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Hershey Area Art Association: A Splash of Color in Hershey

Hershey Area Art Association members at Hershey Gardens’ Gardenfest, 4/27/2014

Hershey Area Art Association members at Hershey Gardens’ Gardenfest, 4/27/2014

 

In order to document and preserve the history of the community, Hershey Community Archives actively collects the records of local businesses and organizations. The Archives recently received the records of the Hershey Area Art Association [HAAA].

 

The records document the history and activities of the HAAA and illustrate how this organization helps to fulfill its goal of providing cultural and artistic opportunities in Hershey and the surrounding area.

 

The Hershey Area Art Association  held its first meeting on March 20, 1995. The founding members wanted a forum where artists in the community could come together and exchange ideas, enjoy fellowship, and promote fine arts and fine arts education. The association wanted to splash color onto the Hershey community by creating and displaying original pieces of art. Wanting to nurture and support aspiring artists, the association established a scholarship that is offered each year to a local high school graduate to financially assist a young artist heading to college.

 

Hershey Area Art Association scholarship recipient for 2010, Zachary Artz.

Hershey Area Art Association scholarship recipient for 2010, Zachary Artz.

 

The association holds various events, programs, classes, and exhibitions to raise awareness of art within the community. In general, events display original pieces of art created by members. A variety of classes are offered and are designed to teach skills while promoting the enjoyment of creating works of art.

 

Hershey Area Art Association members at Arts in the Park in Chocolatetown Square, 1996

Hershey Area Art Association members at Arts in the Park in Chocolatetown Square, 1996

 

In many ways, the Hershey Area Art Association continues the vision of Milton S. Hershey. In developing his model community, Mr. Hershey provided a variety of cultural and artistic venues, giving residents a chance to experience  cultural events usually only available in larger cities. He established the Hershey Convention Hall and later Hershey Theatre to bring nationally recognized performing artists to the community. Later on, Hershey Educational and Cultural Center was established to provide a wide variety of art-related educational classes.

 

The Hershey Area Art Association is truly a community treasure and is one that will continue to prosper and grow for years to come.

Hidden collections: Hershey Senior Citizens Writing Project

Did you know that the Hershey Community Archives includes records of local businesses and organizations? In addition to caring for the corporate records of Milton Hershey’s businesses, we also seek to preserve the history of the Hershey community and actively collect the records of organizations such as the Hershey Rotary Club, the Volunteer Fire Company, People Mover, Hershey Figure Skating Club, and receive donations from individuals. While these collections are much smaller than our corporate collections, these private collections hold treasures and help us to understand our community’s history.

 

Hershey’s Mohler Center was originally organized in 1983 as the Senior Citizens’ Center of Derry Township. In 1989, the Center sponsored a reminiscence writing competition. The competition was held again in 1991. The essays were donated to the Archives in 1993.

 

These essays, written by more than 50 individuals, contain wonderful personal stories about growing in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. While many of the contributors grew up in the Hershey area, there are also  stories of childhoods spent elsewhere in the United States, a reminder that we became a much more mobile population following World War II.

 

These essays offer a unique perspective on local and national events, public school, recreation, and home life.

 

Hershey Junior-Senior High School auditorium, Hershey Industrial School (today Milton Hershey School). ca1934

Hershey Junior-Senior High School auditorium, Hershey Industrial School (today Milton Hershey School). ca1934

 

There are several essays centered on memories of World War II. One essayist (a Milton Hershey School graduate) wrote:

 

All the students in grades 6 to 12 gathered in the High School auditorium at noon to hear President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s declaration of war. It was quite a somber time. Principal W. Allen Hammond, normally very talkative, was subdues in his remarks after FDR’s message was finished. He alluded to the fact that, unfortunately, there would be graduates – past and upcoming – who would be killed in action. Mr. Hammond was very prophetic; 37 Homeboys paid the supreme price.

 

Other essays spoke to businesses that no longer exist, providing a window to the past:

 

The Bradley Quarries not only quarried their limestones but crushed and baked some for lime. The kilns were on the hill between Old West Chocolate Avenue and [the] Philadelphia & Reading train tack and the main or first quarry. There were three kilns sheltered from the weather on three sides. At night one could see the bright glare in the darkness.

