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Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Making a difference: Hershey Optimist Club

Hershey is fortunate to have several service organizations. While clubs have come and gone, they all exist to provide opportunities for individuals to make a difference in their community.

 

Hershey YMCA and the Busy Men's Doggy Bow-Wow at a dinner held at the Hershey Cafe. 3/1913

Hershey YMCA and the Busy Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow at a dinner held at the Hershey Cafe. 3/1913

 

The Archives is fortunate to have the records of a number of different service organizations that have operated in Hershey. Some are still going strong, while others have passed away.  To learn more about the community collections held by the Archives, follow this link.

 

Hershey Optimist Club members practice for an upcoming event at the Little Theater in the Community Building. ca1962-1963

Hershey Optimist Club members practice for an upcoming event at the Little Theater in the Community Building. ca1962-1963

 

The Hershey Optimist Club was founded in 1954, when it was sponsored by the Lebanon Optimist Club. An initial organizational dinner was held on May 5, 1954 with 13 prospective members in attendance. On May 19, 16 charter members attended the organizational meeting and elected officers.  By the time the charter closed on June 2, Hershey Optimist Club had 40 members. The Club held its Charter Party on September 25, 1954 at the Hershey Park Golf Club.  Regular meetings thereafter were held in the Community Building dining room.

 

Junior hockey team sponsored by the Hershey Optimist Club.  Coach Arnie Kullman is pictured on right. ca1960-1970

Junior hockey team sponsored by the Hershey Optimist Club. Coach Arnie Kullman is pictured on right. ca1960-1970

 

The Club has always focused its efforts towards helping and supporting the youth of the community. During its long years of operation, the Hershey Optimist Club sponsored youth athletic teams and programs promoting safety, education, respect for the law, and civic duty in Hershey’s youth. Over the years, Hershey Optimists sponsored a variety of programs including Bike Safety Week, the Oratorical Contest, the Respect for Law program, Boys Work projects, and Youth Appreciation Week.

 

In recent years the Hershey Optimist Club struggled to attract new members. In 2007 the club’s charter was revoked and the chapter was officially closed.

 

Back to School! Again!

Dedication of the M.S. Hershey Consolidated School. 1914

Dedication of the M.S. Hershey Consolidated School. 1914

 

By now, students everywhere are back in school.  We can definitely feel it here in Hershey, as Hersheypark has closed, except for a few more weekends, and Hershey residents can drive through town without being slowed by tourist traffic.

 

Hershey residents take pride in the quality of our public school system.  Good schools were valued by Milton Hershey and he made significant contributions to ensure that Hershey children would have access to a quality education.

 

2014 marks the centennial of Milton Hershey’s first significant gift to Hershey’s public schools: the M.S. Hershey Consolidated School of Derry Township.  Dedicated on October 13, 1914, the M.S. Hershey Consolidated School offered education for grades 1-12.  The building had 18 class rooms on three floors, a kindergarten, library, bathrooms, playrooms and lunch rooms.

 

Class portrait, Derry Township School District. ca.1920-1930

Class portrait, Derry Township School District. ca.1920-1930

 

The building was designed to serve up to 850 students.  Students began their academic career as kindergartners on the first level and literally worked their way through the building, grade by grade.  Students finally made their way to the top floor for their High School years.

 

Hershey Junior-Senior High School, graduating class.  ca.1925-1950

Hershey Junior-Senior High School, graduating class. ca.1925-1950

 

This school building was only one of many gifts Milton Hershey would make to the Derry Township School District during his lifetime.    You can read more about the history of Hershey public education here and here.

 

Time to shop!

Hershey Store Company offered a full range of goods, including clothing, furniture, tools and groceries.  ca1910-1920

Hershey Store Company offered a full range of goods, including clothing, furniture, tools and groceries. ca1910-1920

 

For many children, next week means back to school.  A lot of shopping will be taking place between now and Monday to prepare for a new year.  

 

In Hershey, shopping options have evolved over the years.  Today, Hershey has a wide array of retail venues that are housed at an outlet center located off of Hersheypark Drive.  Shopping downtown is limited, to say the least.  It wasn’t always this way.

 

Hershey Store Company opened in 1910.  It offered a full range of goods for sale.  1912

Hershey Store Company opened in 1910. It offered a full range of goods for sale. 1912

 

Milton Hershey’s plans for a model industrial town included establishing a store to meet the community’s shopping needs.  Like many of his other ventures, the first store, established in 1907, was a modest venture, located in a corner of the Cocoa House.  This general store soon expanded, quickly outgrowing its original location.  In 1909 a building was begun on the southwest corner of Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues to house the rapidly growing business.  This new building was designed with a Spanish style of architecture, with projecting red-tiled eaves and stuccoed walls.  When first erected the building formed a perfect a square, 120′ on each side with 2 stories and a basement.  A addition was built in 1911.

