Palace and as the team transitioned to the newly completed Hershey Sports Arena in 1936 their name was changed to the less commercial Hershey Bears.

 

Hershey Bears ice hockey team with ice skater Sonja Henie. 1/18/1937

Hershey Bears ice hockey team with ice skater Sonja Henie. 1/18/1937

 

At the conclusion of the 1937-1938 season the Bears won their third straight EAHL title and the United States Amateur Championship.  It was also their last year in the amateurs.  Hershey was granted a franchise in what was then known as the International-American Hockey League, now just known as the American Hockey League (AHL), in June 1938.

 

In the AHL the Hershey Bears continued to play well and reached the playoffs their first eight seasons in the league.  In 1946-1947, the Bear’s ninth season, they took home their first Calder Cup after being down three games in the series and winning the seventh game with a 5-0 shutout against the Pittsburgh Hornets.  Replacement goalie Gordon “Red” Henry, who had played only five regular-season games, allowed only one goal in the three final games of the series.

 

Hershey Bears goalie, Gordon "Red" Henry, ca1946-1955

Hershey Bears goalie, Gordon “Red” Henry, ca1946-1955

 

The Bears have won a championship in every decade since their organization.  After their initial victory in the Calder Cup tournament, the Hershey Bears have gone on to win eleven total to date.   In 2002, their fans transitioned with them from the “Old Barn” to the Giant Center, a 12,500-seat arena.  Mr. Hershey realized hockey was a popular attraction and today Hershey is proud to be the longest consecutive running club in AHL history.

 

Championship Seasons

 

1935-1936:

 

Hershey B’ars win their first Eastern Amateur Hockey League Championship under the leadership of coach Herb Mitchell.

 

1936-1937:

 

Hershey Bears win their second Eastern Amateur Hockey League Championship under the leadership of coach Herb Mitchell.

 

1937-1938:

 

Hershey Bears win their third straight Eastern Amateur Hockey League Championship under the leadership of coach Herb Mitchell.

 

1937-1938:

 

Hershey Bears defeat the Detroit Holzbaugh-Fords to win the United States Amateur Championship.

 

1946-1947:

 

Hershey Bears win their first Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of Coach Don Penniston.

 

1957-1958:

 

Hershey Bears win their second Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of player-coach Frank Mathers.

 

1958-1959:

 

Hershey Bears win their third Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of player-coach Frank Mathers.

 

1968-1969:

 

Hershey Bears win their fourth Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of general manager-coach Frank Mathers.

 

1973-1974:

 

Hershey Bears win their fifth Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of coach Chuck Hamilton.

 

1979-1980:

 

Hershey Bears win their sixth Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of player-coach Doug Gibson.

 

1987-1988:

 

Hershey Bears win their seventh Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of coach John Paddock. This success completes the team’s 50th Anniversary season.

 

1996-1997:

 

Hershey Bears win their eighth Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of coach Bob Hartley.  Mike McHugh is named Most Valuable Player of the Playoffs.

 

2005-2006:

 

Hershey Bears win their ninth Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of coach Bruce Boudreau.  Goalie Frederic Cassivi is named Most Valuable Player of the Playoffs.

 

2008-2009:

 

Hershey Bears win their 10th Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of coach Bob Woods.  Goalie Michal Neuvirth is named Most Valuable Player of the Playoffs.

 

2009-2010:

 

Hershey Bears win their 11th Calder Cup Championship under the leadership of coach Mark French.  Left winger Chris Bourque is named Most Valuable Player of the Playoffs. It is the team’s first Calder Cup victory in the Giant Center.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-14 Building a Museum for Hershey: The Danner Collection

Insurance Register detailing purchase of the Danner collection, 1935-1936

Insurance Register detailing purchase of the Danner collection, 1935-1936

 

From 1903 until his death in 1945, Milton Hershey was committed to creating an exemplary model industrial town for his workers and their families. Historically, model industrial towns featured housing and an infrastructure built and maintained by a company and inhabited by the company’s workers. Milton Hershey’s vision for his model town was broader and he created a culturally rich community through the construction and continued funding of an array of educational and cultural institutions.

 

While the establishment and funding of the Hershey Industrial School (now Milton Hershey School), is well-known, Hershey’s support of education actually began with the Derry Township Public School District. Mr. Hershey funded the construction of a consolidated public school in 1904, while the chocolate factory was under construction. Over the next four decades Mr. Hershey financed the construction of additional public school facilities on Granada Avenue and established Hershey Junior College. Hershey residents also benefited from the addition of cultural attractions that were unusual for a rural Pennsylvania community, including: Hershey Zoo, Hershey Theatre, Hershey Gardens, and the Hershey Museum.

 

Hershey's first museum was located on E. Derry Road, not far from Hershey Park. ca1933-1938

Hershey’s first museum was located on E. Derry Road, not far from Hershey Park. ca 1933-1938

 

Hershey’s first museum, the Hershey Indian Museum opened in 1933 in a residential building on Derry Road adjacent to the chocolate factory. It displayed Native American artifacts collected by John G. Worth. Milton Hershey purchased the collection, wanting to establish a museum for his community.

 

The museum’s collection expanded on October 28, 1935, when Milton Hershey purchased the George H. Danner Museum Collection from Monroe M. Pfautz, Danner’s business partner, executor, and family friend to the Hershey family, for $50,000. George H. Danner, a Lancaster County native intrigued by objects from the past, collected artifacts related to everyday aspects of traditional Pennsylvania German life from the late 1800s until his death in 1917.

 

From The Hershey Story's George Danner collection: Gaudy Dutch ceramics, sunflower pattern, 1780-1820

From The Hershey Story’s George Danner collection: Gaudy Dutch ceramics, sunflower pattern, 1780-1820

 

From The Hershey Story's George Danner collection: Pennsylvania German Blanket Chest, 1792

From The Hershey Story’s George Danner collection: Pennsylvania German Blanket Chest, 1792

 

Danner’s collection featured everyday items from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; most notably, 2,000 pieces of English ceramics, glassware and textiles. The collection also contained traditional Pennsylvania German furniture and Danner family heirlooms.

 

Originally, George Danner displayed his collection on the top floor of his general store in Manheim, Pennsylvania.  Danner had hoped that his heirs would establish a proper house museum for his collection using funds from his estate. Unfortunately, this plan never came to fruition. Milton Hershey’s interest in the Danner collection was spurred by the success of the Hershey Indian Museum. Milton Hershey arranged to purchase the collection for the cultural enrichment of the community.

 

2A082-1thb

Sign advertising the Hershey Museum, placed on the side of the remodeled Convention Hall. ca 1953-1970

 

 

 

In 1938, both collections were put on display in the new Hershey Museum after it moved  into the recently renovated Convention Hall.  Hershey’s purchase of the George H. Danner Collection is merely one of many examples of Hershey’s dedication to creating a rich cultural environment for the people of Hershey, Pennsylvania.

 

Pennsylvania German living room exhibit at the Hershey Museum. 1950-1959

Pennsylvania German living room exhibit at the Hershey Museum. 1950-1959

 

The Danner Collection has been a key component of the Hershey Museum’s collection since Milton Hershey purchased it in 1935.  While the Archives holds the insurance ledger, documenting the acquisition of the collection, the artifacts and documentation of this collection continue to be held by The Hershey Story, the Museum on Chocolate Avenue.

#HersheyArchives@30