The Design Company.

You can change this area in header.php

Special Sidebar

You can add any content in this area by go to
Admin->Design->Widgets->Sidebar4

Archive for the ‘Derry Township School District’ Category

Creating a Legacy: Milton S. Hershey’s trust fund for Derry Township public schools

Mourners paid their respects at Milton Hershey's gravesite, Hershey Cemetery. 10/16/1945

Mourners paid their respects at Milton Hershey’s gravesite, Hershey Cemetery. 10/16/1945

 

Milton Hershey passed away on October 13, 1945 in Hershey Hospital. While he had placed the bulk of his fortune into a trust for the Milton Hershey School in 1918, his continued financial success during the rest of his life created an estate valued at almost $900,000. Mr. Hershey’s will directed that his estate be used to create another trust fund.  This one would benefit Derry Township’s public schools.

 

Rarely sentimental, Milton Hershey’s will will directed that all his personal belongings be sold at auction, with the proceeds to be added to his estate. To comply with his wishes, an auction was held at the Community Building on Monday and Tuesday, December 17-18, 1945.

 

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945, reverse side

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945, reverse side

 

Many protested the sale, wanting to keep his personal belongings intact. They argued that his possessions, which included furniture, rugs, linens, draperies, framed photographs, books, paintings, multiple sets of flatware and dinnerware, and his personal jewelry, belonged in the Hershey Museum. Apparently his executors, William F.R. Murrie, Ezra Hershey, and William H. Earnest, agreed. While the bulk of his personal belongings were sold at auction, the furniture that had filled Milton Hershey’s second floor apartment at the Hershey Country Club (High Point) was removed from the sale and Hershey Estates purchased these items. For many years the furniture was exhibited at the Hershey Museum as a memorial to Milton Hershey.

 

Some of the items from Milton S. Hershey's estate that were sold at auction on December 17-18, 1945.

Some of the items from Milton S. Hershey’s estate that were sold at auction on December 17 & 18, 1945.

 

The Milton S. Hershey Estate auction was held in the Community Building Social Room. There were afternoon and evening sessions with a large attendance of buyers and the simply curious. It appears that there was something for everyone. The auction flyer highlighted large collections of Cauldron, Coalport and Dresden china, rare ivory pieces, cut glass, bronze statuary, silverware, oil paintings, linens and fine furniture. The Auction was handled by L.J. Gilbert and Son, Lebanon, PA auctioneers.

 

The sale raised just over $17,000 helping to create an Testamentary Trust Fund endowment of about $900,000. Since its creation the trust fund has made semi-annual payments to the Derry Township School District with the goal of helping to mitigate public taxes paid in support of Hershey’s public schools.

Bringing educational innovation to Hershey

The school year started that year on Monday, August 24, 1914.  Hershey public schools had been growing rapidly since Milton Hershey opened his chocolate factory in 1905.  Milton Hershey’s vision for changing the shape of public education in rural central Pennsylvania was first hinted at when he urged the Derry Township School District to establish a public high school, even though there was no town and farming was the predominant industry.

 

That high school opened in 1905, and while the graduating classes were small at first (2 students were in the first graduating class), the student body expanded along with the town.

 

Even though the McKinley School was enlarged in 1911, the school district quickly outgrew the expanded building. Enlarging the McKinley School was part of the school district’s plan to centralize and eliminate the rest of Derry Township’s 14 one room schools.   The paint had barely dried on the walls when Hershey realized that a new larger school was needed.  In 1912 Hershey announced plans to build a new school building that would permit the rest of the one room schools to be closed.

 

 

 

 

Construction for Hershey's new "Central School" began in 1913.

Construction for Hershey's new "Central School" began in 1913.

 

 

Construction began in 1913 with plans that the building would be ready for the start of the 1914-1915 academic year.  The building was completed in time and school year commenced on August 24 with 600 children enrolled.

 

 

 

M.S. Hershey Consolidated School opened Monday, August 31, 1914

M.S. Hershey Consolidated School opened Monday, August 24, 1914

 

 

The modern building was built with room to spare.  Its capacity was 850 students.  The modern facility featured 18 school rooms for grades kindergarten through 12th.   The school also included separate lunch rooms for boys and girls, a library, gymnasium, music room and play rooms for recess when the weather was bad.

