Revisit the History of Hershey, PA
Being home in quarantine has me thinking that it is a good idea is to brush up on my Hershey history. So I revisited various stories about Milton Snavely Hershey. Born on September 13, 1857, Mr. Hershey went on to become one of America’s wealthiest entrepreneurs and greatest humanitarians, but it did not come easily to him.
Born to Henry and Fanny Hershey in Derry Church, PA, Milton Hershey was believed to have had a fourth-grade level of education. With an interest in candy-making, young Milton became an apprentice at the age of 14 in Lancaster, PA. After two failed attempts at making candy in Philadelphia and New York, he returned to Central Pennsylvania and successfully opened the Lancaster Caramel Co. in 1886.
Inspired by the innovation he witnessed at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, Mr. Hershey became fascinated with making milk chocolate for the masses - not just as a delicacy reserved for the wealthy. In 1900, Mr. Hershey sold the Lancaster Caramel Co. company for $1 million and turned his focus to making chocolate bars. After the development of a successful formula, Mr. Hershey began to build a factory in Derry Church. With its proximity to farms, Hershey could easily access the fresh milk he needed to produce his chocolate. Shortly thereafter, he began to build what would become the world’s largest chocolate-manufacturing plant, which opened as Hershey Chocolate Company in 1905.
In the midst of building his businesses, Mr. Hershey met the woman who would become his wife. Catherine often referred to as Kitty, and Milton were married in New York City in 1898. As his company grew, Hershey chose to build a model community where his employees could happily live, work, and play. That town was later named Hershey in honor of its founder.
The Hersheys enjoyed global travel and wonderful experiences, but it was their philanthropic acts that are their greatest legacy. Unable to have children of their own, Milton and Kitty open Hershey Industrial School (now known as Milton Hershey School) in 1909, leaving their entire fortune to ensure it would continue serving students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade from income-eligible families long after they were gone. Today, the School educates, nurtures, houses more than 2,150 students and boasts 10,000+ alumni.
Mr. Hershey’s legacy is omnipresent across our ‘sweet’ destination 163 years after his birth with13 buildings, cultural or educational institutions proudly bearing his name today, including:
1894 The Hershey Company (originally Hershey Chocolate Company)
1906 Hersheypark (originally Hershey Park)
1909 Milton Hershey School (originally Hershey Industrial School)
1910 ZooAmerica (originally Hershey Zoo)
1927 Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company (originally Hershey Estates)
1933 The Hershey Story (originally Hershey American Indian Museum)
1933 Hershey Theatre
1933 Hershey Bears hockey team (originally Hershey Hockey Club (1933), then Hershey B'Ars (1935))
1933 The Hotel Hershey
1936 Hershey Sports Arena
1937 Hershey Gardens (originally Hershey Rose Garden)
1939 Hersheypark Stadium
All of us at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts take great pride in serving as stewards of the town that chocolate built and preserving the legacy of Mr. Hershey.
Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company is proud to help fulfill the dream of our founder, Milton S. Hershey, by providing value to Milton Hershey School® in its mission of helping students lead happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives - just as Mr. Hershey intended.
Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R) is a world-class entertainment and hospitality company dedicated to preserving the legacy of Milton S. Hershey. Founded in 1927 by Milton S. Hershey, HE&R and its subsidiaries own and/or operate the Hersheypark Entertainment Complex, Hersheypark Arena & Stadium, ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, Hershey Bears hockey team, Giant Center, The Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge, Hersheypark Camping Resort, The Spa At The Hotel Hershey, Hershey Country Club and Hershey Golf Collection, Hershey Nursery, and Hershey Laundry & Dry Cleaning. For additional information about HE&R, visit www.HersheyPA.com.
Trademarks appearing in bold are owned or used by Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company under license or with permission. All rights reserved.