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Archive for the ‘Hershey Estates’ Category

Cultivated for Pleasure: History of Hershey Conservatories

 

Entrace to Hershey Park, ca1920-1930

Entrace to Hershey Park, ca1920-1930

 

Landscaping and beautification of grounds and property was always a priority for Milton and Catherine Hershey. The community of Hershey was noted for its extensive garden beds, as well as the lush lawns and trees that were planted throughout Hershey. Catherine Hershey took particular responsibility for the gardens surrounding their home, High Point, personally supervising the placement and planting of the flower beds.

 

To protect the tropical plants that enhanced Hershey’s landscaping and offer residents and visitors a respite from the cold winter months, Milton Hershey directed that greenhouses or conservatories be built in the community.

 

Hershey conservatories were used year round.  In the winter, they housed the many tropical plants and trees that beautified Hershey Park during the warm weather months, as well as the zoo’s birds and reptiles that could not tolerate Pennsylvania’s cold winter months. Visitors enjoyed visiting the conservatories to see the plants and wildlife. The conservatories were also used to propagate seedlings and cuttings that were planted in Hershey’s extensive garden beds each spring.

 

HIGH POINT CONSERVATORY

 

High Point mansion conservatory, ca1909-1918

High Point mansion conservatory, ca1909-1918

 

Hershey’s first conservatory was built in 1909, as an accompaniment to Milton and Catherine’s home, High Point.  Visitors and residents were welcome to tour the conservatory as well as the grounds.  The conservatory was removed circa 1928, when the grounds were redeveloped as a golf course.

 

HERSHEY PARK CONSERVATORY (1910)

 

Hershey Park's first conservatory was built close to the park main entrance. ca1915

Hershey Park’s first conservatory was built close to the park main entrance. ca1915

 

 

The next conservatory was built soon after the first was completed. Opening in 1910, the first Hershey Park conservatory was located near what was then the main entrance to the Park in the vicinity of what is today ZooAmerica’s Southern Swamps exhibit.

 

 

During the winter months,  conservatories were used to propagate seedlings for the ourdoor flower beds. ca1910

During the winter months, conservatories were used to propagate seedlings for the ourdoor flower beds. ca1910

 

By 1915, the Zoo’s bear enclosure adjoined the building. The conservatory was removed around 1924 in anticipation of the Hershey Estates Greenhouse.

 

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HERSHEY PARK CONSERVATORY (1914)

 

In 1914, a second Hershey Park conservatory was built in the middle of the quickly expanding Zoo. Shortly after it opened a portion of the building was used by the Zoo for their primate enclosure.

 

Hershey Park conservatory was renovated as an enclosure for the zoo's birds in the 1930s. ca1934

Hershey Park conservatory was renovated as an enclosure for the zoo’s birds in the 1930s. 1934

 

The building is now home to ZooAmerica’s Great Southwest exhibit.

 

Hershey Estates Greenhouse, ca1935-1940

Hershey Estates Greenhouse, ca1935-1940

 

 

HERSHEY ESTATES GREENHOUSE (1930)

 

Hershey’s last public conservatory and greenhouse was built in 1930. The Hershey Estates Greenhouse was constructed on the north side of the railroad underpass on Mansion Road.

 

Hershey Estates Greenhouse, 1931

Hershey Estates Greenhouse, 1931

 

Removed in 1961, portions of the structure were reclaimed in 1998 and used in the construction of The Butterfly House at Hershey Gardens.

 

MILTON HERSHEY SCHOOL (Hershey Industrial School) GREENHOUSE (1919)

 

Hershey Industrial School (Milton Hershey School) boys spell out “H E R S H E Y” in front of the school greenhouse. 1923

 

Hershey Industrial School (now Milton Hershey School) also built a greenhouse for the use of its students in 1919. The greenhouse was located adjacent to the Homestead, Milton Hershey’s birthplace. Hershey Industrial School students used the greenhouse as part of the horticultural curriculum. Students cultivated plants for retail sale. In 1961, the greenhouse was relocated to the School’s farm Rosemont, where it remained in use until 1992.