 

I stand here very happy that I have been able to do what I have done for the public schools of Derry Township.  Milton S. Hershey, remarks at dedication ceremony, October 18, 1914. 

 

The building was dedicated on Tuesday, October 18, 1914.  The date of the ceremony was scheduled to permit the attendance of state educational leaders.  As a community event, more than a thousand people toured the building prior to the ceremony.  The program began at 1:30 p.m. and featured music provided by the Hershey Band, speeches by the School Board president, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Internal Affairs, and greetings from area school superintendents.

 

In their remarks, speakers  lauded the building  for its innovation and the opportunities it offered to the students.  Milton Hershey was praised for his generosity.  As the Hershey Press newspaper wrote in its summary of the event: 

 

 It was more, far more, than the dedication of a building–it was the dedication of an idea.  It is doing today what will be done tomorrow in all parts of the United States, the combining of small schools into central institutions fully equipped for the instruction of the boys and girls and with the advantages which the Hershey School offers.

M.S. Hershey Consolidated School

This week, thousands of Derry Township students returned to school, something that children have been doing in this township since the 1800s.

‘Tis education forms the common mind

Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined

Alexander Pope, British poet, 1732

I found this quote in the Hershey Press.  It was part of an editorial published July 9, 1914.  The editorial was praising the completion of a new school building for Hershey, the M.S. Hershey Consolidated School, that would open that fall.  The addition of the Consolidated School was a remarkable accomplishment for a town only 11 years old.  And it was all due to Milton Hershey’s vision for his model community.

Greiner School, a one-room school in Derry Township, PA.  ca.1900

Greiner School, a one-room school in Derry Township, PA. ca.1900

When Milton Hershey returned to Derry Township to begin construction of his  chocolate factory, 14 one-room schools dotted the township.  During the 19th century, in rural areas like Derry Township,  education was limited to one-room schoolhouses.  Milton Hershey, who spent part of his childhood here,  attended 3 of those schoolhouses as a young boy.  The short school year and Milton Hershey’s lack of interest resulted in a very uneven education.  His experience was not unusual.

Milton Hershey as a seven year old boy, 1864.

Milton Hershey as a seven year old boy, 1864.

By the time Milton Hershey was an adult and developing his new town, he knew that the future success of his model community would depend upon the success of future generations of residents.  He recognized that investing in public education was key to that success.

Named for the recently slain United States president, McKinley School enabled the School District to establish a township high school.  ca.1906

Named for the recently slain United States president, McKinley School enabled the School District to establish a township high school. ca.1906

His commitment to public education began even before the Hershey Chocolate factory was completed.  In 1904 he donated land and money to the Derry Township School District to encourage them to build a high school for his new community (even though he couldn’t know for certain how many children would be available to attend).  It was a gamble.

But Milton Hershey’s dreams for his community became real and the town grew.  The numbers of students increased rapidly.  The first school building, McKinley School, consolidated 4 one-room schools and established a formal high school program.  The School District quickly outgrew the building.

McKinley School, ca.1910-1914

McKinley School, ca.1911-1914

In 1911 McKinley School  was enlarged.  By 1912 it was clear that a new school building was needed.  The growth of the community and the student population provided Milton Hershey with an opportunity to implement an innovative educational program.

Next time:  Bringing Educational Innovation to Hershey

One last gift. . .

 In 1944 Milton Hershey signed a new will and testament to replace the one he had created in 1909, before he had transferred his fortune to the Milton Hershey School trust fund.  The new will and testament was a brief, two page document.  It provided that most of  his “estate, real, personal and mixed,” should be put into a new trust fund. 

At the time of his death his estate consisted of the wealth that he had accumulated since his endowment of  the Milton Hershey School trust fund in 1918.  The beneficiary of this new trust fund would be the Derry Township School District.  Milton Hershey had been very supportive of the community’s public schools during his lifetime and he wanted to provide an enduring legacy for them.  The purpose of the new trust fund would be for “assisting the Township to relieve tax burden for the upkeep and maintenance of the Township’s public schools.”  In making these plans, Milton Hershey was particularly unsentimental.  His will directed that his personal belongings should be auctioned and the proceeds added to the new trust fund.

 

 

 

A mourner pays his respects at Milton Hershey's gravesite, October 16, 1945

A mourner pays his respects at Milton Hershey's gravesite, October 16, 1945

 

 

 

Following his death on October 13, 1945, his executor, the Hershey Trust Company, made plans for a public auction of his estate. 