 

The Hershey Store Company offered many different things to its customers.  The store liked to boast that it could care for people’s needs ‘from cradle to grave.’  A article in the  May 28, 1914 issue of the Hershey Press, stated:

 

The store can furnish the lumber, hardware and other materials to build a house, can furnish the workmen to supply complete lighting equipment, can install any kind of heating and plumbing system and can furnish it (the house) throughout from the stove in the kitchen to the elegant suite for the parlor, including carpet, rugs, shades and everything needed or desired for the house.  It can furnish clothing for the whole family with groceries, meats and vegetables, ice for preservation and coal to cook them.  From the west annex it can supply the farmer with tools and machinery, with carriages and wagons, with seeds and feed for stock, and can shoe his horse and repair his wagons and harnesses.

 

A drug store was available within the store with a druggist on duty until 10:00 every night.  There were services available in the basement including cobbling, electrical heating, plumbing and tinning departments.  The store also took orders for automobiles and had a bakery.

 

Hershey Department Store.  ca1926-1935

Hershey Department Store. ca1926-1935

 

As it continued to expand its services, merchandise and business, the store again outgrew its confines.  In 1920 it relocated across the street to the Hershey Press Building, standing on the corner of Chocolate and Park Avenues. This three story building covered nearly 60,000 square feet, more than twice as much as had the previous location.  The business was renamed the Hershey Department Store and operated from this location until it closed in 1973.

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.

Providing for the community: Hershey Hospital

Milton Hershey’s commitment to providing a wide range of services was impressive.  While opportunities for education, recreation and cultural activities have often been described in various publications and other venues, his commitment to ensuring the health of his community is not often discussed.

 

Hershey’s first health facility opened in 1918 in response to a devastating influenza epidemic. As need grew,  a health clinic opened in 1921 and Hershey’s first hospital was established in 1924.  Located in the Gingrich house on East Chocolate Avenue (just across the street from the chocolate factory), it offered 10 beds.  Nurses’ quarters were provided in Fanny Hershey’s old house next door.

 

Aerial view:  Chocolate Avenue; Fanny Hershey home (nurses' quarters) and first Hershey Hospital visible in lower right.

Aerial view: Chocolate Avenue; Fanny Hershey home (nurses’ quarters) and first Hershey Hospital visible in lower right.

 

When the Community Building was completed in 1932, the hospital moved to the building’s 5th floor.  The ambulance entrance was located on Caracas Avenue.  This hospital held 20 beds. Nurses’ quarters were located on the 6th floor.  At the same time, a separate infirmary was built on the campus of Hershey Industrial School (now Milton Hershey School).  This clinic was created to provide healthcare for the school boys.

 

In 1941 Hershey Hospital merged with the Hershey Industrial School Infirmary.  It was located on Rt. 322.

In 1941 Hershey Hospital merged with the Hershey Industrial School Infirmary. It was located on Rt. 322.

 

However, as it turned out, the new infirmary was under-utilized.  The students’ health was generally good.  So, on March 15, 1941 the Hershey Hospital and the Hershey Industrial School Infirmary were consolidated and  Hershey’s hospital moved to the red brick facility on Governor Road.  This location offered 50-70 beds, an operating room and dental and orthodontic departments.

 

Hershey Hospital, operating room. ca.1934

Hershey Hospital, operating room. ca.1934

 

At the new Hershey Hospital, patients could be hospitalized for uncomplicated childbirth, minor surgery, and important but not life threatening illnesses.  Hershey relied on specialists and surgeons to provide services not offered by the community’s general practice doctors.  Complicated medical conditions required patients to be transferred to other area hospitals in Harrisburg, Lebanon and Lancaster.  Hershey Hospital was an important part of the community’s health services for many years.

 

Hershey Hospital bed with breathing blanket covering.  ca.1934

Hershey Hospital bed with breathing blanket covering. ca.1934

 

In 1963, plans to build a teaching hospital and medical school in Derry Township were announced.  On October 14, 1970, Hershey Hospital closed and its patients were transferred to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.  While many in the community mourned the closing of the community hospital, the Hershey Med Center brought a whole new level of sophisticated and cutting edge medical care to the region.

 

Want to know more? Check out the Archives’ oral history collection for more stories about medical practice and the role Hershey Hospital played in the community.

