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Archive for the ‘Golf’ Category

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

HersheyArchives@30-12 Designing a Course Fit for a Pro

In 1928 Milton Hershey Hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, 1st page.

In 1928 Milton Hershey Hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, to design 2 golf courses for Hershey. 1st of 2 pages.

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In 1928 Milton Hershey hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy to design two golf courses for Hershey. page 2 of 2.

 

Hershey’s first golf course opened in 1909.

 

Hershey's first golf course was nine holes and was located along Chocolate Avenue. ca1915

Hershey’s first golf course was nine holes and was located along Chocolate Avenue. ca1915

 

Located along Chocolate Avenue, the 9-hole golf course was built near Milton Hershey’s home, High Point. However, the chocolate factory’s continual eastward development encroached on the golf course, shrinking its size to 5 or 6 holes. Local golfers were forced to go to Harrisburg or Lebanon to play a round.

 

In the late 1920s, Milton Hershey decided it was time to bring golf back to his community. He asked his engineer, Harry N. Herr, to develop a new 18-hole course on Pat’s Hill. The site was chosen because Mr. Hershey planned to build what would become The Hotel Hershey adjacent to the course. Though he was a golfer, Herr had never designed a golf course. Undaunted, he proceeded to lay out an exceeding difficult course for the steep and hilly terrain on Pat’s Hill.

 

Drive to Pat's Hill. ca1915-1924

Drive to Pat’s Hill. ca1915-1924

 

Before construction could commence, Milton Hershey met with Maurice McCarthy, a nationally known golf architect. Hershey took him to view the proposed course on Pat’s Hill. McCarthy discouraged its construction, suggesting that it was better suited for mountain goats rather than people.

 

In 1928 Milton Hershey Hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, 1st page.

In 1928 Milton Hershey Hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, to design two golf courses for Hershey. 1st of 2 pages.

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In 1928 Milton Hershey hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, to design two golf courses for Hershey. page 2 of 2.

 

Initially, McCarthy was hired to develop two courses. The first was for the soon to be established Hershey Country Club and incorporated the land of the original 9-hole course along Chocolate Avenue. The second course was the Hershey Park Golf Course along Park Boulevard.

 

Aerial, Hershey Country Club golf course. ca1930

Aerial, Hershey Country Club golf course. ca1930

 

The country club course was expected to surpass the National Golf Links of America in Southhampton, New York. The expectation was that the great tournaments would come here and Hershey would have the honor of hosting the United States Open Championship, commonly known as the U.S. Open. In 1930, Milton Hershey’s home, High Point, became the clubhouse for the new country club.

 

Aerial, Hershey Park (Parkview) golf course, 7/28/1932

Aerial, Hershey Park (Parkview) golf course, 7/28/1932

 

The second course designed by Maurice McCarthy was the Park Golf Course. Hershey Park Golf Course (later Parkview) was designed to serve as Hershey’s public course. A challenging course, incorporating Spring Creek and its surrounding hills, the Park Golf Course, was reasonably priced and popular with community residents and visitors alike. For $1.00 ($1.50 on weekends) a player was entitled to play all day. Greens fees also included swimming privileges in the Hershey Park Pool.

 

Children golfing on the links of the Juvenile Golf Course.  left to right: Virginia Phillips, watching; Helen Snavely, holding flag; Aimee Witmer, putting. 4/10/1937

Children golfing on the links of the Juvenile Golf Course. left to right: Virginia Phillips, watching; Helen Snavely, holding flag; Aimee Witmer, putting. 4/10/1937

 

The success of these courses sparked a demand for golf in Hershey. Encouraged by the public’s interest, Milton Hershey commissioned Maurice McCarthy to design and build two more courses for the community. In 1932, the 9-hole Juvenile Golf Course (today Spring Creek Golf Course) opened. This course, built around the meandering Spring Creek, was developed to serve boys and girls under the age of 18.

 

The Hotel Hershey's executive golf course. ca1935-1950

The Hotel Hershey’s executive golf course. ca1935-1950

 

The last course developed by McCarthy for Hershey was an executive 9-hole course for The Hotel Hershey. This course opened May 4, 1934.

 

With Maurice McCarthy’s help, Hershey became a mecca for golfers offering 54 holes of golf for every skill level and making Hershey the “Golf Capitol of Pennsylvania.”