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@30-15 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.

 

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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

Taking to the skies: Hershey Air Park

Hershey Chocolate store window display, ca.1930-1932

Hershey Chocolate store window display, ca.1930-1932

By the 1930s, air travel had moved from fantasy to reality for more and more people.  Small airfields seemed to be popping up everywhere as various government departments worked to encourage a network of air fields across the United States.  In addition to providing landing strips for private airplanes, these air fields provided mechanical repairs and maintenance, as well as offering flying lessons and sight-seeing tours.  With Hershey’s emergence as a regional destination in the 1930s, it was only a matter of time before Hershey had its own air field.

During the last years of World War II, the Pennsylvania Aeronautics Commission, represented by William Anderson,  encouraged communities across the state to build local airfields. In respond to growing numbers of people who wanted air service to and from Hershey and those who wanted the opportunity to view Hershey from the air, Hershey Estates opened the Hershey Air Park on July 31, 1944.

 

Hershey Air Park, 6/28/1946

Hershey Air Park, 6/28/1946

 

The original air field was located across the street from Hershey Park and just below the Hershey Rose Garden.  An unnamed road separated it from Hershey Park.  Until this point the road had been referred to as the access road to Route 22.  It was now officially named:  Airport Road.

 

To manage the air park, Hershey Estates selected Herbert Erdman, a World War II pilot and the son of Harry Erdman, Hershey’s horticulturist and manager of the Hershey Nursery.

 

The Air Park offered a variety of services, including airplane storage in hangers, flying lessons and sight-seeing tours.

 

Hershey Air Park, 1950

Hershey Air Park, 1950

 

The local sight-seeing flights lasted from 10 to 60 minutes and cost $2.00 to $7.50.  A ten-minute flight provided an overview of Hershey.  The hour long sight-seeing trip took passengers throughout the Lebanon Valley and included Harrisburg, Elizabethtown, Cornwall and Fort Indiantown Gap.

 

Planes were also available for rent at the rate of $7.00 per hour.

 

Harry Williamson, manager of Hershey Air Park, ca.1951-1973.

Harry Williamson, manager of Hershey Air Park, ca.1951-1973.

 

About 1951-1953, Harry Williamson became the manager of Hershey Air Park. Under his management, the air park expanded with additional hangers for the storage of private airplanes whose owners rented space for their aircraft. Williamson also represented Piper aircraft, selling airplanes.  He served as manager until 1972-1973.

 

Plane landing at Hershey Air Park, ca.1960-1980

Plane landing at Hershey Air Park, ca.1960-1980

 

The Air Park was a popular addition to Hershey’s amenities and was featured frequently in Hershey News articles.

 

The Air Park was enlarged in 1965. That year a small mound was removed and the runway was expanded to 3000 feet and paved.

 

About 1972-1973 Bob Mumma leased the Air Park.  The air park was renamed Derry Aire.  The lease passed to someone else a few years later.

 

It closed on January 31, 1981.  Without an air park located along the road, Airport Road was renamed Hersheypark Drive in March 1981.

 

When you drive along Hersheypark Drive now, you can still see remnants of the air park.  Today the area is used for overflow parking, the Antique Auto Show in October and the Pennsylvania State Police trainees use it to practice their driving skills.

Riding the Rails: Hershey Park’s Miniature Railway

The miniature train carried passengers over Spring Creek to the ball fields located on the far side of the park. ca.1916.  Note the carrousel building in background.

The miniature train carried passengers over Spring Creek to the ball fields located on the far side of the park. ca.1916. Note the carrousel building in background.

 

When Hershey Park first began operating, it was a community park with picnic tables, playgrounds for children, ball fields, a bandstand, a small concession stand and a pavilion that was used for vaudeville style performances, dances and other events.  Visitors came to enjoy a picnic, stroll the paths along Spring Creek, listen to a band concert and perhaps take in a baseball game.

