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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

HersheyArchives@30-31: West Hershey

Well, our anniversary year has past, but we have one more story to share that highlights the Archives’ oral history collection.  Enjoy!

 

West Hershey manufacturing plant under construction. ca.1990-1991

West Hershey manufacturing plant under construction. ca.1990-1991

 

West Hershey, The Hershey Company’s manufacturing facility located on the west end of Hershey, Pennsylvania, began operating in 1993. However, the need for the facility was first recognized in the 1970s. Richard A. Zimmerman, who was then Chief Operating Officer and later Chief Executive Officer, understood the challenges Hershey Chocolate faced in the last quarter of the 20th century and began implementing changes that would lead to the company’s success in the coming century.

 

 

 

Aerial view of West Hershey.  08/06/2003

Aerial view of West Hershey. 08/06/2003

 

Zimmerman was aware that Mr. Hershey’s original factory, which opened in 1905, was nearing obsolescence and that the company needed to reexamine its manufacturing processes.  He recognized that in order to modernize the manufacturing process the company needed to start with its milk processing technique.  Fresh milk is a critical ingredient in Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. How the milk is processed is essential to the development of the “Hershey flavor.”

 

[W]e were working on Hershey West in 1976….I knew we had a very obsolescent, if not obsolete, processing technique. Literally, our processing of milk, the condensation of that product, was circa 1920….So we began to work hard on the milk aspect, because so much of our flavor is developed through the milk process, that we knew that we had to find a new way to do that. So we began to work pretty diligently, and kept working at it and working at it and working at it for over ten years.  [Oral history interview with Richard A. Zimmerman, 11/07/1995.  95OH08.]

 

Richard A. Zimmerman.  CEO, Hershey Foods Corporation. 04/1991

Richard A. Zimmerman. CEO, Hershey Foods Corporation. 04/1991

 

Craig Moyer, a process engineer hired by Hershey Chocolate in 1973, became involved in modernizing the manufacturing process.  A significant portion of his career was focused on modernizing milk processing and planning the West Hershey facility.  He acknowledged Zimmerman’s contribution to Hershey’s continued success.

I don’t know this for a fact because [Mr. Zimmerman] never really told me, but he had to have realized that The Hershey Company couldn’t move forward based on the [original/19 East] Hershey plant….he had the courage and he had the vision to allow us to move forward…that would let the company move forward. [Oral history interview with Craig Moyer, 03/10/2014.  2014OH02.]

 

Upon his retirement in 1993, Zimmerman’s tenure as CEO was noted for his commitment to modernization, manufacturing capacity expansion, quality and productivity improvement, an expanded international presence, increased efforts in new product development, and an emphasis on innovative training opportunities for employees.

 

 

B-Roll of West Hershey factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Milk processing and factory exteriors. 09/2012

 

In 2012, a new 340,000 sq. ft. expansion to the West Hershey facility was completed.  The $300 million investment features the latest manufacturing technology and equipment that speeds production, delivers consistent high quality, and provides the opportunity to produce new products in the future.  In the tradition of Mr. Zimmerman, approximately 700 employees were trained to prepare them to work in the facility’s high-tech manufacturing environment.

It Can Be Done: Milton Hershey and the Edgar Guest Show

In Hershey, we like to think that all roads lead to our special town. And it is pretty amazing the people who show up here. And if they don’t show up here, they want Hershey to come to them.

 

Correspondence regarding unused Travelers Cheques in the name of M.S. Hall.  11/15/1945

Correspondence regarding unused Travelers Cheques in the name of M.S. Hall. 11/15/1945

 

Milton Hershey was not someone to seek the limelight.  In fact, at times he traveled under an assumed name, just to avoid attention. But, at times, he was enticed to share his life and success with others, if only to promote awareness of his home and school for orphan boys.

 

Edgar Guest, host of the "It Can Be Done" radio show.

Edgar Guest, host of the “It Can Be Done” radio show.

 

Edgar A. Guest was one of the most popular verse writers in early 20th century America. Born in England, Guest was a naturalized citizen who spoke on the air with an accent cultivated from the heartland of America. He was unpretentious and projected a “down home” appeal, and Americans rewarded him with commercial success.