 

#HersheyArchives@30

 

Fore! Origins of the Hershey Country Club

In 1928, Milton Hershey authorized the construction of two new golf courses for Hershey.  The first course was located next to Hershey Park and was named the Hershey Parkview course.  Parkview was a public course, open to all golfers.  The second course was laid out on land surrounding Milton Hershey’s home, High Point.  This course incorporated the remaining holes of Hershey’s first  9-hole golf course that had been established in 1908.  Over the years, the chocolate factory’s continual expansion had consumed the original course bit by bit so that by the 1920s only 5 or 6 holes remained.

 

In April 1930 Milton Hershey invited one hundred guests to a luncheon held at the new Hershey Country Club.

In April 1930 Milton Hershey invited one hundred guests to a luncheon held at the new Hershey Country Club.

 

In April 1930, Milton Hershey sent an invitation to one hundred people in Hershey, inviting them to a luncheon to be held at his home, which was being remodeled to serve as a clubhouse for the new country club.  As part of the remodeling, Milton Hershey reserved the second floor of the house as his personal apartment.

 

Before lunch was served, Milton Hershey greeted his guests and invited them to look under their plates.  Underneath each plate was a charter membership card for each guest.

 

High Point Mansion served as the clubhouse for Hershey Country Club from 1930-1970.

High Point Mansion served as the clubhouse for Hershey Country Club from 1930-1970.

In 1970 a new clubhouse was built along East Derry Road.

In 1970 a new clubhouse was built along East Derry Road.

 

High Point served as the clubhouse for the Hershey Country Club until 1970 when the new East course  opened and new clubhouse was constructed along East Derry Road.

Restoring a legacy: Hershey Foods Corporation and High Point Mansion

Golfers putting at the new Hershey Country Club golf course's 18th hole.  Milton Hershey's home, High Point, served as the clubhouse.  1933

Golfers putting at the new Hershey Country Club golf course’s 18th hole. Milton Hershey’s home, High Point, served as the clubhouse. 1933

 

In 1930 Milton Hershey donated his home, High Point, to the newly organized Hershey Country Club to serve as its clubhouse.  The house continued to serve as the Country Club Clubhouse until 1970 when the Club moved to a new facility on Derry Road. 

 

High Point Mansion served as the Hershey Country Club clubhouse until 1970.

High Point Mansion served as the Hershey Country Club clubhouse until 1970.

 

High Point sat vacant until 1977 when it was acquired by Hershey Foods Corporation to serve as a corporate headquarters.  Bill Dearden, CEO of Hershey Foods Corporation, described his motivation for using Milton Hershey’s home as the company’s headquarters in his 1989 oral history interview:

 

The building called High Point, which was Mr. Hershey’s home, was almost sacred ground, as far as I was concerned.  It was his home.  Many of his major decisions in developing the business over the years were made right here by him.  They were talking about making it into a museum or they were going to make it into something else.  There was also the thought of tearing it down.  I just couldn’t believe in my own mind that we would even think that way. 

 

The house was in poor condition and the project presented some real challenges.  Hershey Foods needed to take a gracious, though run-down, home and make it functional for a corporate office while respecting the historical nature of the building.  

 

High Point's First Floor, prior to 1977 renovations

High Point’s First Floor, prior to 1977 renovations

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High Point 2nd floor plan, prior to 1977 renovations

 

 

The Archives’ collections include pre-renovation floor plans, photos and feasibility studies for transforming High Point for business use.  Several design options were considered, including ones that would use the attic space for corporate offices.

 

 With a $2 million budget, Hershey Foods Corporation made extensive renovations to the building to make it functional as an office building.  While many of the porches had to be removed due to the high cost of repair, the main part of the first floor was kept largely intact, preserving the architectural integrity of the house.

 

High Point staircase, after 1977 renovations by Hershey Foods Corporation

High Point staircase, after 1977 renovations by Hershey Foods Corporation

 

 The company used High Point for their executive offices until 1991 when they relocated to a new corporate headquarters located just north of Hershey.

Henry Picard, bringing prestige to the Hershey Country Club

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On April 27, 1930 Milton Hershey launched the Hershey Country Club with a dinner party held at his home, High Point, for one hundred of his friends and associates. Mr. Hershey offered High Point for the clubhouse. The new club’s golf course was designed by noted golf architect, Maurice McCarthy. The course received high praise from golfers for its challenging fairways and holes.

