16:35 PM

5 Things You Didn't Know About How Hersheypark Began

Opening Day of Hersheypark, 110 Years Ago

More than 110 years ago, Hersheypark founded by Milton S. Hershey opened for the use of the employees of his chocolate company. What was that day like? 

Here are 5 things you probably didn't know about Hersheypark before it was opened. 

1. His Mom Said No.

As he laid out his model industrial town, Milton Hershey set aside 150 acres of land for a park. According to the Hershey Community Archives, Milton's mom didn't think a park for his employees was the best use of this land. But in 1903, even though Hershey's Mennonite mother thought his idea was frivolous, he proceeded to survey a site along Spring Creek suitable for his park.

2. Simply Entertaining.

Hersheypark's original appeal was its simplicity. An ideal spot for picnicking, boating, and canoeing, the Park was landscaped with graceful trees and wooded groves that provided a shady retreat for thousands of people without being crowded. The original main buildings, a rustic bandstand and pavilion, served as a stage for vaudeville and theatre productions.

3. Work Hard, Play Hard.

From the moment he created his community, Milton S. Hershey planned to build a park to create a more pleasant environment for workers and residents than any typical factory town of the time.

Mr. Hershey was concerned about providing adequate recreation and diversions, so he built a park in 1906, and expanded rapidly over the next several years. Amusement rides, a swimming pool, and a ballroom were added. Soon, trolley cars and trains were bringing thousands of out-of-town visitors to the park.

From its inception, Hersheypark was designed with families in mind. The original park offered picnic pavilions for families and groups and children’s playgrounds dotted the park, offering slides, swings and teeter-totters.

4. Batter Up.

On April 24, 1907, Hersheypark hosted a baseball game played on the new athletic field as Mr. Hershey and his wife, Catherine, watched from the grandstand.

5. The Space Between

From 1906-1971 there was a space in the name Hersheypark. In 1971, the first phase of a five-year redevelopment campaign began the conversion from Hersheypark as a regional amusement park to Hersheypark, one of America's most popular theme parks.