 

These essays are a great resource for people seeking to understand what life was like in Hershey for those growing up in Hershey. While the Archives holds photographs from these years, the essays help us understand what was happening inside those buildings.

 

Hershey's Y.W.C.A. was located across from the railroad station. 1913

Hershey’s Y.W.C.A. was located across from the railroad station. 1913

 

 

For example, we know that Hershey’s YWCA was located across from the Hershey railroad station (currently the ZooAmerica parking lot). But what went on inside the building? From an essay titled, “Return to Hockersville Road and More,” we learn:

 

In the middle of the [19]20s I was a Girl Reserve, a YWCA girl group similar to the Girl Scouts, that year at the YW. The second and third floors had rooms and a recreational room (or beauty parlor) for unmarried working women. The northeast end of the building was the gym and in back of the gym was the kitchen.

 And in the [19]30s when it was remodeled for an apartment house, my family and I lived in an apartment on the first floor.

 

Even if you didn’t grow up in Hershey, the town’s amenities attracted visitors from all around. If you lived close by, visiting Hershey could be a regular summertime activity. For a boy growing up in Palmyra, visiting Hershey Park was a popular pastime.

 

Entrance to Hershey Park, ca.1920-1930

Entrance to Hershey Park, ca.1920-1930

 

In an essay titled simply, “Childhood Memories,” the author reminisced about the park:

 

Those were the days when, if I earned the money myself, I was permitted 25 cents to spend at Hershey Park. A 5 cent trolley ride to and a 5 cent trolley ride from the park to Palmyra, left me with 15 cents to spend at the park. What gigantic decisions! Shall I squander my 15 cents on amusement rides?  . . . Souvenirs? . . .Popcorn? . . .a Pony Ride? . . .an Eskimo Pie? After I grew slightly wiser – and older – I WALKED from Palmyra to Hershey and back, thereby allowing myself the ENTIRE quarter (a small fortune, then) to spend in the Park.

 

Learn more about this collection, the Hershey Senior Citizens Writing Project, and many more by visiting the Archives’ website. Hershey Community Archives is open to researchers Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and on the first Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

HersheyArchives@30:22 Service Above Self – Hershey Rotary Club

Charter for the Rotary Club of Hershey. 6/10/1943

Charter for the Rotary Club of Hershey. 6/10/1943

 

Community organizations are the lifeblood of a town. They provide residents with opportunities to meet and socialize with each other while working to enhance community life.  These groups enrich their communities while giving their members a sense of purpose and contributing to the community. The Archives actively collects the records of Hershey’s community businesses and organizations and is fortunate to hold the records of several community groups.

 

Y.M.C.A.’s Busy Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow meets for a celebratory meal in the Hershey Café. 3/1913

Y.M.C.A.’s Busy Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow meets for a celebratory meal in the Hershey Café. 3/1913

 

Community groups began to form shortly after the Hershey Chocolate factory began operations in 1905.  The organizations varied from the critically needed Hershey Volunteer Fire Company to the purely social Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow Club (?!).

 

Hershey Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1905.

Hershey Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1905.

 

Hershey’s community groups enhanced Hershey’s social life by creating community gatherings such as the annual Christmas tree lighting, presenting annual concerts, and organizing food and clothing collections for the less fortunate.

 

The Hershey Civic Club sponsored a variety of youth sports teams, including a junior ice hockey team.  This 1941 team included (left-right) 1st row: Irv Gonz, Bob Evans, Jack Bernard, Dick Brunner. 2nd row: Endo Corsetti, Sterling Sechrist, Bud Prowell, Herb Erdman, Dick Stover.

The Hershey Civic Club sponsored a variety of youth sports teams, including a junior ice hockey team. This 1941 team included (left-right) 1st row: Irv Gonz, Bob Evans, Jack Bernard, Dick Brunner. 2nd row: Endo Corsetti, Sterling Sechrist, Bud Prowell, Herb Erdman, Dick Stover.

 

Civic clubs in particular play an important role, working to improve neighborhoods through volunteer work by its members. During the 1930s, Hershey had a local Civic Club, which sponsored community clean-up days, organized various community celebrations, and raised money to help support other local organizations.