 

Hershey Country Club sponsored the "Hershey Open," an invitational professional golf tournament, for several years between 1933 and 1940.

Hershey Country Club sponsored the "Hershey Open," an invitational professional golf tournament, for several years between 1933 and 1940.

 

In 1933 the club established the “Hershey Open,” an invitational professional tournament.  This tournament brought national attention and prestige to Hershey as a golf destination.  while the club had had a local golf pro since its opening, after the start of the “Hershey Open,” Hershey Country Club needed a more prestigious golfer to come serve as pro.

 

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Henry Picard, who would win the 1939 Masters and 1939 PGA Championship, became the club’s head professional on November 1, 1934. Hershey Country Club held a dinner dance to introduce him to the Club on April 27, 1935 (which then was the opening date for the golf season). Picard had played representing the Hershey Country Club through the 1934-1935 winter PGA tour season, but didn’t start teaching and living in Hershey until April 1935.

 

 

Because of Picard’s success, Hershey was considered by some to be the “Golf Capital of America.” Picard served as the pro for all of Hershey’s courses: the Hershey Country Club, Hershey Park Golf Club, Hotel Hershey Course, and the Juvenile Country Club (the only course at that time specifically for children). At the four golf courses, which were made up of 54 holes, Picard gave golf lessons to youth and adult amateur golfers in between tours. Nicknamed the Hershey “Hurricane,” Picard, a 26-time PGA Tour winner, served as pro until 1941, winning 22 of his 26 titles while in Hershey.

 

Henry Picard resigned from his position with the Hershey Country Club and recommended Ben Hogan as his replacement.  3/1941

Henry Picard resigned from his position with the Hershey Country Club and recommended Ben Hogan as his replacement. 3/1941

 

In the Spring of 1941 Henry Picard was advised by his doctor to live in a better climate for his health and he moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. To fill his position at Hershey he recommended the up and coming golfer, Ben Hogan, as his successor.

Private or Public: Hershey = Golf Capital of Pennsylvania

 

Hershey Park Golf Course, 18th hole. 1935

Hershey Park Golf Course, 18th hole. 1935

 

 

Beginning in the 1930s Hershey became known as the “Golf Capital of Pennsylvania.”  Its 54 holes of golf (Hershey Country Club-18, Hershey Park Golf Club-18, Juvenile Golf Course-9, Hotel Hershey Golf Course-9) made Hershey a popular destination for golfers of all skill levels.

 

Hershey golf courses attracted some of the country’s best golfers. Hershey Country Club sponsored the Hershey Open a professional golf tournament for several years beginning in 1931.

 

Golf was a popular sport within the Hershey community. Hershey corporations featured annual tournaments for workers. The Hershey Men’s Club also sponsored local tournaments for members. Most of these tournaments were played on the Hershey’s public course, the Hershey Park Golf Course  (later Parkview). As one of Hershey’s public courses, the Park course was open to anyone. It was very popular with tourists and residents alike.

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In 1957 the Park Course received national attention when it hosted the 32nd Annual National Public Links Golf Championship. This tournament was first held in 1922 at the Ottawa Park Course in Toledo, Ohio. It was established to allow public course players the opportunity to compete nationally. The 1957 tournament was held July 29 – August 3, 1957. The tournament attracted players from across the United States, including six players from Hawaii.

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The competition was a match play championship where the winner of each game was determined by the number of holes won rather than the number of strokes. The 1957 winner was Don Essig III who was a sophomore from Louisiana State University who beat Gene Towry of Dallas, Texas.

Playing to win: the Hershey Open Golf Tournament

Hershey Country Club, 18th hole (formerly High Point Mansion), 1933
Hershey Country Club, 18th hole (formerly High Point Mansion), 1933

 

 

Hershey Country Club was formally established when Milton Hershey hosted a dinner party at his home, High Point, for one hundred of his friends on April 27, 1930. Preceding dinner, Mr. Hershey announced he was donating his home to the new Hershey Country Club for use as a Clubhouse. He went on to explain that the Club was to be established for the recreation and enjoyment of his friends, Hershey employees, as well as residents of the Hershey community. At this point, Milton Hershey asked his guests to lift their plates. Underneath each plate was a Hershey Country Club Charter Membership card for each guest.

