The Design Company.

You can change this area in header.php

Special Sidebar

You can add any content in this area by go to
Admin->Design->Widgets->Sidebar4

Currently browsing Sports

All Sports Roads Lead to Hershey: The Philadelphia Eagles in Hershey

Over its history, Hershey has played host to professional golfers and figure skaters, tennis stars, midget auto races, basketball teams, ice hockey teams and professional football.

 

Philadelphia Eagles held their summer training camp in Hershey from 1951 to 1957. Here a group of players poses with Hershey Estates president, John B. Sollenberger. Left to Right: Mike Jarmoluk, tackle, Leroy Zimmerman, quarterback, Sollenberger, George Roman, tackle, Bob Davis, tackle

Philadelphia Eagles held their summer training camp in Hershey from 1951 to 1957. Here a group of players poses with Hershey Estates president, John B. Sollenberger. Left to Right: Mike Jarmoluk, tackle, Leroy Zimmerman, quarterback, Sollenberger, George Roman, tackle, Bob Davis, tackle

 

From 1951 to 1967*, the Philadelphia Eagles came to Hershey for their summer training camp.  The team would arrive in late July or early August for three weeks of pre-season conditioning. The football players were housed in rooms on the third and fourth floors of the Community Building.

 

Hershey Community Building was located on the corner of Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues. 1970

Hershey Community Building was located on the corner of Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues. 1970

 

Each summer the Eagles really did become part of the community.  In addition to living at the Community Building, the players used its recreational facilities to relax in the evenings.  Many local boys remember playing pool or handball with the football players.

 

The Arena locker rooms and showers were also used by the team each day.  There was usually ice in the Arena which made it a nice place to cool down after each practice.  Team members ate many meals at the Cocoa Inn, and were generally a presence in town.

 

Many people have fond memories of the Eagles players and their annual visits.

 

During the hot August days, my friend and I would mount our bicycles and ride along busy Rt. 743 from Elizabethtown to Hershey to see the Philadelphia Eagles, who made Hershey their preseason home back then.  We would pack some tomato sandwiches (growing fresh in the garden at the time) and a piece of fruit for our lunch, and take a two-hour trip (one way) to see “our team.”

After enjoying our lunch in some shade near the stadium, we would line up with other fans to welcome the Eagles back from their mid-day workouts.  As they headed for the locker rooms in the Arena, they would graciously stop to sign autographs for us; no grumbling could be heard as they did so!  The players were hot and very dirty…looking to an early-teen boy as giant Oak Trees in uniform! 

 

Practices were not closed and both children and adults would enjoy watching practice.  As many people remembered, the team members were always very gracious and stopped to sign autographs for the boys who viewed the Eagles as their heroes.

 

For several years, the Eagles also hosted an “Open House” or Family Day for the public.  Visitors could watch practice, have photos taken with their favorite players and get autographs.  For a few years, there was also a contest to select an honorary “water boy.”  8 to 12 year old boys competed in throwing and catching competitions to win the honor of sitting with the team during a season home game.

 

Hershey also provided medical support to the team trainer.  Dr. Lee Backenstose, a local family physician who also served as the Bears doctor, served as the local team doctor when the Eagles were in town.  Usually the medical complaints were simple: muscle strains of the legs and back, sprains of ankles, knees, shoulders, fluid in knee joints, sore throats, etc.  One of Dr. Backenstose’s most striking memories was the image of several football players in his waiting room.  As he described it:  “Imagine four Philadelphia Eagles in the office at one time–each large enough to fill a doorway.”

 

Hershey Stadium seated 16,000 people and was used for a variety of events, including midget auto racing, football, baseball, police rodeos, and musical performances. 1939

Hershey Stadium seated 16,000 people and was used for a variety of events, including midget auto racing, football, baseball, police rodeos, and musical performances. 1939

 

Pre-season practice always concluded with a pre-season game played in Hershey Stadium.  Most frequently the Eagles played the Baltimore Colts.  In many years the Eagles played a second game in the stadium later in the pre-season.  These two games brought several other football teams to Hershey, including the New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and the St. Louis Cardinals.

 

Philadelphia Eagles v. Baltimore Colts, August 8, 1964

Philadelphia Eagles v. Baltimore Colts, August 8, 1964

 

1967 marked the Eagles’ final year of practice in Hershey.  In 1968 the Eagles moved their pre-season training camp to Albright College.

 

*In 1964 the Eagles training camp was held in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

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

Henry Picard, bringing prestige to the Hershey Country Club

3b007-1thb

 

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.

 

1c110-1thb 

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.