 

During his years on the radio, Edgar Guest presented several different shows. Musical Memories, his earliest series, was 30 minutes of music, readings, and drama. His next show, Welcome Valley, was straight drama. His show featured a distinguished cast that included many who were already or would become radio stars.

 

His next show, It Can Be Done, was a dramatic departure from the previous formats. Edgar Guest as host, the time-slot, and the sponsor remained, but almost everything else about the show was changed.

 

It Can Be Done featured inspirational stories and interviews with people who had triumphed in their chosen fields despite hardship and adversity.

 

Milton Hershey, seated in his apartment living room in High Point. 5/1937

Milton Hershey, seated in his apartment living room in High Point. 5/1937

 

Milton Hershey was a natural subject for such a show. On June 8, 1938, Milton Hershey traveled to Chicago to be the focus of that night’s episode of It Can Be Done. The episode opened with a dramatization of Milton Hershey’s life, with its financial struggles and ultimate success. The last portion of the show featured an interview with Milton Hershey himself.  Milton Hershey answered questions with prepared answers. The interview focused on the work of the Hershey Industrial School (Milton Hershey School) and lauded Milton Hershey’s achievements.

 

While the content of the interview doesn’t offer much new, in terms of information, it is a rare opportunity to actually hear Milton Hershey’s voice. You can listen to an excerpt from the interview for yourself.

 

 

Want to know more? The partial transcript of the interview can be found here. The full transcript is available at the Archives.

 

Building Hershey: C.Emlen Urban

 

C_Emlen_Urban

C. Emlen Urban, 1863-1939. (Image courtesy of LancasterHistory.org)

 

This Sunday (October 5, 2014) The Hershey Story and the Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society are hosting a special walking tour of our downtown.  The tour will highlight some of the many buildings designed by noted architect, Cassius Emlem Urban, better known as Emlen to his friends. Mr. Urban was responsible for the design of some of Hershey’s most iconic buildings, including the Convention Hall, High Point and the Hershey Press Building.  It is remarkable to think that when you walk down Chocolate Avenue, much of what stands was designed by one architect.

 

Chocolate Avenue, 2007

Chocolate Avenue, 2007

 

So how did a Lancaster born and bred architect come to play such an important role in shaping the physical look of Hershey?

 

Cassius Emlen Urban (1863-1939) was born in Conestoga Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  After graduating from Lancaster’s Boys High School, he apprenticed as a draftsman at a Scranton architectural firm before returning to Lancaster in 1886.  That was the same year Milton Hershey also returned to establish the Lancaster Caramel Company.

 

Watt & Shand Department Store, Lancaster, PA. ca1905. Designed by C.Emlen Urban

Watt & Shand Department Store, Lancaster, PA. ca1905. Designed by C.Emlen Urban

 

Like Milton Hershey, Urban’s career quickly took off as he received commissions to design what became many of Lancaster’s signature buildings: Southern Market on Queen Street (1886), Watt and Shand Department Store (1898), and St. James Lutheran Church parish House on Duke Street (1903).

 

While Urban and Hershey must have at least  been aware of each other due to their close ages and similar status as members of Lancaster’s most notable young business owners, they also met socially through the Hamilton Club, a private men’s club, established in 1889 by some of Lancaster’s most prominent business and political leaders.  Milton Hershey was invited to join in 1893, a sure sign of his growing prominence in the Lancaster business and social circles.  Through the Hamilton Club, Milton Hershey established and nurtured relationships that became invaluable when he began making plans for his new chocolate factory and the model community that would surround it.

 

C. Emlen Urban played a significant role shaping the look of the community.  Urban was responsible for the design of all the new town’s major buildings constructed between 1903 and 1926:

 

Hershey Chocolate Factory, postcard view. 1909

Hershey Chocolate Factory, postcard view. 1909

 

List of C. Emlen Urban designed buildings in Hershey:

1903    Original Hershey Chocolate Company Offices and Factory    (demolished 1931)

1905    Cocoa House (1 Chocolate Avenue) (demolished 1963)

1908    High Point

1910    McKinley Building 1910 expansion (demolished 1928)

1914    M.S. Hershey Consolidated Building

1914    Hershey Trust Company (1 W. Chocolate Avenue)

1915*  Community Building and Hershey Theatre (14 E. Chocolate Avenue)

1915    Convention Hall

1916    Hershey Press Building

1909-1916       Mansions along Chocolate Avenue

 

*Urban was also responsible for the design of the Community Building and Theatre, even though the structure was not constructed until 1932.  The designs and the intent to construct it was announced in the Hershey Press newspaper in 1915.  The United States’ entry into World War I delayed the start of construction.  A variety of financial and business related obstacles delayed the start of construction until 1928.

