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Archive for the ‘High Point’ Category

Cultivated for Pleasure: History of Hershey Conservatories

 

Entrace to Hershey Park, ca1920-1930

Entrace to Hershey Park, ca1920-1930

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

HIGH POINT CONSERVATORY

 

High Point mansion conservatory, ca1909-1918

High Point mansion conservatory, ca1909-1918

 

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

 

HERSHEY PARK CONSERVATORY (1910)

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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HERSHEY PARK CONSERVATORY (1914)

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Hershey Estates Greenhouse, ca1935-1940

Hershey Estates Greenhouse, ca1935-1940

 

 

HERSHEY ESTATES GREENHOUSE (1930)

 

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

 

Hershey Estates Greenhouse, 1931

Hershey Estates Greenhouse, 1931

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Creating a Legacy: Milton S. Hershey’s trust fund for Derry Township public schools

Mourners paid their respects at Milton Hershey's gravesite, Hershey Cemetery. 10/16/1945

Mourners paid their respects at Milton Hershey’s gravesite, Hershey Cemetery. 10/16/1945

 

Milton Hershey passed away on October 13, 1945 in Hershey Hospital. While he had placed the bulk of his fortune into a trust for the Milton Hershey School in 1918, his continued financial success during the rest of his life created an estate valued at almost $900,000. Mr. Hershey’s will directed that his estate be used to create another trust fund.  This one would benefit Derry Township’s public schools.

 

Rarely sentimental, Milton Hershey’s will will directed that all his personal belongings be sold at auction, with the proceeds to be added to his estate. To comply with his wishes, an auction was held at the Community Building on Monday and Tuesday, December 17-18, 1945.

 

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945, reverse side

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945, reverse side

 

Many protested the sale, wanting to keep his personal belongings intact. They argued that his possessions, which included furniture, rugs, linens, draperies, framed photographs, books, paintings, multiple sets of flatware and dinnerware, and his personal jewelry, belonged in the Hershey Museum. Apparently his executors, William F.R. Murrie, Ezra Hershey, and William H. Earnest, agreed. While the bulk of his personal belongings were sold at auction, the furniture that had filled Milton Hershey’s second floor apartment at the Hershey Country Club (High Point) was removed from the sale and Hershey Estates purchased these items. For many years the furniture was exhibited at the Hershey Museum as a memorial to Milton Hershey.

 

Some of the items from Milton S. Hershey's estate that were sold at auction on December 17-18, 1945.

Some of the items from Milton S. Hershey’s estate that were sold at auction on December 17 & 18, 1945.

 

The Milton S. Hershey Estate auction was held in the Community Building Social Room. There were afternoon and evening sessions with a large attendance of buyers and the simply curious. It appears that there was something for everyone. The auction flyer highlighted large collections of Cauldron, Coalport and Dresden china, rare ivory pieces, cut glass, bronze statuary, silverware, oil paintings, linens and fine furniture. The Auction was handled by L.J. Gilbert and Son, Lebanon, PA auctioneers.

 

The sale raised just over $17,000 helping to create an Testamentary Trust Fund endowment of about $900,000. Since its creation the trust fund has made semi-annual payments to the Derry Township School District with the goal of helping to mitigate public taxes paid in support of Hershey’s public schools.

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.

The Man Behind the Myth: Milton S. Hershey

Milton Hershey seated on the porch of his home, High Point.  May 1913

 

 

The Archives oral history collection provides insight into many aspects of the Hersheycommunity: work, homelife, recreation, education. Many of the interviews also contain personal memories of Milton Hershey. Milton Hershey is well honored for his many accomplishments and his generous spirit. The oral histories help us to better understand the man behind the honored name.

 

 

In 1920, when he was three years old, Earl Houser moved to Hershey with his family. The family lived on East Derry Road, across the street from the Derry Presbyterian Church. In his interview he discusses growing up in on Derry Road and its proximity to Milton Hershey’s home, High Point.

 

 

 

Interview transcript:

[Milton Hershey] had two beautiful ponds to the northwest of the mansion down in the hollow. . . Down in the hollow there, there were two big beautiful ponds that he had landscaped, fed by a spring. And he stocked it with trout.

 

Age six. That’s when I started fishing. When I lived on Derry Road and lived where Nagle’s store is now, next door to us, toward the railroad, there was a general store, and right in the heart of that building was a shoemaker shop run by a fellow by the name of Lloyd Achenbach. He was a fisherman, and he’d take me along fishing. We’d get down to Spring Creek, but we didn’t fish on the ponds. Well, as I grew a little older, the temptation to catch these trout became overwhelming, and three other now-highly-respected people in town–

No, I won’t identify them. We would sally forth into these ponds, and Mr. Hershey would see us, and he’d come out on that front porch and he would lay everything upon us that he possibly could, including murder. He would always call the constable, and he’d threaten us with this, that we were going to go to jail for the rest of our natural and unnatural life. So he lived up to his threat, and we could hear the Model T coming.

Question: They had one constable in town?

Yes. It was a very small place in those days, less than 3,000 people. So anyhow, at the edge of the cliff that faces the factory of the mansion grounds, it was all full of honeysuckles and there was a cave there. So we’d hear this Model T coming, and we knew who it was. It was George Lafferty, who was the constable. We’d reel in our lines and carry our fish and zoom into the cave. He could never catch us. He would be threatening us with everything under the sun, too, all kinds of penalties. So when he’d leave, ZOOM! Back to catching fish. So that was my first contact with Mr. Hershey. It’s a good thing that he never knew who he was yelling at, or my career would have been considerably different, I’m afraid.

 

The entire transcript of Earl Houser’s interview can be found on the Archives’ website, along with 100 interviews from the collection.