 

Hershey Park’s first amusement ride, a second-hand merry-go-round was installed in 1908.  The following year, the park continued to expand with a new amphitheatre with seating for 2000. Hershey Park was quickly emerging as a summer destination.

 

The starting point for the miniature railway was located near the intersection of Park Avenue and Park Boulevard, not far from Hershey's railroad station and downtown Hershey. ca.1925-1935

The starting point for the miniature railway was located near the intersection of Park Avenue and Park Boulevard, not far from Hershey’s railroad station and downtown Hershey. ca.1925-1935

 

Milton Hershey purchased a miniature electric railway for the 1910 Park season.  Problems with installation delayed its opening until September 5, 1910.  The 22-inch gauge railway was built by the Lancaster Iron Works, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  At the time it was built, the little one-of-a-kind railway was considered a technological achievement.

 

The dark line highlights the route of the Miniature Railroad. 1913

The dark line highlights the route of the Miniature Railroad. 1913

 

The ride connected the ends of the Park.  The train line started at the intersection of Park Avenue and Park Boulevard and traveled around the edge of the park ending by Hershey Park’s ballfield.  The train line had no loop so the line had only one train.  The cars could carry up to thirty passengers and the seats had movable backs so that passengers would always travel facing forward.  The fare was five cents for a one way ride.  People enjoyed the ride because it was more than an amusement ride, it was a fun way of traveling to a variety of Park attractions.

 

By 1913 the ride passed by the carrousel, the Hershey Ballroom, and the boating pond.  In later years, passengers could disembark at the entrance to the Hershey Park swimming pool and sunken gardens.

 

In later years, passengers used the railway to reach the Hershey Museum.  ca.1955-1965

In later years, passengers used the railway to reach the Hershey Museum. ca.1955-1965

 

The miniature railway was dismantled after the 1971 season.  That year, Hershey began a multi-year project to modernize the park as a themed amusement park.  In 1971, a fence went up surrounding park rides and attractions but most of the miniature railway continued to operate outside of the fence.  While Hersheypark initially planned to relocate the railway inside the park grounds, those plans were never realized.

 

For more information about the Miniature Railway, read Technology Meets Entertainment:  Remembering the Hershey Park Miniature Railway, by Ron Rhoads, Jr. 2007.  A copy is available in the Archives’ library.

Looking Back: Hershey Park Kiddie Week

One of the first Kiddie rides added to Hershey Park was a children’s boat ride.  ca.1926-1935

One of the first Kiddie rides added to Hershey Park was a children’s boat ride. ca.1926-1935

 

 

Rides specially designed for children began to be added to Hershey Park beginning in 1926.  That same year Hershey Park featured its first Kiddie Day.   Children 12 years old and younger could register and receive a ticket that would give them free rides and special treats.

 

In 1929 Hershey Park expanded its Kiddie Day to an entire Kiddie Week that was held each year in late August.  In addition to the expanded time, special entertainment was scheduled at the Bandshell for the week.  Kiddie Week was part of Hershey Park’s summer  events through 1972.

 

Kiddie Week was a highlight for many Hershey children.  Millie Coyle Landis remembered:

Even though the entrance to the park was free, you still had to pay for the rides.  But that didn’t bother us.  We just went and watched other people have fun on the rides.  [Laughter]  But on kiddies’ day, I remember getting in line and waiting for a strip of tickets, and you got ten tickets and you had these free rides, and you could go every day for the whole week.  That was the big thing for us when we were kids.  [Laughter]

The merry-go-round was there.  That was the most favorite one.  I remember airplane rides, The Bug, the Fun House.  There were some [tickets] that nobody even used.  They used to throw them away.  You could find them laying there.  Like at the zoo.  Nobody went to the zoo.  There was a zoo ticket on there, and nobody went to the zoo.  [Laughter]  I don’t remember.  They were mostly the children’s rides.  They weren’t big things, anything that cost like over ten cents.  I think the biggest thing was The Bug and the carousel and the airplane rides.   There was something called the Whip.  The roller coaster was not on the strip.  No, it wasn’t.  No, it was just the cheap rides.  [Laughter] 

 

Baby Parade in progress at the Hershey Sports Arena.  1950

Baby Parade in progress at the Hershey Sports Arena. 1950

 

As Kiddie Week grew in popularity, Hershey Park expanded the program.  In 1936 Hershey introduced its Baby Parade.  The first Baby Parades were held in Ocean City, New Jersey.  The seaside baby parades were held on the boardwalk and served as an ingenious way for proud parents to brag about their children without offending anyone.