A new ride for a new park: Trailblazer Roller Coaster

Trailblazer roller coaster, birds' eye view.  ca.1974-1985

Trailblazer roller coaster, birds’ eye view. ca.1974-1985

 

Did you know that Hersheypark has 12 (12!) roller coasters? And that most of them have been added to the park in the last 23 years?

 

For most of the Park’s existence, only one roller coaster was present.  Hershey Park’s first roller coaster, The Wild Cat, began operating in 1923.  In 1946, it was disassembled to make way for the park classic, The Comet, a wooden, out and back coaster that is still a mainstay of the park today.

 

After Hershey Park decided to reimagine itself as a themed amusement park in 1971, many changes were made.  The park moved to a single price admission plan, created themed areas and began adding new and exciting rides, as well as a wide variety of entertainment.

 

In 1974 Hersheypark (now one word) added a second roller coaster:  the Trailblazer.

 

 

Hersheypark's Trailblazer roller coaster trains coming around a sharp bend.  ca1977-1985

Hersheypark’s Trailblazer roller coaster trains coming around a sharp bend. ca1977-1985

 

The new roller coaster was designed by Duell and Associated and built by the Arrow Development Company of Mountain View, California.  The Trailblazer was a modern, high-speed steel roller coaster. Unlike traditional wooden coasters, steel coasters are made with tubular steel track which can be bent in any direction.  This allowed Duell to incorporate tight turns into Trailblazer’s ride.

 

The Trailblazer was located near Spring Creek and was incorporated the hillside, blending the ride into its surroundings.

 

The Trailblazer was 1,874 feet long and featured a series of tight curves that turned riders completely sideways.  The ride had three trains with five cars each that could carry up to twelve hundred passengers per hour.

 

Shortly after the Trailblazer roller coaster opened, the Park added the Trailblazer Theater and Saloon, building on the western themed area.  ca.1976-1980

Shortly after the Trailblazer roller coaster opened, the Park added the Trailblazer Theater and Saloon, building on the western themed area. ca.1976-1980

 

The Trailblazer along with the Dry Gulch Railroad was the beginning of the park’s frontier theme area.

 

Things old are new again: Hershey’s Modern Office Building

Hershey Chocolate Corporation Modern Office Building, 1935

Hershey Chocolate Corporation Modern Office Building, 1935

 

People who regularly drive through Hershey on Rt. 422 (Chocolate Avenue) have noticed all the construction and reconstruction taking place at the original chocolate factory.  Included in this project is construction work being done to the building at 19 East Chocolate Avenue, a structure also known as the Windowless or Modern Office Building.  Completed in 1935, this building served as the corporate headquarters for Hershey Chocolate for over forty years.  Today, this building is the heart of The Hershey Company’s operational offices.

 

When the building was constructed, much of the world was struggling under the financial stress of the Great Depression. Jobs were lost as businesses retrenched.  In Hershey, there was a different experience.  Milton Hershey responded to the economic upheaval with a construction program.  During the 1930s, many of Hershey’s monumental structures were built, including Hotel Hershey, Milton Hershey School’s Catherine Hall (then the Junior-Senior High School), the Community Building (14E), Hershey Sports Arena and the Modern Office Building for the Hershey Chocolate Corporation.

 

Milton Hershey’s great interest in innovation and experimentation shaped the design of this new office building.

 

Original plans for the building called for a conventional design with windows and awnings.  As the foundation was being dug, Milton Hershey became intrigued with the idea of a windowless facility.  Such a design would dramatically increase the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems.  At Mr. Hershey’s direction, architect/builder D. Paul Witmer, quickly drew up new plans and construction continued without any delay.

 

Under construction:  Hershey's Modern Office Building.  1935

Under construction: Hershey’s Modern Office Building. 1935

 

The building was constructed of locally quarried limestone.  Construction began in the fall of 1934 and was completed in December 1935.