Hershey’s Community Gardens

Springtime in the Hershey Gardens.  ca.1979-1990

Springtime in the Hershey Gardens. ca.1979-1990

 

Evidence to the contrary, Spring is just around the corner.  As soon as the ground thaws, gardeners will be out, clearing away winter’s debris, preparing the garden beds and planting the first crops of the season: cabbage, beets. snow peas, kale and broccoli, to name a few.

 

Home gardens are a great way to grow fresh vegetables.  There is nothing better than a ripe tomato, just picked.  But what about people who don’t have a backyard or enough sunshine in their yards to grow vegetables? This spring, Hershey will launch its Community Garden, a partnership of Hershey’s corporate entities and the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.  Its purpose to to provide gardening space to employees and residents.

 

Hershey has a long tradition of helping residents without backyards to grow some of their own food.

 

During World War I, the United States government promoted community gardens to supplement and expand the domestic food supply. In 1917 Hershey responded by setting aside six acres of ground in East Hershey [east of Homestead Road, probably bounded on the south by Areba Avenue] for a community farm.  Rohrer Snavely was placed in charge.  In the March 22, 1917 issue of the Hershey Press, an article said the project planned to hire boys who wanted to learn garden farming while being paid.

 

Homestead Road is just to the left of Java Avenue, seen here just left of the houses.  ca.1910-1913

Homestead Road is just to the left of Java Avenue, seen here just left of the houses. ca.1910-1913

 

The program expanded to include gardens for girls the following month.

 

In 1918, Hershey, along with much of the nation, encouraged citizens to plant “War Gardens” to help with the war effort.  Hershey’s efforts in promoting public vegetable gardens ended with the conclusion of World War I.

 

It was not until the United States’ entry into World War II that Hershey again began to sponsor  community garden plots as part of the homefront’s efforts to support the war effort.

 

Want to know more?  Check out the Archives website’s latest essay addition about the history of community gardens in Hershey.

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.

 

 

Something For The Ladies: Hershey’s Y.W.C.A.

Hershey's Y.W.C.A. was organized in February 1911.

Hershey’s Y.W.C.A. was organized in February 1910.

 

In the Fall of 1909 articles began appearing in the Hershey Press about wanting to start a Y.M.C.A. in Hershey.  Milton Hershey drew his support behind the plan, providing space in the Cocoa House for the organization to hold its meetings and events.  The successful launch of the “Y” in early 1910 probably prompted the women of Hershey to press for the creation of a similar organization for themselves. 

 

You can follow the story of Hershey’s Y.W.C.A. in articles printed in the Hershey Press.  To get you started, here are some excerpts from early letters to the editor and articles about starting a women’s club in Hershey.

 

 Hershey Press, 11/4/1910 (page 11)

A Communication –

A Letter Received at the Press Office

Editor of the Hershey Press — “Will you kindly print the following in your paper?”

To all the girls of Hershey, surrounding towns, and to all whom it may concern:

“We girls are all aware of the splendid Y. M. C. A. in our town. Why can we not have a Y.W.C.A.  just as well? The cry is, “If we girls only had some place to go.” Let us bestir ourselves and see if something can not be accomplished. Let us get together and form sort of a band or club. Let it be at least this much if it can not be a Y. W. C. A. though that is far more

preferable. “We surely can have something if we try. Some of the leading women of town have expressed a kindly interest in the movement and a willingness to lend a helping hand in this good work.  All those desiring to take part in such a movement will kindly send their names to Box 104, Hershey, Pa., before Saturday, November 19.

ONE INTERESTED.”

 

Clearly the letter was successful because just a few months later, the Press published another article annoucing that a Y.W.C.A. had been organized in Hershey. 

 

Hershey Press, 2/10/1911

OUR LITTLE TOWN APACE WITH THE CITIES

Young Women’s Christian Association Organized on Monday. State Industrial Secretary Present. Constitution Adopted

 

A permanent home for the Y.W.C.A.. ca.1912

A permanent home for the Y.W.C.A.. ca.1912

 

At first, meetings were held in the Hershey Park Pavillion.  But after the Hershey Garage and stable, located on the south side of the railroad tracks (currently Hershey’s ZooAmerica’s parking lot)  were destroyed by fire,  the location was selected for a permanent home for the Y.W.C.A. In August 1912, (page 5) the Y.W.C.A. moved into its new permanent home above the rebuilt Hershey Garage.  The facility included boarding rooms for single women, a spacious reading room with a piano, and a cafeteria with seating for 100.

 

Hershey’s Y.W.C.A. remained a vital part of the community for many years.  At some point in the later 1920s, Hershey decided to separate from the national Y.W.C.A. organization and reorganize as an independent Women’s Club, something the men had done years earlier, in 1913.

