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Archive for October, 2015

HersheyArchives@30-29: What’s New?

Occasionally, someone asks: “What is the oldest item in the archival collection?” But no one has asked, “What is the most contemporary item in the collection?” Researchers often equate archives with pre-twentieth century materials such as handwritten deeds or manuscripts written on parchment. However, Hershey Community Archives’ holdings are largely comprised of twentieth century records and, increasingly, twenty-first century records.

 

The Archives regularly receives sales and marketing materials from The Hershey Company announcing new product launches.

The Archives regularly receives sales and marketing materials from The Hershey Company announcing new product launches.

 

The Archives receives regular transfers of records from the corporations and organizations whose historical records we manage, such as The Hershey Company, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, Hershey Area AARP, and the Derry Township Senior Citizen’s Council. Contemporary records, yes even those that date from 2015, are currently held by the Archives.

 

Hershey Area AARP newsletter from March-April 2015.

Hershey Area AARP newsletter from March-April 2015.

 

These selected contemporary records have what is called “archival value,” meaning the records have enduring value based on their historical usefulness or significance, that justifies their continued preservation. The records are collected quickly after they are produced so that they are less likely to be lost, causing a break in the documentary record.

 

Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar wrapper chronology. Regular transfer of records helps lessen the likelihood of breaks in the documentary record.

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper chronology. Regular transfer of records helps lessen the likelihood of breaks in the documentary record.

 

By collecting contemporary records, the Archives can provide a comprehensive institutional history or document the development of a particular event.

 

Contemporary records illustrate how ZooAmerica’s Creatures of the Night has evolved since its beginning.

Contemporary records illustrate how ZooAmerica’s Creatures of the Night has evolved since its beginning.

 

Archivists have an obligation to future researchers and the organizations they serve to collect and preserve contemporary records so they are available when a need arises. The records produced in 2015 and transferred to the Archives are already “archival” and have historical value. The records will help tell or illustrate an institution’s history 50 years from now or perhaps just a few years from now.

 

HersheyArchives@30-28: The Wonderful World of Chocolate: Hershey’s Chocolate World

Hershey’s Chocolate World brochure, ca1973

Hershey’s Chocolate World brochure, ca1973

 

Hershey began offering tours of its chocolate factory shortly after the factory opened.  By 1915, visitors could register for a tour at the town’s Visitor Bureau, located in the Cocoa House, on Chocolate Avenue.

 

In 1928, the factory began keeping formal statistics about factory tours.  A factory tour was a popular part of a visit to Hershey.

 

Hershey Chocolate factory tour. At the end of the tour, visitors received free samples of chocolate and cocoa milk. ca1950-1960

Hershey Chocolate factory tour. At the end of the tour, visitors received free samples of chocolate and cocoa milk. ca1950-1960

 

By 1970, almost one million people were touring the factory each year.  The factory was not designed to handle so many people.  So many visitors were causing traffic jams downtown, overwhelming the building capacity and creating risks for product safety.

 

Ken Bowers, who came to Hershey Foods Corporation in 1970 to head up the public relations department, remembered that a task force had been assembled to determine how best to address the challenge of a factory tour that had outgrown its capacity.  He recalled that the committee considered three options:

 

One, to simply terminate the tour program, because it had gotten to the point where it was creating problems for the plant.  It was creating problems traffic-wise, congestion-wise for downtown Hershey.  And there were plenty of other corporations who had had tours that were beginning to lop them off and close them and it would not have been setting a new precedent.  So that was a very real possibility. 

A second big possibility was to do rather extensive renovation in order to keep that tour program, by putting it, perhaps, into the ceiling of certain of the rooms so it would not interfere with production, with glass-enclosed walkways or something where people could not potentially throw things into the vats of chocolate, etc. 

And, of course, the third basic choice was to develop something new, different elsewhere, a mini factory kind of thing.  Those were the three things that were discussed at great length, with a considerable amount of research attached to each one.

 

While the option to simply discontinue the factory tour was one of the options, it was not seriously considered.  Hershey Foods Corporation recognized the great value the tour offered in terms of consumer relations and it was particularly important in a town like Hershey, which had a strong orientation towards tourism. Likewise, it was quickly realized that the factory would not lend itself to being remodeled to accommodate touring guests.

 

Even after deciding to build a new facility a number of decisions remained.  Should it be a model factory, actually producing product or should Hershey build a facility that would lend itself to longer hours of operation and be attractive to a broader audience. Deciding between these two options was not a simple matter.  The task force spent considerable energy debating the pros and cons of building a model factory versus visitor center that could explain how Hershey produced its milk chocolate.

 

Visitor Tour Task Team Final Recommendation Report, 5/21/1970.

Visitor Tour Task Team Final Recommendation Report, 5/21/1970.

 

The task team’s final recommendation was to “establish [a] Visitors Tour Facility in the general area of the existing Park/Stadium complex.” Acting on the task team’s recommendation, Hershey Foods decided to build Hershey’s Chocolate World, a corporate visitor center that could welcome the millions of people visiting Hershey each year and would teach visitors how Hershey’s milk chocolate is made in a fun and informative way.