 

The building was a real testament to Hershey skills and ingenuity.  The building was designed and built by the Hershey Lumber Company (Paul Witmer serving as its manager).  Certain interior building products were installed by the Hershey Department Store.

 

There was quite a bit of excitement regarding the opening of the new office building.  Hershey Chocolate Corporation hosted a public open house on December 28, 1935.  Almost 14,000 people attended during the day long event.  The Hotel Hershey Highlights noted that the open house commenced at 9:00 a.m. and doors didn’t close until 9:00 p.m.

 

Printed for the building's open house, the booklet described many of the bulding's unique features.  1935

Printed for the building’s open house, the booklet described many of the bulding’s unique features. 1935

 

Visitors received a booklet, printed by the chocolate factory print shop, describing the building’s special features.  In particular, the booklet described the building’s interior plan, its atmosphere:

“Conditioned air, dust free,”

lighting, flooring, ceilings, walls:
 

“The room devoted to calculating machines and other noisy equipment has its walls of the same special acoustic plaster as is used on the lobby ceiling,”

 

Hershey Chocolate Corporation; Payroll record keeping department.  ca.1935-1940

Hershey Chocolate Corporation; Payroll record keeping department. ca.1935-1940

 

furniture, and telephone system:

 

“communicating facilities are provided between all office and the plant by dial telephones” and messenger service: “special small box type elevators connect the Receiving Department with the Mailing Desk.  A pneumatic tube system connects the Traffic Department with the Shipping and Stock Rooms of the plant for the rapid, safe delivery of all orders.”

 

Today the building is in the midst of major renovations to make it a functional and modern (once again) office space for The Hershey Company.

 

 

New exhibit: Hershey in 1963

Did you know that the Archives has a space for small exhibits in the lobby of The Hershey Story?  Located right next to the entrance to the Zooka Cafe, the exhibit case provides the Archives the opportunity to highlight its collections and use them to tell some of Hershey’s amazing stories. 

 

This morning I installed the latest exhibit about Hershey in 1963.  While people probably didn’t realize it at the time, 1963 was a pivotal year for Hershey.  Just consider this.  During 1963:

 

  • Hershey Chocolate Corporation acquired the H.B. Reese Candy Company
  • Hershey Trust Company, Trustee for Milton Hershey School Trust Fund, received permission to donate $50 million to Penn State University for the purpose of establishing/building a medical college and teaching hospital.
  • Hershey Estates opened Highmeadow Campground.
  • Cocoa Avenue Plaza, a new recreational center that featured a swimming pool with a retractable roof, was given to the community by Hershey Chocolate Corporation.
  • New streetlights in the shaped of wrapped and unwrapped Kisses chocolates were installed along Chocolate Avenue.

 

All these events foretold significant future changes in Hershey: both  for the businesses and the community.

If you live in the area, come check out the new exhibit.  It’s free!

1914 – A Christmas Greeting

In 1914 Europe was embroiled in the Great War. At the same time United States was enjoying great peace and prosperity while watching with concern the European conflict. Most Americans did not want to be drawn into the war. It would be more than two years before the United States entered the war many thought would be the war to end all wars..

 

Mindful of  the destruction in Europe, as the Christmas holidaycame near, the Hershey Press published this greeting from Milton Hershey in the December 24, 1914 issue.

 

 

From the Hershey Press, December 23, 1914

 

The editor asked Mr. M.S. Hershey to send a Christmas message for the readers of the Hershey Press.  Mr. Hershey very kindly replied:

 

I have your note asking me to send a Christmas word for the readers of the Hershey Press.  It is so much like saying “Merry Christmas” to the members of the same big family that it might well be taken for granted, but as this is the family festival it is  all the more pleasure to congratulate everybody and to wish you all the compliments of the season.

 

We know that we are peculiarly blessed.  We have our great country at peace and on the verge of a new prosperity.  We have the richest and finest State in the Union. We have one of its best countries. We have in Derry its choice township, and during the year just past more has been done to promote Derry=s progress than in any like period.  Finer schools and better roads and improved farms and a higher average of everything are some of the results of the year’s work.

 

Of course we like to think of Hershey as the center of Derry and as a center of our larger State and national life.  We have done much to prove this during the past twelve months.  Your gifts have gone to help not only state hospitals and institutions and big national philanthropies but they have crossed the ocean to aid the starving and homeless Belgians.  I am assured that for a place of its size Hershey has made a record this year in its contributions.  Surely you must be congratulated for that.