 

Since there was already a civic club in Hershey, initially there was little interest in starting a Rotary club, despite urging from Rotary clubs in Elizabethtown and Harrisburg. All that changed in 1943 when D. Paul Witmer, the head of Hershey Industrial School [Milton Hershey School], attended a Rotary meeting in Elizabethtown.  “Pop” Britton, manager of the Hershey Community Center and member of the Palmyra Rotary, also encouraged John B. Sollenberger, president of Hershey Estates, to consider starting a new Rotary club.  With interest from two of Hershey’s business leaders, a new Rotary club was soon in the works.  It was decided that the members of Hershey’s Civic Club would be invited to join the new Rotary club.

 

One of the Hershey Rotary Club’s first activities was to sponsor a local business expo. Pictured here are the club’s organizers. left-right: Carl Britton, Harry.N. Herr, T. Egan, Albert Schmidt, John.B. Sollenberger, Edwin Wagner, Harry Erdman, D. Paul Witmer, W. Allen Hammond.

One of the Hershey Rotary Club’s first activities was to sponsor a local business expo. Pictured here are the club’s organizers. left-right: Carl Britton, Harry.N. Herr, T. Egan, Albert Schmidt, John.B. Sollenberger, Edwin Wagner, Harry Erdman, D. Paul Witmer, W. Allen Hammond.

 

The first meeting was held June 2, 1943 in the Hershey Community Building dining room.  John B. Sollenberger was elected president, and the charter was presented to the club on June 14, 1943.

 

Leadership:

President                            John B. Sollenberger

Vice President                   Carl T. Britton

Secretary                             W. Allen Hammond

Treasurer                            D. Paul Witmer

Sargent at Arms                 Raymond H. Koch

Directors:                            Harry Erdman, Harry N. Herr, Edwin S. Wagner

 

There were 29 charter members and Milton S. Hershey was made an honorary member.  The first regular meeting was on June 21, 1943 also in the dining room of the Community Building.

 

In the beginning, the Hershey Rotary Club partnered with the Hershey Civic Club on a number of projects. The first joint project was the Cocoa Bean game, a football game pitting Milton Hershey School against Hershey’s public high school.  The competition was first held in 1943 to raise money for Memorial Field, Hershey’s local outdoor recreation center.

 

Children have always been a focus of Rotary support and beginning in 1958, the Hershey Rotary Club began an enduring program of sponsoring international student exchanges.

 

Founders Day drew the entire community together to celebrate the life and legacy of Milton Hershey. 9/12/1953

Founders Day drew the entire community together to celebrate the life and legacy of Milton Hershey. 9/12/1953

 

Hershey Rotary Club often took the lead in organizing community celebrations. In 1950, the club organized Founders Day, a day to remember Mr.Hershey.

 

The club’s biggest fund raiser, its annual auction, began in 1968. At first the entire proceeds of the auction were donated to the Hershey Volunteer Fire Company. Today, auction proceeds are shared with a wide variety of community and regional non-profit groups.

 

Today Hershey Rotary Club continues to serve the community of Hershey through its commitment to “Service Above Self.”

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-20 Eckenroth Journals: Working for Hershey Chocolate during the 1930s and 1940s

Daily journals are kept as a personal record of the activities in an individual’s life. Although never intended for a public audience, many journals provide us with a better understanding of what effect world-wide and local events had on an individual.

 

Raphael Eckenroth’s journals detail his work experience in the Hershey Chocolate Factory during the Great Depression and World War II. Born in 1908, Eckenroth began working for the Hershey Chocolate Corporation in 1928. Perhaps to accurately record his income during a period of financial uncertainty, or possibly due to a meticulous personality, Eckenroth recorded his daily wages and work assignments in the factory over a period of ten years.

 

Raphael Eckenroth's journal documents his cumulative earnings for 1941.

Raphael Eckenroth’s journal documents his cumulative earnings for 1941.

The first column records the week of the year.  The second column is the number of hours worked in the Carver room or other factory departments.  The third column is total hours worked for the week.  And the final two columns record his weekly income.

 

An example of a "Carver" press. ca.1950-1960

An example of a “Carver” press. ca.1950-1960

 

In the chocolate factory, Eckenroth worked primarily in the “Carver room” where “Carver” brand cocoa butter presses extracted cocoa butter from roasted cocoa beans. On occasion, he recorded how many hours each shift worked and the hours of operation for the “old” and “new” Carvers.  These entries offer insight into the factory’s production schedule and the increase in hours and output during the war.

