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Archive for the ‘Hershey Trust Company’ Category

Building to Impress: A New Home for the Hershey Trust Company

New Year.  New Exhibit.  I’ve just mounted a new display in the Archives’ exhibit case in the Grand Lobby of The Hershey Story.  This time the exhibit takes a look at building a new building for Hershey Trust Company.


Once Milton Hershey set his mind to something, he moved quickly and decisively.  And building a town for his new chocolate factory was no exception.  During the town’s first thirteen years, construction was constant as buildings went up, were enlarged and even replaced as the town grew.  The reason, of course, was because Hershey’s chocolate business was booming and the town needed to grow to accommodate the growing numbers of workers being hired for the chocolate factory.


View of Hershey from the chocolate factory smokestack.  ca1906-1909

View of Hershey from the chocolate factory smokestack. ca1906-1909


Hershey, of course, was much more than the chocolate factory.  Milton Hershey established a wide variety of businesses to serve the town.  Hershey Trust Company, the town’s first bank, opened in 1905.  By 1910, the trust company’s business was outgrowing its original home.  Milton Hershey asked noted Lancaster architect, C. Emlen Urban, to design a building appropriate for the town’s financial institution.  His design for the new building incorporated classical elements to reflect the importance of its primary occupant.


Titzel Construction Company construction crew stands in front of the future Hershey Trust Company.  1913

Titzel Construction Company construction crew stands in front of the future Hershey Trust Company. 1913


On August 20, 1912, workers broke ground for a new bank building at the intersection of Cocoa and Chocolate Avenues.  Various construction setbacks delayed the completion of the building for almost a year.  The building finally opened in the summer of 1914.


Archival collections hold many documents that trace the path and delays of construction.  If you’re in town, stop in and check out the new exhibit.

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!

Getting started: Hershey Trust Company

 How do we know what we know about the past?  Historians, researchers and students study the materials cared for in an archives to learn more about the past.  Photographs, newspapers, business reports, and other documents provide clues.  When pieced together, the history of a time or organization emerges.  The more clues, the fuller our understanding of the past.


While today the main focus of the Hershey Trust Company  is managing the Milton Hershey School trust fund, that was not its original purpose.  At the Hershey Community Archives, there are a variety of documents that can help us understand the early history of this business.


Documents such as the Hershey Trust Company’s by-laws:






Pamphlet: Hershey Trust Company By-Laws. April 27. 1905





 offer information about the legal organization of the new business as well as its established operating hours: 



Hours of Business.

The Hershey Trust Company shall be open for              

 the transaction of business every day from 9 o’clock

a.m. to 3 o’clock p.m., except Sundays and legal           



Other documents in the Archives’ collections provide information about its funding, financial transactions and annual audits of its assets.  The Archives collection includes ledgers and cash books, annual statements and a variety of emphera that helps us understand how Hershey Trust Company servied the public.  For example, a pamphlet printed by the Trust Company provide information about its early operations:




Pamphlet:  Hershey Trust Company announcement of its new location.  September 30, 1905

Pamphlet: Hershey Trust Company announcement of its new location. September 30, 1905




This pamphlet was created to announce its move to a new location (Cocoa House).  Included in its pages is a list of the Hershey Trust Company functions:


                             POWERS OF THE COMPANY

Receives money on deposit, subject to check.

Issues time certificates of deposit for money left

with the Company for six months or longer, on which

interest will be paid at the rate of three per cent, per annum.


Acts as executor, administrator, trustee, guardian,

assignee, receiver, and buys and sells securities suitable

for trust estates.


Collects incomes and rents, and takes general

charge of real and personal estate.


Buys and sells notes, bonds, mortgages, commercial

paper and approved securities.


Acts as financial agent fo individuals and corporations.


Loans money on mortgages and other approved

collateral securities.


Receives for safe keeping securities and valuables

of every description.


Transacts a general trust business.


Other sources of information about  the early operations of the Hershey Trust Company include can be found in the Paul A. Wallace Collection and the Archives photograph collection, The Hershey Press  (a weekly newspaper in publication from 1909-1926) contains news stories about the early Trust Company and is filled with advertisements such as this one:





Advertisement for Hershey Trust Company; Hershey's Progressive Weekly.  October 17, 1912

Advertisement for Hershey Trust Company; Hershey's Progressive Weekly. October 17, 1912






providing information to reseachers about how Hershey Trust Company presented itself to the public.  Archives contain the keys to learning about the past.  It is up to the researcher to study the clues and organize them so that we can better understand the past.

One last gift. . .

 In 1944 Milton Hershey signed a new will and testament to replace the one he had created in 1909, before he had transferred his fortune to the Milton Hershey School trust fund.  The new will and testament was a brief, two page document.  It provided that most of  his “estate, real, personal and mixed,” should be put into a new trust fund. 