 

This leads to another fact developing very happily in Hershey’s life.  Our resident population is about 1,000.  I am informed that if the memberships of our various clubs, societies, churches and other organizations, covering nearly all of the interests of a community, were to be added together the total would be over 1,000.  Of course, some belong to more than one association, but it seems to me a fine thing that the people of a town less than a dozen years old have taken hold of its life with so much earnestness, and that everybody from the kindergartners to the members of the Mothers’ Club, from the boys scouts to the 450 members of the Men’s Club, is interested.  There is pride naturally in the success of our factory but there is greater pride in seeing the community around it growing into a model town of happy homes and thinking people.

 

I rejoice with you in the good clean sport of the year.  It has been fine and the men and women who have given their time to it deserve our praise.  Let us do all we can to keep high the standards they have raised and to make the name of Hershey in sport stand for only what is fair and square.

 

We are unique in having a thousand population with a public school of 600 pupils.  I should like to send a personal greeting to each of these and I should like to include the members of the School Board of Derry Township who have done their work so well.  We should all work for the greater success of our school and I know of no better way to do this than by supporting by our appreciation in every way we can the efforts of the teachers.

 

If we look a little closely we shall find that all these things belong to co-operation.  I am a great believer in co-operation.  The idea that Christmas emphasizes is co-operation–all working for one another and trying to increase the general sum of human happimess.  We are doing many things in Hershey now.  The little town has become large and manly and meaured by the past ten years.  Who can say what it will be in another decade?  But it is the spirit and not the size that makes a community great–and I am glad that Hershey is full of the spirit of Christmas, for that is the spirit of all progress that is worth anything.

 

Christmas 1914                                                                                                        M.S. Hershey

Launching the sooperdooperLooper

Billboard advertises new ride coming to Hersheypark for the 1977 summer season.

Billboard advertises new ride coming to Hersheypark for the 1977 summer season.

The early years of the newly redesigned Hersheypark were filled with highs and lows. In 1972 Hurricane Agnes had closed the Park for nine days and caused it to suffer significant budget shortfalls. 1973 marked the new Park’s first truly successful season and erased all doubts about the wisdom of redeveloping Hersheypark as a themed amusement park. The energy crisis of 1974 again caused financial challenges and forced the Park to scale back its redevelopment plans. Hersheypark’s success was firmly established a few years later, with the addition of the sooperdooperLooper which marked Hersheypark’s entry into the category of nationally recognized theme parks.

This coaster was the first looping coaster on the East Coast and only the second of its kind in the United States. The new coaster was the park’s most expensive ride at that point, costing more than $3 million. Building a proto-type roller coaster created a major challenge for the Park and presented unbelievable problems. Being a new style ride, the Park would practically re-engineer the ride from the original plans before being satisfied with the ride’s operation. All the bugs had not been worked out by opening day. That day the Park’s General Manager, Bruce McKinney, and his wife Sally boarded the ride car to officially launch the ride. The ride successfully made it through the loop only to only to get stuck on the next rise. Park engineers were unable to get the ride to move and the passengers had to exit the ride by walking down the catwalk, witnessed and documented by news photographers and television cameras.

In spite of such an eventful launch the ride made the Park’s 1977’s season a huge success. Hundreds of thousands of people came to the park that year to ride or simply to watch the new looping roller coaster. The most popular Park souvenir that summer was a T-Shirt with the words “I Survived the sooperdooperLooper.” That year the Park set daily attendance records that still stand as record breaking days to this day. The summer of 1977 would stand as the park’s most successful season for years to come.

Riding the loop of the sooperdooperLooper, ca. 1990-2000

Riding the loop of the sooperdooperLooper, ca. 1990-2000

Welcome to the Hershey Community Archives’ Blog

With the launch of the Archives’ new website, we wanted to provide an opportunity to share some of the stories behind the Archives’ rich visual collections.  While historic photographs are fun to look at, there is always a story to be told.  With each photograph we will share at least part of the story.  We welcome your input.  Please share your own memories about what the photograph represents to you.  Also, at times we will post photographs for which we are seeking more information.