 

2C109-3thb

Hershey’s Chocolate World original design featured a tour ride, retail area, café, and an historical display. 1970

 

Hershey Foods Corporation hired R. Duell & Associates to develop concept and design plans for the new visitor center. The firm was already working on design development plans for Hershey Park’s modernization and expansion. By employing the same firm, Hershey Foods Corporation was able to benefit from R. Duell & Associates already acquired understanding and knowledge of the general site and better coordinate how the two facilities might best interact with each other. R. Duell & Associates played a significant role shaping the direction and scope of Hershey Foods’ new visitor center.

 

Hershey’s Chocolate World, ca1973

Hershey’s Chocolate World, ca1973

 

The new visitor center was located near Hersheypark’s newly constructed “tram circle.”

 

Chocolate World’s tour ride showed visitors how Hershey’s milk chocolate was manufactured. 1973

Chocolate World’s tour ride showed visitors how Hershey’s milk chocolate was manufactured. 1973

 

Hershey’s Chocolate World also included displays devoted to company history. 1973

Hershey’s Chocolate World also included displays devoted to company history. 1973

 

Hershey Chocolate World’s retail area was themed to suggest a village in a tropical jungle. 1973

Hershey Chocolate World’s retail area was themed to suggest a village in a tropical jungle. 1973

 

Plans called for the visitor’s center to illustrate the steps necessary for manufacturing chocolate, from growing and harvesting cocoa beans, through the manufacturing steps to produce Hershey’s milk chocolate. Plans also called for an enlarged retail area, a small café and gift shop, and a company history display.

 

The last public Hershey Chocolate factory tour was held June 29, 1973 and the new Hershey’s Chocolate World opened the next day.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-27 Hershey’s Kiss Streetlights

Hershey’s unique Kiss shaped streetlights can be found all along Chocolate Avenue. ca1970-1973

Hershey’s unique Kiss shaped streetlights can be found all along Chocolate Avenue. ca1970-1973

 

Each year millions of people visit Hershey, drawn by Hershey’s many attractions, including its streetlights.  Seriously!

 

Hershey’s streetlights are unique. The lights along Chocolate Avenue, Hershey’s main street, are shaped like wrapped and unwrapped Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates. They’ve been a part of the community’s landscape since 1963, when Hershey Chocolate Corporation president, Samuel Hinkle, suggested that the town improve its downtown lighting with a unique style of streetlights.

 

Hershey News, 12/26/1963

Hershey News, 12/26/1963

 

Sam Hinkle realized that Hershey’s street lighting was not adequate. During his travels he took note of how other towns were lit and he directed the chocolate corporation’s electrical engineer, Don Chubb, to study the problem and make some recommendations. Sam Hinkle added an additional condition to the project: he wanted the streetlights to be uniquely “Hershey.”

 

It was an unusual project and Don Chubb had vivid memories that he related in his 1999 oral history interview. Chubb recalled a meeting that Hinkle called to discuss new lighting for the town:

 

Mr. Hinkle made the statement that he wanted his town relighted . . . I said, “Well, the only way you can have street lighting like that is to get some manufacturers to come up with some prototype fixtures.”

 

[Hinkle asked] “How do we do that?” 

 

Well, the three major manufacturers were Westinghouse, General Electric, and Line Material.  So we talked to all three of them and asked if they would make up a prototype fixture, and in the process, I told each of them that the only thing that lends itself at all toward a streetlight is the chocolate Kiss, the Hershey Kiss, mainly because of the shape and it’s like a globe overtop of an incandescent bulb.

 

The three manufacturers each submitted a prototype lighting fixture and Chubb had them set up in a field near the Hershey Stadium. The light selected was designed by Line Material. As Chubb recalled:

 

The one from Line Material is basically the one that we have today.  They took the whole idea of a chocolate, or a wrapped Kiss, and made molds for it, made forms to spin them, and made them out of aluminum. Everyone, as soon as they saw it, [said] “Hey, that’s what we want.” 

 

Sam Hinkle was very pleased, except he said, “Can’t you take that [Kiss plume] and have it rotate like a weathervane?”  “Sure, probably no problem.”  Contacted them [Line Material], they said, “Oh yeah.” 

 

 

Once the final designs were approved, Chubb and his team developed a lighting plan for all of Chocolate Avenue and a portion of Park Avenue.

 

The new Kiss-shaped streetlights were officially lit and dedicated on December 23, 1963.

The new Kiss-shaped streetlights were officially lit and dedicated on December 23, 1963.

 

The lights were officially lit and dedicated in a brief ceremony on December 23, 1963. Sam Hinkle was so closely associated with the project that the lights were soon christened “Hinkle’s Twinkles.”

 

Today there are 107 streetlights (55 wrapped, 52 unwrapped) on Chocolate Avenue, and eight Kiss streetlights on Park Avenue between Chocolate Avenue and the railroad bridge. The Hershey Company has also installed them at each of their manufacturing plants.

 

#HersheyArchives@30