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Archive for the ‘Arena’ Category

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@30-13 “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

Skating for the Gold: 1953 United States Figure Skating Championship

What’s not to love about ice skating?  One of the highlights for me while watching the Winter Olympics is all the figure skating.  I love the beauty and creativity and greatly admire the athleticism needed to make it look so graceful.

 

Hershey Skating Club Winter Carnival, ca.1959

Hershey Skating Club Winter Carnival, ca.1959

 

Hershey also loves figure skating.  The sport has been an important sport in Hershey since the Hershey Skating Club was established in 1934.  Over the years, well-known figure skaters, including Roy Shipstad, Evelyn Chandler and Bruce Mapes have come to Hershey to work with the Skating Club and to perform in the Ice Arena.

 

National Figure Skating Championships, official program.  1953

National Figure Skating Championships, official program. 1953

 

In 1953, Hershey’s impressive facilities made it possible for the Hershey Skating Club to host the National Figure Skating Championships, often referred to as the “Nationals.”  Usually the competition is held in major cities with facilities and enough lodging to host the hundreds of skaters, their coaches and family members, over the four day event.  While Hershey was a small town, it was well acquainted with hosting large-scale events.  The competition brought national attention to the small community.

 

National Figure Skating Championships, Schedule of Events,  1953

National Figure Skating Championships, Schedule of Events, 1953

 

That year, the men’s competition was won by Hayes Alan Jenkins, who would go on to lead American male skating for four years, 1953-1956.  He also would win the gold medal in the 1956 Winter Olympics.

 

In 1953 Tenley Albright (right) won the gold medal at the United States Figure Skating Championship held in Hershey, PA.

In 1953 Tenley Albright (right) won the gold medal at the United States Figure Skating Championship held in Hershey, PA.  Silver medalist Carol Heiss is pictured left.

 

In the women’s competition, Tenley Albright continued her reign as the leading female skater in the United States, having first won the Nationals in 1952.  Her reign would continue through 1956.  That year she also would also win Olympic gold.

More information about the Hershey Figure Skating Club is available at the Archives.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

President Eisenhower slices a piece of birthday cake in Hershey.  10/13/1953

President Eisenhower slices a piece of birthday cake in Hershey. 10/13/1953

 

Hershey’s central location in Pennsylvania, its public venues and its ability to receive and house 1000s of visitors at any one moment, has made our community a natural choice for hosting a wide variety of large scale events throughout its history.

 

Many of these events have brought national attention to our town.

 

This was particularly true in 1953 when the National Republican Party hosted a birthday party for sitting President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

 

The birthday party was planned for 1000s of attendees and the celebration was held in three different venues in Hershey:  Hershey Stadium, Hershey Sports Arena and in a Barnum and Bailey Ringling Brothers Big Top Tent erected especially for the event.

 

Entrance to the Eisenhower birthday Big Top, 10/13/1953

Entrance to the Eisenhower birthday Big Top, 10/13/1953

 

While the event was organized by the National Republican Party, it was a home grown affair.

 

Program: President Dwight D. Eisenhower Birthday Party, 10/13/1953

Program: President Dwight D. Eisenhower Birthday Party, 10/13/1953

 

In the Stadium, which was open free to the public, 12,000-14,000 guests enjoyed golfing demonstrations by some of the country’s leading golfers, including former Hershey Country Club pro, Ben Hogan.  Attendees also enjoyed concerts by six Pennsylvania marching bands, including the Lebanon High School State champions.

 

The Big Top dinner was organized as a fundraiser for the Republican Party with tickets priced at $100 per plate.  The centerpiece of the decorations was a huge 24 foot high and 40 foot wide wooden “cake” containing bushels of colorful Pennsylvania fruits and vegetables.  Dinner was an original farm to table event with roast beef, mushrooms, peas, potatos and coleslaw.

 

Hershey High School’s yearbook devoted a page to remembering President Eisenhower’s birthday party. Choclatier, 1953

 

The celebration moved to the Hershey Sports Arena where guests enjoyed a slice of  cake provided by 800 women who each baked a cake for the festivities.  Cake and ice cream was served by 500 local high school girls.  The evening culminated with a musical performance written and directed by Pennsylvania’s own Fred Waring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Mr. Hershey!

Employeed honored Milton Hershey with a surprise birthday party held at the Hershey Arena.  9/13/1937

Employeed honored Milton Hershey with a surprise birthday party held at the Hershey Arena. 9/13/1937

 

Today, September 13, is Milton Hershey’s 156th birthday.  Check out a new exhibit on the Archives’ website that looks at how Milton Hershey celebrated his day.  As he got older, the celebrations grew to fill the entire Arena!

 

He shoots, he scores!

