in the long years of the 19th and 20th centuries in which milton s hershey lived america was a growing industrial giant in a brutally changing world a hapless rural population was displaced to grim factory towns as cold-blooded men climbed a power on their backs over those troubled times improbably incredibly in the shadow of the poverty scarred appellations a shangri-la grew its families found steady and rewarding work its children found good schools good sport and good futures all citizens have the chance to find a sweet life in a fantasy candy kingdom the odd man who built this unlikely pennsylvania town was milton s hershey often shy distracted and reserved he inspired bountious love and loyalty he was a multi-millionaire uninterested in society or spending himself and a resolutely thrifty man who never let anyone he saw in need go unhelped scarcely educated and contemptuous of book learning he founded a great educational system though he seldom wrote or deeply read he built a fabulous business empire maybe the god smiled so consistently on the works of milton s hershey because of the billion moments of harmless happiness he brought to the world with the beneficent wonder with which he immortalized his name chocolate that milton s hershey over his 88 years was born worked and died inside the same few miles of pennsylvania countryside says much about both man and countryside in this lush beautiful setting he found not only the abundance of rich farm ingredients that would propel his business to greatness but the human and emotional riches that are the main wealth of a simple man the house he built as a man of great fortune was handsome and comfortable but would have fit easily into the reception fourier of some of the great homes of newport and long island but its main feature was where he built it he didn’t run miles away to distant hills and seashores as the others did to be with their aristocratic like he chose not only to stay within view and walking distance of the business that was his life but of the people that were its heart and soul the people among whom he had risen in his beginnings in the middle of the 1800s the people of bury township dauphin county pennsylvania many of the mennonites proudly followed a rock rib devotion to god and his injunction to gain a living by unending sweat of the brow henry hershey who was to be milton hershey’s father was most untypical of the plain people he would pass traits to his son half-hazardly henry was a dreamer though he never had much formal education he had he was well-read and just had a great love of books and always was looking at the new he had dozens of ideas many of which came to pass but henry just didn’t have the perseverance or the money or the connections to make them happen veronica snavely known as fanny was the daughter of a mennonite clergyman she was a strict intensely focused and humorous woman who met and fell for the charming henry hershey quickly married him and quickly regretted it as she saw his alien ways it was only the birth of a son at the hershey homestead on september 13 1857 that held them together henry met a friend who just had a baby what do you call him he asked milton was the reply oh that’s a good name said henry that’s what i’ll call mine in 1860 henry took the family to titusville pennsylvania hoping to cash in on the country’s first oil boom it was only the beginning of his failures fanny counted 17 of them despite the happiness of a daughter serena born in 1862 henry’s failures began to grate unfannie

in the mennonite faith wealth is a sign of god’s grace and that you work hard because that’s a way of showing devotion to god and if you’re financially successful that’s simply a gift from god milton passed his school days at a series of one-room schools his mother approved of his vehement distaste for books which she blamed for ruining her husband milton left school happily at age 13. so crippled in literacy he would leave almost no written records in 1866 henry hershey moved his family to a rundown farm at nine points in lancaster county fanny hated it calling it that little stoney farm henry and milton loved the variety of hills streams glenns and people in 1867 milton’s sister serena died at the age of four with henry away roaming fannie with her husband now largely vanished from her life was content to be thought a widow with an orphaned son about the relationship between fannie and henry um it was it was an unusual one for the time period i think um they they did separate early on in in milton hershey’s life don’t think we don’t know exactly when that all happened but they did they went their own ways what made milton hershey so successful was his creativeness his ability to envision what could be he got that from his father henry was not a successful person and when his father would fail he would just say well that happened let’s move on you know it’s not going to stop me milton hershey got that from his father when milton failed miserably as apprentice apprentice in lancaster fannie stepped in and took charge of her drifting son she insisted he make something tangible and in demand and that meant something to eat milton perked up remembered