 

“All old carver presses started again to press and are operating three 8 hour shifts.  The [new] carvers are operating two 7 hour shifts today.”  (February 24, 1942)

 

There is little information about the personal lives of the Eckenroth family in the journals.  Deaths, major illnesses, and social activities are recorded, but Eckenroth rarely comments on the events he chronicles.  He does however record personal reflections on the 1937 labor strike.  The journals offer a timeline of events and Eckenroth’s feelings regarding unionization are evident.

 

Approximately 500 Hershey Chocolate employees went on strike on April 2, 1937.  The “sit-down” strike end on April 7, when local farmers and non-striking workers forcibly remove the strikers.

Approximately 500 Hershey Chocolate employees went on strike on April 2, 1937. The “sit-down” strike end on April 7, when local farmers and non-striking workers forcibly remove the strikers.

 

In February 1937, the CIO began holding labor organizational meetings in Palmyra and negotiating an agreement with Hershey Chocolate Corporation.  In March, an agreement between the company and the United Chocolate Workers of America (CIO) recognizing the union was reached, however not all areas of concern were addressed.

 

A wounded and bloody striker is helped through the crowd on the last day of the strike.

A wounded and bloody striker is helped through the crowd on the last day of the strike.

 

On April 2, at 11:00 AM, a “sit-down” strike was called and approximately 500 employees began occupying the factory.  The strike impacted not only the non-striking employees but also the local dairy farmers who supplied the factory with milk each day.  On April 7, after the strikers refused to vacate the building, non-striking workers and farmers forcibly removed the strikers from the factory.  Strikers were forced to run a gauntlet and emerged beaten and bloody.  A few weeks later the National Labor Relations Board conducted an election and polled employees as to whether they wished to be represented by the United Chocolate Workers of America.  The employees overwhelmingly rejected the union.

 

“Had election today.  C.I.O. had 786.  Loyal 1542.  Was happy day for Hershey.  Spent the night drinking and being merry.”  (April 23, 1937)

 

Raphael Eckenroth worked for the Hershey Chocolate Corporation for 45 years until his retirement.  His journals, although spanning a brief ten years, broaden our understanding of the Great Depression and World War II’s impact on the Hershey community and businesses.  They also provide one man’s perspective on his relationship with Hershey Chocolate during one of the most violent periods in the community’s history.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

 

HersheyArchives@30-16 Building a year round destination for entertainment: Hershey Theatre

Hershey Theatre, opening weekend program, September 1-4, 1933

Hershey Theatre, opening weekend program, September 1-4, 1933

 

In 1915, Hershey had his architect, C. Emlen Urban, draw up plans for a new community building.

 

Architect's drawing, Hershey Community Building. 1915

Architect’s drawing, Hershey Community Building. 1915

 

The building was to include a dining room, cafeteria, gymnasium, swimming pool, assembly rooms, a dormitory, a hospital, and two theaters: a small theater for local productions and a large, 2000 seat professional theater.  Groundbreaking was scheduled for early 1916 but the arrival of World War I delayed the start of the project.  The architect’s plans were put away and virtually forgotten.

 

Community Building and Theatre construction crew, 5/6/1932

Community Building and Theatre construction crew, 5/6/1932

 

As the 1930s Great Depression overwhelmed the country’s economy, Milton Hershey responded to the economic crisis by initiating a local building program, better known as the Great Building Campaign.  Hershey’s building boom provided employment for over 600 workers who otherwise would have been unemployed and built many of this community’s most impressive structures.

 

Hershey Theatre, Auditorium outer wall elevation. 12/30/1931. Origianl drawing by architect C. Emlen Urban

Hershey Theatre, Auditorium outer wall elevation. 12/30/1931. Origianl drawing by architect C. Emlen Urban

 

The original 1915 plans for the Community Building and Theatre were dusted off and workers broke ground in 1928.  Work was completed in 1933. Hershey dedicated its new Community Center and Theatre, during the town’s thirtieth anniversary celebration held September 1-4, 1933.

