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Archive for August, 2011

The nickel ride: Hershey’s Trolley System

Hummelstown and Campbelltown Street Railway ride ticket.  ca. 1904-1915

Hummelstown and Campbelltown Street Railway ride ticket. ca. 1904-1915


When Milton Hershey returned to Derry Township to build his new chocolate factory, he returned to a largely rural area, dotted with small cross-roads communities that were tied together with dirt roads that were often little more than paths. Mr. Hershey knew that he would need to invest in developing the infrastructure of his new town. He needed to establish utility businesses to provide water, electricity, telephone access and handle sewage. Housing would have to be built, schools improved and a variety of shops set up. New roads were needed to tie the new community of Hershey to the surrounding towns.


Milton Hershey wanted to provide easy access to his model town and more importantly he needed to make sure that fresh milk, a critical ingredient in making milk chocolate, could be delivered to the chocolate factory in a timely fashion. His solution was to establish the Hummelstown and Campbelltown Street Railway Company. Chartered in January 1903, even before workers broke ground for the new factory, the new line connected Hershey with its closest neighbors, Hummelstown and Campbelltown. The initial line was twelve miles long and built by J.G. Brill Company, of Philadelphia. The original line passed through several dairy farms, making it easy for farmers to have their milk picked up each day for delivery to the Hershey chocolate factory.


Conductor William Harper stands beside his Hershey trolley. ca.1906

Conductor William Harper stands beside his Hershey trolley. ca.1906


Hershey’s street cars had their maiden voyage on October 15, 1904. This original line was soon extended eastward towards Palmyra to connect with a line running westward from the Lebanon and Annville Street Railway.


A year later, in 1905, the town of Hershey was growing rapidly and Hershey’s trolley line was extended to Hummelstown where passengers could change street cars and connect with trolley service to Harrisburg.


Hershey’s streetcars connected the community with surrounding communities. Hershey trolleys made it possible for people to live elsewhere and work in Hershey. The trolleys allowed Hershey residents to easily travel out of town for shopping and other reasons. The trolleys also played an important role bringing visitors to Hershey’s many attractions. The Hershey transit system was a pet project for Milton Hershey. Heavy subsidies kept the basic fare at $.05. Mr. Hershey enjoyed riding the trolley to observe for himself how many employees were making use of the trolleys.


Hershey's trolleys ran for the last time on December 21, 1946.

Hershey's trolleys ran for the last time on December 21, 1946.

Private or Public: Hershey = Golf Capital of Pennsylvania


Hershey Park Golf Course, 18th hole. 1935

Hershey Park Golf Course, 18th hole. 1935



Beginning in the 1930s Hershey became known as the “Golf Capital of Pennsylvania.”  Its 54 holes of golf (Hershey Country Club-18, Hershey Park Golf Club-18, Juvenile Golf Course-9, Hotel Hershey Golf Course-9) made Hershey a popular destination for golfers of all skill levels.


Hershey golf courses attracted some of the country’s best golfers. Hershey Country Club sponsored the Hershey Open a professional golf tournament for several years beginning in 1931.


Golf was a popular sport within the Hershey community. Hershey corporations featured annual tournaments for workers. The Hershey Men’s Club also sponsored local tournaments for members. Most of these tournaments were played on the Hershey’s public course, the Hershey Park Golf Course  (later Parkview). As one of Hershey’s public courses, the Park course was open to anyone. It was very popular with tourists and residents alike.



In 1957 the Park Course received national attention when it hosted the 32nd Annual National Public Links Golf Championship. This tournament was first held in 1922 at the Ottawa Park Course in Toledo, Ohio. It was established to allow public course players the opportunity to compete nationally. The 1957 tournament was held July 29 – August 3, 1957. The tournament attracted players from across the United States, including six players from Hawaii.


The competition was a match play championship where the winner of each game was determined by the number of holes won rather than the number of strokes. The 1957 winner was Don Essig III who was a sophomore from Louisiana State University who beat Gene Towry of Dallas, Texas.