50 years ago today the Philadelphia Warriors played the New York Knickerbockers in a game held in the Hershey Sports Arena.  At that game Warrior Wilt Chamberlain scored a record smashing 100 points, an achievement that no basketball player has ever duplicated or even come close.

Little remains of the game, no ticket stubs, no video.  Fortunately there are some photos taken by Paul Vathis, an AP photographer who happened to attending the game as a fan and who rushed to his car mid-game to get his camera equipment, . 

Game program, Hershey Sports Arena, March 2, 1962

Game program, Hershey Sports Arena, March 2, 1962

In the Archives collection, there are copies of the game program and remarkably, a recording of the last 15 minutes of the historic game.  The recording was made by an enterprising college student, a Knicks fan, who listened to the game on his AM radio and was inspired to record the broadcast on his reel to reel tape recorder.

Celebrating Milton Hershey’s Birthday

 

1937 was a tumultuous year in Hershey.

 

Hershey Chocolate factory strikers are beaten as they exit the factory ending Hershey's first sit-down strike. 4/7/1937

Hershey Chocolate strikers are beaten as they exit the factory, ending Hershey's first sit-down strike. 4/7/1937

In January the CIO, a national trade union, organized Hershey Chocolate factory workers, establishing the plant’s first labor union. In April, the Hershey factory workers held Pennsylvania’s first sit-down strike following a breakdown in labor contract negotiations. Though short lived, the strike bitterly divided the town.

 

Employees honor Milton Hershey at his 80th birthday.  9/13/1937

Employees and residents honor Milton Hershey at his 80th birthday. 9/13/1937

 

As a means of healing some of the pain resulting from the strike, workers organized a 80th birthday celebration for Milton Hershey. Over 8000 people attended the party held at the Hershey Sports Arena on Monday evening, September 13. All the community’s bands performed, including both high schools, the American Legion Drum and Bugle Corps and the Community Theatre Orchestra. The speakers’ platform was surrounded by flowers, most of which were gifts from community churches and organizations.

 

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Milton Hershey wearing his 80th birthday ring. 1941

 

The employees presented Milton Hershey with a yellow-gold ring with 18 diamonds encircling a design featuring the Chocolate Corporation’s trademark, the baby in a cocoa pod, and a maroon silk lounging robe. The evening festivities included a vaudeville show of top-line entertainment from New York City, refreshments and dancing in the Hershey Park Ballroom.

Construction begins

Building the scaffolding in preparation for pouring the Arena barrel roof shell, 1936

Building the scaffolding in preparation for pouring the Arena barrel roof shell, 1936

 

Tedesko realized that the Hershey project would be a unique challenge.   He referred to it as a “home-made structure, constructed by Hershey men.” Tedesko became the planner/architect/engineer/construction manager. Milton Hershey wanted to save money and refused to formally hire a construction manager. The result was a rather chaotic beginning.   Eventually, Tedesko secured the help of Oscar Spancake, a carpenter-foreman, who mobilized a crew of 250 men, 4 concrete mixers and 2 elevators. The workers had no previous experience in concrete construction, leaving Tedesko no choice but to supervise all aspects of the concrete pours. Remarkably, by July 2, 1936 pouring for the first roof section began.

 

Pouring the lower tier of seats in the Hershey Arena, 1936

Pouring the lower tier of seats in the Hershey Arena, 1936

Formwork for the sections was made up of a patchwork of standard lumber sizes, since Milton Hershey had stipulated that all the lumber associated with the project later be used in the construction of barns and homes in Hershey. The scaffolding structure was composed of over 300,000 board feet of yellow pine lumber and the entire scaffolding and formwork structure was placed on a series of 250jacks .  The pours were simultaneously started on both sides from the ground level, and didn’t stop until the two sides came together at the top of the arena. These pours took anywhere from 14 to 20 days, working 24 hours a day.

 

Workers hauled concrete in handcarts up to the roof.  1936

Workers hauled concrete in handcarts up to the roof. 1936

George Booth had vivid memories of the construction:

Yes, I remember when that was going up.  And that windowless office building, too.  But that arena job was unbelievable, the number of men.  How it was a continuous concrete pour with that kind of equipment, you had to push a truck, probably 800, 900 pounds of concrete in it, wet concrete, push it up ramps, somebody helping to pull you, pouring 24 hours right around the clock. 

 

After a minimal time  of curing, the plan was to lower the support jacks and  the forms would drop away from the concrete shell.  The first time this step was taken, Witmer feared that the structure was about to collapse.  As they lowered the support jacks the concrete continued to stay attached to the forms for the first 2 inches.  Much to his relief, the concrete shell stopped settling and separated from the scaffolding as the forms were lowered further.