 

Hershey Theatre stage, with fire curtain visible. 1934

Hershey Theatre stage, with fire curtain visible. 1934

 

Hershey Theatre was built just about the time that New York City’s Radio City Music Hall was constructed.  That performance hall’s stark art deco’s design stands in sharp contrast with Hershey Theatre’s interior.  Since the Theatre was built from plans developed 18 years earlier, its design more closely resembles the opulence of early twentieth century theaters.

 

Hershey Theatre Grand Lobby, ca1935

Hershey Theatre Grand Lobby, ca1935

 

The grand lobby is a lavish entrance to a romantic, European space. The lobby floors are laid with polished Italian lava rock.  Four different types of marble shape the walls and arches.   Solid brass doors open to the inner foyer, with its intricate blue and gold mosaic ceiling, patterned after St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, Italy.

 

In the orchestra, or main level of the auditorium, the theatre’s design theme is fully revealed as the grand style of Venice, Italy. The six-ton fire curtain features a painting of the city of Venice, with its Grand Canal slowly flowing past Doge’s Palace.  The Theatre’s ceiling was specially constructed to create the illusion of being in an outside space.

The Theatre features a four-manual 78 rank Aeolian-Skinner concert organ.  The organ’s more than 4,715 pipes and 25 bells are concealed behind the French doors of the front balconies facing either side of the stage.

 

Hershey Theatre, opening weekend program, September 1-4, 1933

Hershey Theatre, opening weekend program, September 1-4, 1933

 

To showcase the new Theatre, a series of concerts, lectures and performances were scheduled throughout the weekend. The celebration began with a grand organ dedication and recital on Friday, September 1.

 

Hershey Theatre, opening weekend program, inside pages. September 1-4, 1933

Hershey Theatre, opening weekend program, inside pages. September 1-4, 1933

 

The next day, Saturday, was the Community Theatre’s official opening day.  The program, a popular movie with a vaudeville revue was offered three times during the day.  The first movie shown at the theatre was “Pilgrimage” with Henriette Crosman, Norman Foster, and Marion Nixon.

 

The vaudeville show featured nationally popular singers, comediennes, dancers and acrobatics.  The show also featured “The Hersheyettes,” promoted as “a line of Beautiful Girls:” sixteen dancing girls performing precision routines.

 

Sunday, September 3, 1933, the celebration was a bit more serious with then Secretary of Agriculture (later Vice-President of the United States) Henry A. Wallace offering remarks at the official dedication ceremony. The theatre was overflowing, necessitating loudspeakers to carry the message to the crowd outside.  The gala weekend festivities concluded on Labor Day with three more movie/vaudeville performances.

 

To learn more about the history of the Hershey Theatre, visit the Archives website.

 

HersheyArchives@30

 

 

 

Hershey Archives@30-7 To Build a Town – Step One: houses

Plan 'A' Trinidad Avenue, ca1903

Plan ‘A’ Trinidad Avenue, ca1903

 

Visitors to Hershey today are often impressed by the community’s well-kept homes with tidy green lawns and sidewalks.  Building attractive and comfortable homes for his workers was part of Milton Hershey’s vision for his model industrial town.

 

Cocoa Avenue, ca1920

Cocoa Avenue, ca1920

 

26 E. Areba Avenue, 1912

26 E. Areba Avenue, 1912

 

Most of Hershey’s residential area is located on the south side of Chocolate Avenue.  The layout for these streets and lots can be seen on this 1903 map.

 

However, when Milton Hershey first started building his model town, the first homes were not built there.

 

Aerial view of Derry Church, looking north.  Note location of Derry Presbyterian Church in right hand corner. ca1924

Aerial view of Derry Church, looking north. Note location of Derry Presbyterian Church in right hand corner. ca1924

 

When Milton Hershey broke ground for his chocolate factory in March 1903, he was building in the midst of farm fields and dairy pasture. He planned to build a town from scratch. Fortunately, the area that Milton Hershey selected to build his chocolate factory and model town was next to the small community of Derry Church.  Though small, Derry Church included a tavern, post office, railroad station, a Presbyterian Church, a grain mill, a few small businesses and a number of houses, all located along Derry Road.

 

Haefner House tavern, Derry Church, PA. ca1910

Haefner House tavern, Derry Church, PA. ca1910

 

Some of Hershey’s first construction workers found lodging in Derry Church and the tavern was a popular destination after work.

