While many people just know Hershey for their famous chocolate bars, there is a unique history behind the company and the town. The influence of Milton Hershey can be seen everywhere in his town- it is amazing how much he accomplished! For even more information about Hershey, check out our previous blog post.
The term “fun-sized” is not used by Hershey Foods, but by Mars Incorporated, Hershey’s main competitor.
However, the two companies had partnered together in the years before World War Two due to chocolate rationing. Mars was looking to produce a new candy, so they used Hershey Chocolate for the product: M&M’s. The name M&M’s stands for Mars and Murrie, who was the representative from Hershey who had stock in the Mars company in exchange for the chocolate trade. After the war Forrest Mars bought out Murrie’s shares, and thus severed the companies’ ties.
The Hotel Hershey’s design is based off of a small Mediterranean hotel.
Mr. Hershey loved to travel, and would spend a few months out of the year away from the town of Hershey. So, when it came to designing the Hotel, he had lots of inspiration from his travels. At first, he wanted to replicate the beauty of an Egyptian resort, but the project was too expensive. Instead, Mr. Hershey gave the architect a postcard with a picture of the small hotel on it and told him to keep as much of the charm as he could, while making it more ornate.
Hershey has a very unique sightseeing tour.
While many cities have tour buses to allow visitors to see landmarks, Hershey has a trolley-car inspired bus where guests are not only taken to see the town, but they are also entertained. Instead of listening to an audio recording describing the surroundings, there are actors during the summer shows that serve as the guides. The guides act as many different characters to help tell the story of Milton Hershey and his town.
The Hershey Zoo began because of some well-intentioned gifts.
Now run by ZooAmerica, the original Hershey Zoo began when Franz Zimmer received a gift of 12 prairie dogs from his former neighbor who moved to the western United States. Unable to keep the animals in his backyard, Zimmer approached Milton Hershey about setting up an exhibit for the animals in the newly formed park, to which Hershey agreed. The two men decided to create a zoo after Zimmer received another gift of a bear cub from the same friends.
The Hersheys did not live in an extravagant mansion.
During the creation of the town of Hershey, Milton and Catherine Hershey also had to plan for a home of their own. Despite being locally known as the Hershey Mansion (and formally as High Point), the house was rather small considering what the Hersheys could have afforded. However, the gardens outside were very beautiful and well kept because of Catherine’s management, and were open to the public.
The Hershey Chocolate Company also produced soap.
The Hershey Chocolate Company did not just make candies, but branched into making soap as a way to use the millions of pounds of excess cocoa butter from production. It took the work of many chemists to find a way to create a soap that stayed together and did not smell too much like cocoa. The soap was sold across the East Coast until the 1950’s, when other uses were found for the cocoa butter. Today, Hershey still produces the cocoa butter soap that is sold in Hershey-owned stores.
Milton Hershey loved gardens.
In addition to the gardens at High Point and the Hotel Hershey, Mr. Hershey approved for the addition of a public rose garden less than a mile from the Hotel in 1936. In the first year 12,000 bushes were planted, and the garden expanded rapidly from there. The American Rose Society even honored Mr. Hershey’s rose garden by naming a new variety of rose after him in 1940. Today, the Hershey Gardens has a wide variety of plant life, and also has a butterfly house and a Children’s Garden.
The Hershey Park Arena houses events ranging from high school sports to concerts.
During the Great Depression, Milton Hershey began huge building projects because he had almost unlimited workers. The last of these projects was the Hershey Arena, which is still used for concerts and sporting events today. The Arena used to be the summertime practice field for the Philadelphia Eagles, one of Pennsylvania’s professional football teams. Today the field is primarily used for local high school football teams in the fall. Over the summer, Hershey hosts a concert series. Some of the musicians that have performed there include Beyoncé, Maroon 5, Demi Lovato, and Kendrick Lamar.
Hershey Foods is committed to sustainable farming.
Hershey Foods sources most of its cocoa beans from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, and is working on educating farmers about sustainable farming practices to meet their goal of having 100% sustainably grown cocoa in their products by 2020.
The M.S. Hershey Foundation created a teaching hospital.
Another organization in the town that bears Milton Hershey’s name is the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The hospital is a teaching hospital where medical students from Pennsylvania State University are trained. Also, it has won awards for excellent nursing and is one of the top five hospitals in the state according to rankings by the U.S. News and World Report.
Representative: someone who is speaking for a person or company, usually to share their ideas with another organization
Stock: to have stock in a company is when you pay to share in their profits
Severed: to cut
Ornate: decorations that are very fancy and artistic
Prairie Dogs: found in the prairies (large fields) on the Western U.S., these animals look more like squirrels than dogs, and live in connecting holes in the ground.
Cocoa Butter: the fat contained in the cocoa bean that is removed during chocolate production
Sustainable: able to continue for a long time.
Bears: in this case, to be called (by a certain name or title)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sydney Weidler is a sophomore (2nd year) student studying Nutrition and Dietetics at Messiah College, and is one of the virtual interns at America House this year! She loves travelling, reading, and baking, as well as playing the oboe and spending time with friends and family.