 

In 1933 the Professional Golfers Association urged the Hershey Country Club to put on a tournament. Hershey Country Club accepted the idea and established an invitational Hershey Open Golf Tournament. First held in1933, the purse of $5000 rivaled that of the U.S. Open and attracted some of the game’s best players.

 

The Tournament was held for several years. The winners were:

 

1933     Ed Dudley

1934     Ky Laffoon (French Indian golf star of Denver)

1935     Ted Luther

1936     Henry Picard

1937     Henry Picard

 

In 1938 the format was changed to a Round Robin Four-Ball Invitational. That year the team of Ben Hogan and Vic Ghezzi took first place. The tournament returned to its traditional format the following year and was won by Felix Serafin.

 

PGA Tournament,  Bryon Nelson tees off while Sam Snead looks on from the sidelines.  1940

PGA U.S. Open Tournament, 1940 Byron Nelson tees off while competitor Sam Snead looks on from the sidelines.

 

The Hershey Open was not held in 1940. In its place, Hershey Country Club hosted the PGA U.S. Open.. In that tournament Byron Nelson edged Sam Snead 1-up to win the PGA Championship. The ninth and last Hershey Open Golf Tournament was held August 28-31, 1941.

 

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Hershey Open Golf Tournament, 1941

Golf for Hershey’s Youth: Juvenile Golf Course

Juvenile Country Club, ca. 1935-1950

Juvenile Country Club, ca. 1935-1950

 

In 1932 Hershey added its most unusual course. The Juvenile Golf Club [today Spring Creek Golf Club] was the only course in the United States dedicated to children under eighteen years old. Youth golf fees were $.35 and for an annual fee of $10, children had unlimited access to the Juvenile course. As a result, golf was very popular with the community’s youth. Lessons were offered to teach the game fundamentals and golf etiquette. Several youth tournaments were held each summer and the results often made the front page of the weekly Hotel Hershey Highlights. The sport was equally popular with girls and boys. Many boys, as soon as they were big enough, spent their summers playing golf and caddying for the Country Club.

The Juvenile Club facilities included a substantial log cabin for its clubhouse. The cabin was decorated with a hunter’s theme, with the walls covered with animal pelts and antlers. The main room also featured two limestone open fireplaces. The clubhouse provided male and female locker rooms and showers.

The Juvenile course was repurposed as a public course open to golfers of all ages in 1969 and renamed Spring Creek Golf Course.

Golf Legend: Ben Hogan

85005b14f32While Hershey is well known nationally for its iconic milk chocolate bar, Milton Hershey’s model town attracted much attention for many other reasons.  Hershey Country Club, established in 1930,  received national attention shortly after it was established through its choice of golf professionals to represent the club.  Shortly after the club opened Henry Picard, one of the game’s best players, was hired as pro.  When he left the job several years later, he recommended as his replacement a young player enjoying early success and who seemed to hold a lot of potential to emerge as a leading golfer:  Ben Hogan.

 

Ben Hogan began his golf career at age 11 working as a caddy. His first professional triumph came when he was 25 when he teamed with Vic Ghezzi to win the 1938 Hershey Four Ball, Ben Hogan won his first individual title, the North & South Open (in Pinehurst), in 1940.

 

In the Spring of 1941, Henry Picard was serving as the Hershey Country Club’s Pro. Advised to live in a better climate for his health, he resigned from his position and moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. To fill his position he recommended a young professional golfer, Ben Hogan, as his successor. Hershey Estates President Charlie Ziegler telegraphed Ben Hogan, who was at the Thomasville Open, asking him to please telephone him. Over the telephone the proposition was discussed and that day Hogan became the professional of Hershey’s 54 holes of golf.

 

Hogan was still an up and coming professional golfer when he accepted the job as Pro for the Hershey Country Club. Unlike Picard who also served as a teaching pro in Hershey, Hogan’s career focused on competition. His success brought prestige to his employer, the Hershey Country Club.

 

It was while he was representing Hershey that he experienced his most successful season. In 1946 he won 13 events. At the height of his career Hogan suffered a terrible accident. On February 2, 1949 his car collided head-on with a Greyhound bus on Texas 80, just outside Van Horn. He suffered a crushed pelvis, fractured left leg, crushed shoulder and broken ankle. He spent the next two months in the hospital. Yet barely more than 14 months later, at age 47 he won the 1950 PGA U.S. Open at the Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, PA.

 

Hogan continued to serve as the Hershey Club Pro until 1951.

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