 

Map of Milton Hershey's land acquisitions, ca1903. Detail showing Trinidad Avenue

Map of Milton Hershey’s land acquisitions, ca1903. Detail showing Trinidad Avenue

 

Since Hershey, the town, was more of an idea than a reality in 1903, it probably made sense to build new housing for his workers adjacent to the existing town of Derry Church.

 

Topographical map of future Trinidad Avenue housing construction, 7/1903

Topographical map of future Trinidad Avenue housing construction, 7/1903

 

In July 1903, a piece of land located north of the future chocolate factory and adjacent to Derry Church was surveyed. Building lots for new worker homes were located on the rolling terrain. Soon ground was broken for 25 new homes.  Like future residential streets that would be constructed on the south side of Chocolate Avenue, this new residential street was named Trinidad Avenue, in  honor of one of the cacao growing regions in the world.

 

Trinidad Avenue, ca1906

Trinidad Avenue, ca1906

 

These houses were completed by the end of 1904, in time for the start-up of the chocolate factory. The Trinidad houses were built using two different floor plans and featured small front yards and porches.  The repetitive designs of the houses displeased Milton Hershey.  When the next houses were constructed, he made sure that the homes featured more architectural variety.

 

Though Milton Hershey owned other land on the north side of the railroad tracks, these were the only houses that would be built in that location. In 1905, house construction shifted to the south side of Chocolate Avenue as workers began building homes on Caracas, Granada, Cocoa and Chocolate Avenues.

“To Serve, Not to be Served”

Monthly newsletters provided information about upcoming programs, trips and committee reports as well as personal updates about members.

 

While most people think of Hershey in terms of chocolate or amusement parks or even resort hotels, Hershey is also a community filled with people who live and work and go to school.  It is a vibrant community whose residents contribute their time and expertise to a variety of social and service organizations.

 

In 1980, opportunities for Hershey’s retired residents were limited.  That year several Hershey Foods retirees got together and organized a group of retired men to have breakfast together on Thursday mornings.  They christened themselves “T.O.G.” an acronym for “That Other Group,” “Other” standing for “over the hill executives in retirement.”  The original organizers included Howard Phillippy, Sam Tancredi and Howard Gabriel.

 

Remarkably, the impetus for “T.O.G.” also led to the establishment of the Hershey Area Chapter of the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons).

 

AARP organizational meeting flyer, 12/4/1980

AARP organizational meeting flyer, 12/4/1980

 

By the end of 1980 several of the “T.O.G.” members had established the foundation for a new A.A.R.P. chapter.  Interim officers were selected and the first meeting of the new group was held on January 15, 1981 at Derry Presbyterian Church.  The purpose of the group was “to serve others thru community service and share in travel and social experiences.”

 

AARP members Virgil Alexander and Packy Payne entertain at a monthly meeting.  1997

AARP members Virgil Alexander and Packy Payne entertain at a monthly meeting. 1997

 

The group proved to be enormously popular.  343 people joined as charter members and membership grew every year to a peak of 1254 members in 1987. 

 

 Records in the Archives document A.A.R.P.’s history as a vibrant group that offers its members fellowship, informative presentations, travel opportunities and service projects to community organizations.  The collection is an important part of the Archives’ efforts to capture of the history of our community and its non-chocolate life.

 

Hershey Community Archives actively collects the records of local businesses and organizations.  Please contact the Archives for more information.

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!

All you need are a few good men. . .

Milton Hershey and colleagues.  1905.  Left to Right: Front Seat: Chauffeur, Milton Hershey; Second Seat: George Shearer (brother-in-law of Murrie), William Murrie; Third Seat: Ezra Hershey, C.V. Glynn, George Eppley

Milton Hershey and colleagues. 1905. Left to Right: Front Seat: Chauffeur, Milton Hershey; Second Seat: George Shearer (brother-in-law of Murrie), William Murrie; Third Seat: Ezra Hershey, C.V. Glynn, George Eppley

 

Milton Hershey had a genius for selecting talented, energetic people to help him manage his business ventures. The leadership and skills of these men freed Milton Hershey to pursue new passions and ventures, including Milton Hershey School, Cuba, and experiments with new products.