At the time of his death his estate consisted of the wealth that he had accumulated since his endowment of  the Milton Hershey School trust fund in 1918.  The beneficiary of this new trust fund would be the Derry Township School District.  Milton Hershey had been very supportive of the community’s public schools during his lifetime and he wanted to provide an enduring legacy for them.  The purpose of the new trust fund would be for “assisting the Township to relieve tax burden for the upkeep and maintenance of the Township’s public schools.”  In making these plans, Milton Hershey was particularly unsentimental.  His will directed that his personal belongings should be auctioned and the proceeds added to the new trust fund.




A mourner pays his respects at Milton Hershey's gravesite, October 16, 1945

A mourner pays his respects at Milton Hershey's gravesite, October 16, 1945




Following his death on October 13, 1945, his executor, the Hershey Trust Company, made plans for a public auction of his estate. 





Poster advertising the Milton S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17-18. 1945

Poster advertising the Milton S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17-18. 1945





 Complying with Milton Hershey’s wishes, the auction was held at the Community Building on Monday and Tuesday, December 17-18, 1945.  Several Hershey executives protested the sale, wanting to keep his collection intact.  They argued that his personal belongings, 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 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.  Today while much of the furniture is in museum storage, a few pieces are on exhibit in The Hershey Story and at Milton Hershey School’s Founders Hall.


The Auction was held in the Community Building Social Room. There were afternoon and evening sessions with a large attendance. 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 and when added to Milton Hershey’s financial holdings the sale proceeds helped to create a trust fund endowment valued in 1945 at about $900,000.


Since its creation the Milton S. Hershey Testamentary Trust fund has made semi-annual payments to the School District with the goal of helping to underwrite the expense of Hershey’s public education program.  Today the Milton S. Hershey Testamentary Trust Fund is valued at about $23.9 million and Derry Township School District receives about $1.8 million a year to support its budget.


Hershey Community Archives is a rich resource with many resources that document Milton Hershey’s life.  The Paul Wallace collection includes a variety of archival material that documents Mr. Hershey’s life.  Click this link to view the finding aid for this collection.

Providing for the town’s financial needs: Hershey Trust Company

Hershey Trust Company, first office; Cocoa House, ca. 1905
Hershey Trust Company, first office; Cocoa House, ca. 1905


April 1905: Construction for the new chocolate factory had been completed during the winter and the factory was gearing up for full production. Construction of the Cocoa House had recently been completed. It provided housing and meals for single men as well as office space for a variety of businesses needed by the new town. First and foremost Milton Hershey needed a bank to handle the varied finances of the new community. Earlier in the year he had applied to the state for permission to establish a trust company that would serve as the community’s bank. A state charter was granted on April 27, 1905 and Hershey Trust Company opened for business on June 15, 1905 in offices located in the Cocoa House. A published brochure advertised a wide scope of banking services. In addition to handling the Hershey business payrolls, the Trust Company offered savings accounts, mortgages, and commercial and personal loans.

The decision to establish a trust company rather than a bank was made after Milton Hershey sought advice from the Northern National Bank of Lancaster, PA. In his reply, E.J. Ryder, the Northern National cashier, suggested that in addition to taking mortgages, a trust company would have the added advantage of doing fiduciary business.

Still, in 1905 Milton Hershey’s town was more of an idea than an actuality. Though the chocolate factory began full operations that summer, little else was operating in town. Another year would pass before the community was officially named, when the United States Postmaster granted Milton Hershey permission to establish a new post office.

Hershey Trust Company quickly became the town’s financial center, playing an important role in financing Milton Hershey’s construction and development plans. It was instrumental in the growth and development of the town, advertising mortgages in ads that encouraged people to build a home in the new community. The Trust Company advertised frequently in the local papers, encouraging residents to start savings accounts and to plan for the future. To broaden its accessibility, special deposit stations were established on Hershey trolleys. Specialized savings accounts, such as Christmas Savings Clubs, were clever gimmicks promoted by the Trust Company to encourage new account business. Bank accounts were also promoted as a means to future retirement security.



Hershey Trust Company advertisement, published in Hershey's Progressive Weekly, October 17, 1912

Hershey Trust Company advertisement, published in Hershey's Progressive Weekly, 7/10/1913



 Hershey Trust Company continued to serve as the community’s bank for the next two decades. However, in 1918, the Trust Company took on a new responsibility when Milton Hershey transferred his ownership of the Hershey Chocolate Company, then valued at $60 million, to the Hershey Industrial School Trust fund (today Milton Hershey School).

With Milton Hershey’s gift, the Trust Company needed to direct more of its efforts toward the management of the School Trust’s assets. In particular, the Trust Company assumed responsibility for Milton Hershey’s land assets, by then more than 10,000 acres of land in and around Hershey as well as his other financial investments. As the Trust Company assumed these new responsibilities, it became apparent that the town needed a new financial institution to provide the more traditional banking services for the community. To free the Trust Company for its duties as Trustee of the School Trust, the Hershey National Bank, a nationally chartered institution, was established in 1925 to handle the town’s commercial banking needs.