 

Hershey’s Women’s Club continued to play a vital role in providing opportunities for fellowship, recreation and education  through the post war years.  The organization’s purpose was assumed by other groups and the Women’s Club building was razed in 1963 to make way for a new headquarters for Hershey Estates and the Hershey Drug Store which occupied the first floor.

 

Building to Impress: A New Home for the Hershey Trust Company

New Year.  New Exhibit.  I’ve just mounted a new display in the Archives’ exhibit case in the Grand Lobby of The Hershey Story.  This time the exhibit takes a look at building a new building for Hershey Trust Company.

 

Once Milton Hershey set his mind to something, he moved quickly and decisively.  And building a town for his new chocolate factory was no exception.  During the town’s first thirteen years, construction was constant as buildings went up, were enlarged and even replaced as the town grew.  The reason, of course, was because Hershey’s chocolate business was booming and the town needed to grow to accommodate the growing numbers of workers being hired for the chocolate factory.

 

View of Hershey from the chocolate factory smokestack.  ca1906-1909

View of Hershey from the chocolate factory smokestack. ca1906-1909

 

Hershey, of course, was much more than the chocolate factory.  Milton Hershey established a wide variety of businesses to serve the town.  Hershey Trust Company, the town’s first bank, opened in 1905.  By 1910, the trust company’s business was outgrowing its original home.  Milton Hershey asked noted Lancaster architect, C. Emlen Urban, to design a building appropriate for the town’s financial institution.  His design for the new building incorporated classical elements to reflect the importance of its primary occupant.

 

Titzel Construction Company construction crew stands in front of the future Hershey Trust Company.  1913

Titzel Construction Company construction crew stands in front of the future Hershey Trust Company. 1913

 

On August 20, 1912, workers broke ground for a new bank building at the intersection of Cocoa and Chocolate Avenues.  Various construction setbacks delayed the completion of the building for almost a year.  The building finally opened in the summer of 1914.

 

Archival collections hold many documents that trace the path and delays of construction.  If you’re in town, stop in and check out the new exhibit.

Celebrating Christmas

 

Each year Hershey Chocolate Corporation decorated its office building with lights for th holiday season.  ca.1963

Each year Hershey Chocolate Corporation decorated its office building with lights for th holiday season. ca.1963

 

Later this week, Hershey will gather in front of the Community Building on (14E) Chocolate Avenue to mark the beginning of the holiday season with the lighting of the community Christmas tree.

 

This is tradition stretches back to 1915. That year the Hershey’s Mother’s Club was inspired to put up the community’s first Christmas tree.  The idea for having a community Christmas tree may have been inspired by a community tree first erected in New York City’s Madison Square in 1913.

 

The Hershey Press announced the erection of a community Christmas tree in its 12/13/1915 issue.

The Hershey Press announced the erection of a community Christmas tree in its 12/13/1915 issue.

 

 The article noted that the lighting ceremony would be held that evening at 7 p.m. and would include carols sung by the school children and a time for singing by the attendees. 

 

Hershey Press, 12/30/1915

Hershey Press, 12/30/1915

 

As the next week’s issue of the Hershey Press noted, the event was highly successful.  Over 200 attended, a significant number when you remember that the entire town’s population was only 1500 people.

 

With that simple, last minute plan to erect a community Christmas tree, a long-lived tradition was born.  While at times the tradition was interrupted or altered because of world wars, each Christmas holiday season Hershey gathers together to celebrate the season.  To learn more, visit the Hershey Community Archives.

 

1915-12-30

 Text of the 12/23/1915 Hershey Press article:

HERSHEY COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS TREE
Will Be Located at Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues and Will Be Beautifully Illuminated—-

Exercises Thursday Evening: at 7 O’clock—Committee

Hershey is to have a community Christmas tree! 
At the meeting last week the Mothers’ Club took up the suggestion of Miss Margaret Langworthy and appointed the president, Mrs. Ezra F. Hershey, to put the idea into execution. There was not much time for the work, but Mrs. Hershey secured the co-operation of James B. Leithiser, and he promptly enlisted the facilities of the Hershey Improvement Company. James Millard was asked to secure the tree, and as this issue of the Press is being printed the tree is being carried to the chief comer, of the town and installed for the great holiday. It is a superb cedar, and it will be wonderfully illuminated by many electric lights placed under the direction of Mr. Hull.

Everybody is invited to join in the affair. The exercises will be held Thursday evening at 7 o’clock, and the whole town, with invited guests from the surrounding country will be present. No long program will be attempted. There will be a short speech and then Christmas carols by the school
children and choruses by the assembled men, women and children. It will be a genuine old-fashioned time and it is expected to be the main event of the Christmastide.
The Mothers’ Club is doing great work for the children.