 

Foremost among Mr. Hershey’s key managers was William F.R. Murrie.  Bill Murrie began work for the Hershey Chocolate Company soon after the company was established.  In 1896 Milton Hershey hired him as a salesman for the new chocolate business.  His talents were quickly realized and he came off the road to manage the chocolate business.  Through his career, you can chart the growth and success of chocolate sales. When he retired in 1947, his career spanned over 50 years.

 

He was promoted to President, Hershey Chocolate Company in 1908.  Murrie was only 35 years old.  He served as company president until he retired in 1947.

 

Milton Hershey did not enjoy the day-to-day tasks associated with building and managing a successful business.  Murrie’s skills and leadership managing the chocolate business freed Milton Hershey to pursue new passions.

 

Hershey Baseball Team, 1905.  William Murrie is pictured  fourth from left, back row.

Hershey Baseball Team, 1905. William Murrie is pictured fourth from left, back row.

 

As one of the Hershey community’s earliest residents, Murrie also took an active role in recreational activities, particularly sports.  For many years he managed one of Hershey’s baseball teams.

 

Hershey Industrial School (Milton Hershey School) Board of Managers, 1944.  front row, l-r: P.A. Staples, Milton S. Hershey, William Murrie.

Hershey Industrial School (Milton Hershey School) Board of Managers, 1944. front row, l-r: P.A. Staples, Milton S. Hershey, William Murrie.

 

Murrie’s career came to a close shortly after Milton Hershey’s death.  By the time Milton Hershey was choosing the person to succeed him in managing all of his businesses, Murrie’s health was beginning to fail.  His eye sight was fading and he was over 70 years old.  Milton Hershey recognized that Murrie was at the end of his career and selected P.A. Staples to take charge of the Hershey businesses and Milton Hershey School.  Murrie retired in 1947 and moved to New Jersey.  He died a few years later in 1950.

Looking for something to do? Hershey’s Y.M.C.A.

The Hershey Press promoted starting a Y.M.C.A. with articles and advertisements. 11/19/1909

 

Providing opportunities for recreation and continuing education has always been an important part of the Hershey community.  Today those opportunities are provided by a number of organizations, including the Hershey Public Library, Derry Township Parks and Recreation, The M.S. Hershey Foundation and community groups such as the Hershey Figure Skating Club, Hershey Symphony Orchestra and the Hershey Community Chorus, just to name a few.

 

Milton Hershey knew that in order for his new community to thrive, the workers and residents needed opportunities to exercise their bodies and their minds when they were not at work or school.  He encouraged residents to establish a variety of clubs and organizations to provide those opportunities.

 

The Young Men’s Christian Association began in the mid-19th century as a reaction to the challenges young single men living apart from their families faced.  By the turn of the 20th century, the Y.M.C.A. had grown into an organization that offered men, single and married, a variety of programs to nurture their bodies and their minds.  In addition, most Y.M.C.A.s offered lodging, continuing education courses and reading rooms.

 

Hershey was only a few years old when plans to establish a Y.M.C.A. were announced   The Hershey Press and its editor, C.S.Gee, were strong advocates for the new organization.

 

 

Hershey Press, 10/29/1909

 

 

Editor Gee published almost weekly articles on the Press’ front page promoting the new organization.  On December 17,1909, a list of men in support of establishing a “Y” was published in the paper.

 

The Cocoa House served as the headquarters for Hershey’s Y.M.C.A. ca.1911

 

The “Y” was officially established on Tuesday, January 18, 1910.  The Cocoa House was designated as its headquarters.  Plans were soon announced that a new gymnasium and indoor swimming pool would be built behind the Cocoa House.  Completed by the end of the year, the new addition enabled the Y.M.C.A. to offer a wide range of services, including a variety of sports (teams and classes), a reading room, boarding rooms for single men.  Since the Hershey Trust Company was also located in the building, the Cocoa House was a center for community activity.

 

While the Hershey Y.M.C.A. programs were popular locally, the club’s relations with the national organization became strained over time.  By 1913, Hershey resented many of the national organization’s rules, including restrictions on who could vote and the minimum age for membership. Hershey decided to break its ties to the national organization and in October 1913, the “Y” was renamed the Hershey Men’s Club.

 

Hershey Men’s Club, Gymnasium Class, ca.1914