 

As the work progressed, the workers gained skill and subsequent sections were completed more efficiently.  Pours were still being made when the temperature dropped significantly. If the concrete froze the structure would be ruined:

Again from George Booth:
It got cold, and Paul [Witmer] made a deal with the city of Philadelphia to have carloads, rail cars, brought up here with manure to cover that concrete, to help it cure, you know.  Today you couldn’t do a thing like that.  As a matter of fact, it would take longer to get a permit to build a building like that than it took to build it under today’s regulations. 

When it opened on December 19, 1936, the Hershey Arena was the first large scale barrel shell roof structure in the United States.  Its construction established Anton Tedesko as the preeminent engineer for such structures.

 

More construction photos available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/26307193@N02/sets/72157626672080291/

Hershey Sports Arena. . .a home for hockey and more.

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Hershey Sports Arena, main entrance. 1936

 

 

Hersheypark Arena will celebrate its 75th anniversary in December 2011.  When it was constructed it was an engineering marvel, the first large-scale thin-shell concrete structure in the United States.  The Hershey Arena established a new type of roof structure that was used throughout the United States from 1936 onwards.  The building is even more impressive when you realize that total time of construction, from breaking ground on March 11, 1936 to opening night on December 19, 1936 was a little more than nine months.

 

Anton Tedesko was a German engineer who had developed the concept of thin shelled concrete structures.  In 1931 he had been sent to the Chicago design-construction firm Roberts and Schaefer  to drum up new business for this newly patented construction method.  In the beginning Tedesko worked tirelessly with many unrealized proposals. He ran into resistance from conservative steel designers, and the harsh economic climate of a deep recession.

 

By 1935, Tedesko had professional friends and contacts in many U.S. cities including Philadelphia.  The Portland Cement Association representative, James Gibson, acted as an intermediary to Hershey Estates who wanted to build a new ice arena. The 32 year old Tedesko leapt at the chance to design the largest monolithic concrete roof structure in North America. There was no precedent for such a structure, no design codes, no established construction practices for a project of this scale requiring such careful tolerances.

 

On January 21, 1936, Tedesko, helped by Gibson, presented his idea for a huge arena to Hershey Lumber Company manager, D. Paul Witmer, who in turn presented it to Mr. Hershey. “I was somewhat startled when Witmer showed me the plans, for I hadn’t figured building such a large structure, and I had to think twice before I let him go ahead with its construction”, said Milton Hershey. Tedesko hired staff in Chicago and design work started immediately, and on February 7 he began to write out in detail the full calculations for the roof structure.

to be continued. . .

Hershey Skating Club

 

 

Hershey Ice Palace, ca.1931-1935
Hershey Ice Palace, ca.1931-1935

 

The Hershey Skating Club has been an active part of our community since its founding in 1934.   Though it was officially established that year, Hershey’s interest in figure skating dates much earlier.  When the Hershey Ice Palace opened in 1931, a small group of figure skaters from Lancaster joined to together as an informal club and came to Hershey to practice their “figures.” 
 
Skaters pose on the ice at the Hershey Ice Palace, ca. 1931-1935
 

 Over the next few years the group expanded to include skaters from Harrisburg, Hershey and Reading.  The idea for an established club grew out of the group’s desire to be able to rent the rink for sessions devoted to figure skating.  Club membership grew from its original 48 skaters to over a group of 125 members at the end of the 1937-1938 season. Milton Hershey was very supportive of the Skating Club.  During his lifetime the Club was able to use the Ice Palace and then the Sports Arena without charge.

 

The same year the club was established Hershey sponsored its first Ice Carnival, featuring well-known professional figure skaters.  The first two shows were choreographed by Joe Chapman of the Philadelphia Skating Club.  The club was also assisted by Roy Shipstad, creator of the Ice Follies, who came frequently during 1935 to offer lessons, while serving as the Ice Pro at Baltimore.  For the 1936-1937 season the Club hired its first skating professionals, Evelyn Chandler and Bruce Mapes, who offered lessons and oversaw development of the annual ice show.

Evelyn Chandler, Hershey ice skating professional, 1945

Evelyn Chandler, Hershey's first ice skating professional, 1945

 The Club’s Ice Show was very popular in the community. The number of performances offered quickly increased from one show the first year to three shows.  Even with the expansion, tickets sold out quickly and many were turned away at the door.   

Hershey Skating Club Ice Carnival, 1959

Hershey Skating Club, Winter Carnival, 1959

Hershey’s interest in figure skating as well as hockey was a key factor in Milton Hershey’s decision to build the Hershey Sports Arena in 1936. Since then the Figure Skating Club has played an important role in our community’s recreational life, providing opportunities for learning and practicing figure skating to children and adults. Over the years the Club has also hosted a number of regional and national competitions, beginning with the 1953 United States Figure Skating Championship and most recently the 1992 Pro-Am Competition.