Construction begins

Building the scaffolding in preparation for pouring the Arena barrel roof shell, 1936

Building the scaffolding in preparation for pouring the Arena barrel roof shell, 1936

 

Tedesko realized that the Hershey project would be a unique challenge.   He referred to it as a “home-made structure, constructed by Hershey men.” Tedesko became the planner/architect/engineer/construction manager. Milton Hershey wanted to save money and refused to formally hire a construction manager. The result was a rather chaotic beginning.   Eventually, Tedesko secured the help of Oscar Spancake, a carpenter-foreman, who mobilized a crew of 250 men, 4 concrete mixers and 2 elevators. The workers had no previous experience in concrete construction, leaving Tedesko no choice but to supervise all aspects of the concrete pours. Remarkably, by July 2, 1936 pouring for the first roof section began.

 

Pouring the lower tier of seats in the Hershey Arena, 1936

Pouring the lower tier of seats in the Hershey Arena, 1936

Formwork for the sections was made up of a patchwork of standard lumber sizes, since Milton Hershey had stipulated that all the lumber associated with the project later be used in the construction of barns and homes in Hershey. The scaffolding structure was composed of over 300,000 board feet of yellow pine lumber and the entire scaffolding and formwork structure was placed on a series of 250jacks .  The pours were simultaneously started on both sides from the ground level, and didn’t stop until the two sides came together at the top of the arena. These pours took anywhere from 14 to 20 days, working 24 hours a day.

 

Workers hauled concrete in handcarts up to the roof.  1936

Workers hauled concrete in handcarts up to the roof. 1936

George Booth had vivid memories of the construction:

Yes, I remember when that was going up.  And that windowless office building, too.  But that arena job was unbelievable, the number of men.  How it was a continuous concrete pour with that kind of equipment, you had to push a truck, probably 800, 900 pounds of concrete in it, wet concrete, push it up ramps, somebody helping to pull you, pouring 24 hours right around the clock. 

 

After a minimal time  of curing, the plan was to lower the support jacks and  the forms would drop away from the concrete shell.  The first time this step was taken, Witmer feared that the structure was about to collapse.  As they lowered the support jacks the concrete continued to stay attached to the forms for the first 2 inches.  Much to his relief, the concrete shell stopped settling and separated from the scaffolding as the forms were lowered further.

 

As the work progressed, the workers gained skill and subsequent sections were completed more efficiently.  Pours were still being made when the temperature dropped significantly. If the concrete froze the structure would be ruined:

Again from George Booth:
It got cold, and Paul [Witmer] made a deal with the city of Philadelphia to have carloads, rail cars, brought up here with manure to cover that concrete, to help it cure, you know.  Today you couldn’t do a thing like that.  As a matter of fact, it would take longer to get a permit to build a building like that than it took to build it under today’s regulations. 

When it opened on December 19, 1936, the Hershey Arena was the first large scale barrel shell roof structure in the United States.  Its construction established Anton Tedesko as the preeminent engineer for such structures.

 

More construction photos available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/26307193@N02/sets/72157626672080291/

Hershey Sports Arena. . .a home for hockey and more.

4c4204-1thb

Hershey Sports Arena, main entrance. 1936

 

 

Hersheypark Arena will celebrate its 75th anniversary in December 2011.  When it was constructed it was an engineering marvel, the first large-scale thin-shell concrete structure in the United States.  The Hershey Arena established a new type of roof structure that was used throughout the United States from 1936 onwards.  The building is even more impressive when you realize that total time of construction, from breaking ground on March 11, 1936 to opening night on December 19, 1936 was a little more than nine months.

 

Anton Tedesko was a German engineer who had developed the concept of thin shelled concrete structures.  In 1931 he had been sent to the Chicago design-construction firm Roberts and Schaefer  to drum up new business for this newly patented construction method.  In the beginning Tedesko worked tirelessly with many unrealized proposals. He ran into resistance from conservative steel designers, and the harsh economic climate of a deep recession.

 

By 1935, Tedesko had professional friends and contacts in many U.S. cities including Philadelphia.  The Portland Cement Association representative, James Gibson, acted as an intermediary to Hershey Estates who wanted to build a new ice arena. The 32 year old Tedesko leapt at the chance to design the largest monolithic concrete roof structure in North America. There was no precedent for such a structure, no design codes, no established construction practices for a project of this scale requiring such careful tolerances.

 

On January 21, 1936, Tedesko, helped by Gibson, presented his idea for a huge arena to Hershey Lumber Company manager, D. Paul Witmer, who in turn presented it to Mr. Hershey. “I was somewhat startled when Witmer showed me the plans, for I hadn’t figured building such a large structure, and I had to think twice before I let him go ahead with its construction”, said Milton Hershey. Tedesko hired staff in Chicago and design work started immediately, and on February 7 he began to write out in detail the full calculations for the roof structure.

to be continued. . .