 

Hershey’s Baby Parade began at the Miniature Railroad Station as children under five years old either walked or rode on parade throughout the Park and concluded by crossing the Bandshell floor to the music provided by the Hershey Community Theatre Orchestra.

 

Hershey Park General Manager, George Bartels, presents the cutest baby award to Kyle Ann Katzenmoyer.  1956

Hershey Park General Manager, George Bartels, presents the cutest baby award to Kyle Ann Katzenmoyer. 1956

Hershey Park Baby Parade, ca.1950-1960

Hershey Park Baby Parade, ca.1950-1960

Hershey Park Baby Parade, 1955

Hershey Park Baby Parade, 1955

 

There were a variety of prizes including ones for cutest baby, fanciest baby carriage, best fancy costume, most original decorated carriage, fattest baby and best comic costume.  Beginning in 1947 the Baby Parade took place in the Sports Arena.

 

The Baby Parade was eagerly anticipated by many.  Local resident, Helen (Menicheschi) Cappelli, shared some vivid memories of the Baby Parade:

 

They really didn’t have [Baby Parades] when I was a little girl, but my children were involved in it.  My Elaine, she won a prize.  Yes, I remember I had her dressed in a little lavender dress with pink bows in her hair.  Then her little doll cart, we decorated that with the same colors that she was wearing, and she won a prize.  Yes, she did.  I remember that day.  It was a pretty hard day, because it was in the afternoon and it was her nap time.  So, oh, my goodness, she really carried on, you know.  See, they kept on bringing them back up on the bandstand, you know, to walk around, to choose the ones that were supposed to get the prizes, so they called her up and they called her up.  Oh!  This didn’t go over well with her.   So finally, they chose.  But she got the prize.

Baby Parades and Kiddie Week were discontinued after the 1972 season.   Hersheypark was actively being redeveloped as a themed amusement park and many traditional park events were no longer offered.

 

A Bird’s Eye View: Hershey’s Monorail

Visitors line up to tour the Hershey Chocolate Factory.  ca.1964-1967

Visitors line up to tour the Hershey Chocolate Factory. ca.1964-1967

 

This weekend is exceptionally busy in Hershey.  The band, One Direction, has brought 1000s to Hershey.  Between the band and Hershey’s regular high volume numbers of visitors during the summer season, the roads are jammed!  This is nothing new for Hershey.  Every summer residents resign themselves to heavy traffic caused by tourists drawn to Hershey and its many amenities.  Back in the 1960s, Hershey tried to address the challenge of summer traffic.

 

By the late 1960s, traffic on Chocolate Avenue during the summer months was overwhelming.  Tourists wanting to tour the Chocolate Factory and visit the park often created traffic jams.  Downtown parking was limited.  To ease congestion Hershey Estates and Hershey Chocolate Corporation agreed share the costs of constructing a Monorail that would link Hershey Park and downtown Hershey. 

 

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The monorail connected downtown Hershey with the Park complex. 1969

 

The route chosen highlighted attractions at the Park, Zoo and provided a bird’e eye view of downtown.  The route was designed to be convenient to community residents as well as visitors.  There were two stations, one by the Sports Arena and one at the north end of the building at One Chocolate Building.  People could board the train at either station.

