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Archive for the ‘Convention Hall’ Category

HersheyArchives@30-23 – Hershey Figure Skating Club

Milton Hershey’s letter to the Hershey Figure Skating Club thanking them for the honor of being made a member of the club. 1/22/1936

Milton Hershey’s letter to the Hershey Figure Skating Club thanking them for the honor of being made a member of the club. 1/22/1936

 

The Archives’ collections are a rich resource for understanding not just Milton Hershey and his legacy but also for the growth and development of the Hershey community. The Archives actively collections the records of local businesses and organizations to preserve the history of the community and its residents.

 

Milton Hershey took an active interest in everything that happened in his town. As  noted in last week’s blog post, when community business leaders established the Hershey Rotary Club, Mr. Hershey was made an honorary member.  Many other community groups, wishing to recognize Milton Hershey’s generosity and vision for his community, also recognized him as an honorary member.

 

Hershey Figure Skating Club members pause for a photograph in the Ice Palace. ca1934-1936

Hershey Figure Skating Club members pause for a photograph in the Ice Palace. ca1934-1936

 

Hershey’s Ice Palace opened in 1931. Ice skating and hockey quickly became very popular. By 1932, Hershey was sponsoring its own ice hockey team. Artificial ice rinks were unusual in central Pennsylvania and soon figure skaters began coming to Hershey from Lancaster, Harrisburg 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.  In November 1934, a small group of figure skaters held an organizational meeting for the Hershey Figure Skating Club . Milton Hershey was very supportive of the Hershey Figure Skating Club, providing facilities and the management support of Hershey Estates.

 

Hershey Figure Skating Club minutes, 11/14/1935

Hershey Figure Skating Club minutes, 11/14/1935

 

The following year the club formally recognized Milton Hershey’s support, making him an honorary member of the club.

 

#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@30-8 DESTINATION: Hershey, PA

Throughout its history, Hershey has been a well-known destination for entertainment.

 

Each summer,crowds of people traveled to Hershey to enjoy its many amenities. 1915

Each summer,crowds of people traveled to Hershey to enjoy its many amenities. 1915

 

After the Hershey Chocolate Factory opened in 1905, the town soon emerged as a popular regional destination. Visitors came to explore the model town and enjoy Hershey Park and its growing number of amenities.

 

In 1914, Hershey’s weekly newspaper, The Hershey Press, announced that a convention hall was going to be erected in Hershey Park. In developing plans for the hall, Milton Hershey was inspired by a well-known assembly hall in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, and sent his builder, James K. Putt, to visit the structure to learn more about it and what might be incorporated in the Hershey building.

 

Convention Hall, longitudinal section.  Architect: C. Emlen Urban. 1/8/1915

Convention Hall, longitudinal section. Architect: C. Emlen Urban. 1/8/1915

 

The new facility was built specifically to attract large events and big crowds to Hershey.  Its first function was the Triennial Convention of the Brethren Church.  Milton Hershey was very interested in hosting this major event and promised the meeting planners that the Convention Hall would be completed in time for their conference scheduled for June 1915.  Construction began in March 1915.

 

Brethren gather to meet in Hershey's Convention Hall. 6/1915

Brethren gather to meet in Hershey’s Convention Hall. 6/1915

Hershey Convention Hall ready for its first meeting.  Note that the ceiling has not yet been plastered.  6/1915

Hershey Convention Hall ready for its first meeting. Note that the ceiling has not yet been plastered. 6/1915

 

The building was dedicated on Memorial Day weekend, May 30, 1915.  Hershey Park opened for the season the following day, Memorial Day (Monday, May 31).  The dedication program included a 40 piece band, the combined church choirs of Hershey, several vocal and instrumental soloists, as well as several speakers.

 

The Convention Hall was not simply a large assembly hall.  Milton Hershey’s plans for the building incorporated many of his goals and vision for his community.  The Hershey Press carried this announcement about the building’s dedication in its June 3, 1915 issue:

 

Dedication

Hershey Convention Hall is dedicated to the service of the people.  May they meet often within its walls and by their proceedings and discussions find wisdom.  May they listen to words that will guide them in the paths of peace and righteousness.  May they hear music that will uplift them.  May they gather the products of their fields and factories and stimulate one another to higher achievements in agriculture, manufacture, commerce and the arts.  May they learn more of the great principles of consolidation and co-operation.  May they be imbued with the spirit of brotherhood, of courtesy and of helpfulness.  May the services on Memorial Day exalting the patriotism of our heroes be a true dedication of this Hall to the welfare of a free people, the cause of liberty, the love of the Flag and the glory of God.

 

The Convention Hall hosted a variety of musical and theatrical performers. ca1915-1920

The Convention Hall hosted a variety of musical and theatrical performers. ca1915-1920

 

True to Milton Hershey’s vision, the 1915 addition of the Convention Hall transformed Hershey, Pennsylvania into a destination capable of hosting large conventions and national performers. The Convention Hall quickly became a popular destination for both nationally celebrated performers and as a meeting venue for large organizations. The building would host a variety of events over its years of service including concerts by New York Metropolitan Opera singers, the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, the Sistine Chapel Choir during its first American tour, and nationally recognized marching bands.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

Strike up the Band!

John Philip Sousa at the podium, Hershey Convention Hall.  July 4, 1925

John Philip Sousa at the podium, Hershey Convention Hall. July 4, 1925

 

 

Summer in Hershey means concerts.  This past weekend the Dave Matthews Band came to Hershey, bringing traffic and tens of 1000s of fans to our community.  Presenting internationally recognized stars, such as Dave Matthews, is nothing new for Hershey.  Our community has been a destination for top performers since the early 1910s. 

 

 

Visitors gather outside Hershey Convention Hall.  1925

Visitors gather outside Hershey Convention Hall. 1925

 

The Convention Hall, constructed in 1915, was a perfect venue for headliners.  The facility seated 6000 people. The addition of such a performance hall, created the perfect place for nationally recognized performers to appear in Hershey. 

 

Hershey Press Sousa 7-2-1925

 

In 1925 John Philip Sousa and his band came to Hershey for the first time, opening its touring season over the Fourth of July weekend (July 4-5).  An internationally acclaimed conductor, he toured and performed to sold-out crowds in the United States and around the world.  Unlike many other popular conductors, Sousa conducted every concert.  The Sousa band did not have any assistant conductors.  His concerts featured many of his own compositions as well as other popular music. 

 

 At that time Sousa was 71 years old and still actively composing music.  During the two days, Sousa conducted 4 concerts.  Over 10,000 people came to hear him perform, with many more people listening outside standing by the Convention Hall’s windows..  The success of the Sousa concerts led to an invitation to return to Hershey the following year.

 

In 1926, Sousa returned to Hershey again starting his touring season in Hershey, performing four concerts over July 4th and 5th.  Attendance was less, with 5,000 guests.  Heavy rains over the two days, with July 5th falling on a Monday, contributed to the smaller crowds.