 

 

 

 

Poster advertising the Milton S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17-18. 1945

Poster advertising the Milton S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17-18. 1945

 

 

 

 

 Complying with Milton Hershey’s wishes, the auction was held at the Community Building on Monday and Tuesday, December 17-18, 1945.  Several Hershey executives protested the sale, wanting to keep his collection intact.  They argued that his personal belongings, which included furniture, rugs, linens, draperies, framed photographs, books, paintings, multiple sets of flatware and dinnerware and his personal jewelry, belonged in the Hershey Museum.  Apparently his executors, William F.R. Murrie, Ezra Hershey and William H. Earnest, agreed.  While the bulk of his personal belongings were sold at Auction, the furniture that had filled Milton Hershey’s apartment at the Hershey Country Club (High Point) was removed from the sale and Hershey Estates purchased these items.  For many years the furniture was exhibited at the Hershey Museum as a memorial to Milton Hershey.  Today while much of the furniture is in museum storage, a few pieces are on exhibit in The Hershey Story and at Milton Hershey School’s Founders Hall.

 

The Auction was held in the Community Building Social Room. There were afternoon and evening sessions with a large attendance. It appears that there was something for everyone. The Auction flyer highlighted large collections of Cauldron, Coalport and Dresden china, rare ivory pieces, cut glass, bronze statuary, silverware, oil paintings, linens and fine furniture. The Auction was handled by L.J. Gilbert and Son, Lebanon, PA auctioneers. The sale raised just over $17,000 and when added to Milton Hershey’s financial holdings the sale proceeds helped to create a trust fund endowment valued in 1945 at about $900,000.

 

Since its creation the Milton S. Hershey Testamentary Trust fund has made semi-annual payments to the School District with the goal of helping to underwrite the expense of Hershey’s public education program.  Today the Milton S. Hershey Testamentary Trust Fund is valued at about $23.9 million and Derry Township School District receives about $1.8 million a year to support its budget.

 

Hershey Community Archives is a rich resource with many resources that document Milton Hershey’s life.  The Paul Wallace collection includes a variety of archival material that documents Mr. Hershey’s life.  Click this link to view the finding aid for this collection.

Working in Hershey, part 3

Hershey altered its hiring policies when needed.  Employment guidelines were often overlooked and ignored when the need for employees was great.  During World War II Hershey experienced a significant shortage of male employees as most men enlisted or were drafted into service.  Women and teenagers who were often underage were hired to fill those vacancies.  Even though he was underage Bill Cagnoli  found work as a bellhop at the Hotel Hershey.

Well, I remember I took a job during World War II. There was such a shortage of workers during World War II in Hershey, that at the age of 13 and a half or 14, I went to the Hotel Hershey to be a busboy and a bellhop. Even though you had to be 16 and have a working permit, Hotel Hershey hired me because they were so desperate for help. As tall as I am now, that’s how tall I was when I was 14 and 15. I didn’t grow from that age on, you know, but I was very tall. So anyway, they saw how tall I was and big I was. They assumed I would pass for 16. They falsified my age, or I falsified it, or however. We didn’t even put down the age.

 

Hotel Hershey's first bellman, Al McKinney, stands ready to greet guests.  1933

Hotel Hershey's first bellman, Al McKinney, stands ready to greet guests. 1933

 

Sometimes Hershey employers ignored age restrictions when they knew that the family need was great.  Hershey was a small town and the public school and Hershey Chocolate Corporation often cooperated with each other helping students find work.  Sam Tancredi, whose father was an invalid, began working part-time to help support his family when he was only 8 years old.  With the help of the School District  he left school at age 15 to take a full time job at the chocolate factory.

 

It was mostly through the efforts of Mrs. Murrie, the wife of the then President of the Chocolate Company, that I obtained a job. Apparently, she had become aware of the family need and stepped in to help. . . .On April 16, 1929, my 15th birthday, [Mr. A. M. Hinkle], the Principal of our school, called me into his office and told me that he was happy that I was 16 years of age and could get a working permit so I could go to work to help the family. I said several times that I was 15 years old, not 16, but he paid no attention to me.

Derry Township School District, Granada Avenue school complex.  Hershey Junior-Senior High School in foreground.  1925

Derry Township School District, Granada Avenue school complex. Hershey Junior-Senior High School in foreground. 1925