 

PA Secretary of Commerce Robert Mumma and Miss Pennsylvania Trudy Pedersen cut the ribbon at the Monorail dedication.  June 20, 1969

PA Secretary of Commerce Robert Mumma and Miss Pennsylvania Trudy Pedersen cut the ribbon at the Monorail dedication. June 20, 1969

 

Pennsylvania Secretary of Commerce, Robert M. Mumma, and Trudy Pedersen, Miss Pennsylvania, 1969, cut the ribbon at the June 20, 1969 dedication ceremony.   The monorail operated during the peak tourist season and the ride cost $.50.  The monorail continued to operate as a separate attraction until 1973 when the factory tours ended.  The ride was incorporated into the new Hersheypark as a scenic ride.

 

People wait to board the Monorail at the Arena station.  8/1969

People wait to board the Monorail at the Arena station. 8/1969

You scream, I scream, We all scream for ice cream!

Hershey Creamery was a popular stop for ice cream during a visit to Hershey.  ca.1940

Hershey Creamery was a popular stop for ice cream during a visit to Hershey. ca.1940

 

When the outdoor temperature rises, ice cream comes immediately to mind.  Thankfully, Hershey has always been a place to get great homemade ice cream.  Milton Hershey believed in finding a use for everything.  The Hershey Chocolate factory needed skimmed milk for making milk chocolate.  The Lebanon Creamery, which opened in  1905 processed the milk for shipping to the factory and bottled milk and cream for retail sales.  It also made cottage cheese and ice cream.  When a creamery or “model dairy” was built in Hershey in 1929, it also began processing milk for retail sale.  Located next to Hershey Park it was a popular destination for Park visitors, Ballroom dancers and swimmers at Hershey Park Pool.

 

Fred Mazzoli, interviewed in 1990 for the Archives’ oral history program, had many memories of making ice cream at the Hershey Creamery.  He started out at the creamery in 1932 as a 14 year old working a summer job.  He had a knack for fixing machines and for making ice cream.

 

Listen to his story:

 

 

 

Audio transcript:

Well, first of all, I was pretty handy with machinery up in the factory [sic] [creamery].  They had an Eskimo pie machine, and they could never get it to work.  So there was a fellow that we knew, a fellow by the name of Capreni.  He worked in the creamery, because he had worked in the creamery in the factory.  So they sent him down to the Hershey creamery department to work because he knew something about the machinery.  So he got me a job and I went to work there.  In no time at all, they needed somebody to make ice cream, so I took up the ice cream.  They made it in some departments there.  From there we started making Eskimo pies, and I was handy with the mechanic part of the Eskimo pie machine.  That’s how I started making ice cream. 

 

I went to Penn State for a couple of weeks, for instruction, something like that, in creamery work, but when I went up there, I had started decorating ice cream with whipped cream.  When I went up there, I was doing this decorating, and that gave them another idea to teach up there.  So I really was hired down there to operate the Eskimo pie machine, and from then on I took over that whole ice cream department, and I was in charge of the ice cream department until I quit and come up here and work here [Mazzoli Ice Cream].

New exhibit: Hershey in 1963

Did you know that the Archives has a space for small exhibits in the lobby of The Hershey Story?  Located right next to the entrance to the Zooka Cafe, the exhibit case provides the Archives the opportunity to highlight its collections and use them to tell some of Hershey’s amazing stories. 

 

This morning I installed the latest exhibit about Hershey in 1963.  While people probably didn’t realize it at the time, 1963 was a pivotal year for Hershey.  Just consider this.  During 1963:

 

  • Hershey Chocolate Corporation acquired the H.B. Reese Candy Company
  • Hershey Trust Company, Trustee for Milton Hershey School Trust Fund, received permission to donate $50 million to Penn State University for the purpose of establishing/building a medical college and teaching hospital.
  • Hershey Estates opened Highmeadow Campground.
  • Cocoa Avenue Plaza, a new recreational center that featured a swimming pool with a retractable roof, was given to the community by Hershey Chocolate Corporation.
  • New streetlights in the shaped of wrapped and unwrapped Kisses chocolates were installed along Chocolate Avenue.

 

All these events foretold significant future changes in Hershey: both  for the businesses and the community.

If you live in the area, come check out the new exhibit.  It’s free!