Batter up! Baseball and Hershey

 

 

 

Hershey Athletic Field, Hershey vs. Ephrata; Abe Dieroff up to bat.  1913

Hershey Athletic Field, Hershey vs. Ephrata; Abe Dieroff up at bat. 1913

 

 

Hershey and baseball have been together for over a century.  Soon after the opening of the Hershey Chocolate Factory in 1905, the community’s first baseball team was assembled by John Snavely.  Hershey fielded more than one baseball team, particularly after the Y.M.C.A. was established in 1910.  In addition to local community teams, there was also an “Industrial League,” which consisted of teams from the Knockout, Office, and Shipping Room departments (in the chocolate factory), battling the Improvement Company, Store Company, and Craftsmen teams.  In the 1913 anniversary celebration, games against Lebanon and P.&.R. of Harrisburg were featured events.  The teams were sometimes small in the early years, but the games played on the Hershey Park athletic field were often attended by large and enthusiastic crowds.  Spectators packed the grandstands to watch Hershey take on teams from Elizabethtown, Lebanon, Harrisburg, and their intense rivals, Palmyra.  The Hershey Press covered the games offering highlights as well as batting and fielding averages and league standings.

 

 

4d9901201

Hershey Baseball Team, ca. 1910 Bill Murrie is in first row, 4th from left.

 

William F.R. Murrie, president of the Hershey Chocolate Company, managed many of the early baseball teams.  As a young man Murrie played in a semi-professional league as a pitcher.  He enjoyed many sports, particularly baseball.  Players were drawn from the employees and community residents.  Several players were also recruited from the Carlisle Indian School.  Several American Indian students worked in the chocolate factory in the summer, playing on Hershey baseball teams and other sports for Hershey teams during their stay. The Carlisle students came to Hershey because of a personal friendship between Bill Murrie and Glenn “Pop” Warner, the Indian School’s football coach.

 Milton Hershey even came close to owning a professional baseball team.  Although no one is certain why, Milton Hershey strongly disliked William Wrigley, Jr., founder of the chewing gum company.  Wrigley owned the Chicago Cubs, a professional baseball team in the National League.  Milton Hershey sent John Myers, owner of a Lancaster baseball team, to try to purchase the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team, which would compete with the Cubs in the National League.  While Milton Hershey would have overpaid to acquire the team, Myers refused to pay the $350,000 the owner was asking.  Since Milton Hershey could not beat Wrigley on the baseball field, he began to manufacture chewing gum, selling six sticks in a pack instead of five, to try to compete with Wrigley.

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.

Heart of the Community: Hershey’s Community Building

  

 

Hershey Community Building, 1933
Hershey Community Building, 1933

 

Originally planned for 1916 and finally constructed during Hershey’s Great Building Campaign of the 1930s, the goal of the building was to provide entertainment and recreation, as well as to fulfill educational and civic functions for the entire town. World War I and subsequent financial challenges for Hershey Chocolate Company delayed its construction.  Finally in November 1928 ground was broken.  The building was completed in September 1932 and officially dedicated in September 1933 as part of the Town’s 30th anniversary celebration.
 

The primary function of the Building’s recreational facilities was for the use of the Hershey Men’s Club.  The Men’s Club offered an extensive range of programs and activities for the boys and men of Hershey.  The facilities were very impressive.

Game Room: 180 feet long, contains four bowling alleys, a court for practicing driving golf ball or putting, three shuffleboard tables, four ping pong tables, five pocket billiard tables for men, one billiard table for boys, a table for curoque, and a section devoted to games for boys in addition to tables for cards, checkers, chess, etc.

Game Room, Community Building; ca. 1932-1942

Game Room, ca.1932-1942

On same floor is a swimming pool 75 feet long by 25 feet wide, 3 – 9 1/2  feet deep,  with three spring boards.  Separate showers for men and boys
 
Community Building Swimming Pool, ca. 1950-1960 
 
 
Gymnasium:  (80 x 44 feet with 35 foot ceiling) for class work, volley ball, basketball, softball, badminton and special exercising rooms as well as two courts for four-wall hand ball, also can be used as squash courts.
 
 
Men's Club Junior Division, Community Building Gymnasium, ca.1935

Men's Club Junior Division, Community Building Gymnasium, ca.1935

The Archives oral history collections contain many memories of the Community Building and how important it was to the residents, particularly the children.  Many men shared memories of their childhoods spending afternoons and evenings at the Community Building:
 

Frank Simione (93OH02):

In the early years, from starting at my eighth birthday, we belonged to the Hershey Community Building, which at that time was called Community Club for us, where they had the Hershey hospital on the sixth floor, later became the Hershey Junior College. At eight years old, we belonged to this Community Building, where we learned all the athletic sports, all types of games. I think it was three dollars for six months, and you started as a cadet and went up to a junior, and then you went into intermediate, then you went into a senior program.

Spending all that time and all those years there, I learned many athletic games and as much as all the small games that you would play, like checkers and dominos and pool and ping-pong and bowling. We were fortunate to have this facility. At the time, we didn’t know any better, but as we grew, and later on in life, we found that that was a beautiful place for kids to go.

To learn more about the Archives’ oral history collections use this link to visit the Archives online collections database.