his notable sweet tooth and expressed an interest in making candy thus beginning a career that would take his name around the earth joseph royer was a master confectioner his ice cream garden on west king street was a mecca for the students of nearby franklin and marshall college milton was apprenticed to roya at age 14 on june 1st 1876 eighteen-year-old milton hershey began his first candy business in the great city of philadelphia with a hundred and fifty dollars borrowed from his aunt martha snavely he called her aunt maddie she funded his operations uh considerably not only did she fund uh not or work along with milton hershey in the operations but gave of her own money to these the new candy business was set up in an eight by ten foot space on unfashionable spring garden street all he would have to show for it after five years was a habit of back-breaking labor that it was not unusual for him to go into the work area and spend 15 16 hours go home sleep for four or five hours and then come back and start again a new day and i think it was because it was something new and that was something that milton hershey really thrived on he knew unlike his father that if he was going to succeed he had to put every bit of energy that he had into the business at this time milton came across what he described as some kind of taffy called caramel each hand wrapped piece included a corny poem like roses are red violets are blue sugar is sweet and so are you named french secrets their rousing success called for his first business associate he was harry lebkicker a tall sour bulgy-eyed civil war veteran and lumberyard clerk who saw something in young milton visible to few others leb unwavering support would help milton hershey through approaching disasters in 1880 with the philadelphia caramel business slipping under and maddy wrote repeatedly to a parsimonious brother abraham on her nephew’s behalf one letter read in part milt wants 400 more he must stop if he don’t get it for he don’t get anything on trust grudgingly the money came back and so did milton’s father henry the old schemer and dreamer milton put him on the payroll at four dollars a week until and maddie insisted

that the cost be jettisoned henry undaunted as ever disappeared toward the colorado silver rush by 1882 henry hershey had been joined in denver by his son the work and the reluctance of others to invest more money in his business had broken milton physically and economically what riches he found in denver didn’t come out of the ground when milton hershey went out to denver we understand that he worked for a confectioner and at that time that confectioner used fresh milk in the product and what that tended to do was to the way it was used was to extend the shelf life of the candies and this had pretty tremendous impact on on milton hershey because in those days of course they were just you know shipping the the candies locally and and there wasn’t need to to preserve them for any longer periods of time now milton broke away from henry again and by way of chicago and new orleans arrived in new york city working by day for a candy manufacturer he toiled by night at the kitchen range of his rooming house making his own convections to sell on the street his first shop in new york was at 742 sixth avenue smelling another adventure henry arrived to lend a hand even with everyone working day and night the book showed milton falling steadily behind and when some kid stampeded his delivery wagon and scattered his wares he was broke after the failure of his new york candy business milton hershey returned to lancaster to find that his relatives had given up on him they not only withheld further financial aid but they did not offer to take him in afterwards none would benefit greatly from his coming fortune milton never forgot failed loyalty or forgot when loyalty was rendered as it was now by harry lebkicker he not only took milton in but paid for all of the candy equipment shipped from new york he did it not in a business sense but as a friend milton hershey never ever forgot that kind of kindness and when he comes to up to hershey to build his new factory lebkecker is with him and he has a place of importance within mr hershey’s inner circle years later at harry lebkicker’s funeral a tearful milton hershey would say we’ve just buried the best friend i ever had with only his mesmeric ability to obtain credit in small packets to sustain them milton along with fanny and aunt maddy struggled day and night to get the candy business going in a church street store he wasn’t afraid to experiment and try and recognize the fact that he had a risk factor but certainly the successes that i think that he’s brought about have been because of his unique ability to rise up after falling down a number of times people loved hershey’s chewy new milk-based caramel he would soon need money for expansion as the fates bestowed their first smiles upon him at this moment an english importer named desis noticed the quality and shipping stability of hershey’s crystal a caramels and took a big load on consignment but months went by without further word then a 90-day note for 700.00 pledged against aunt matty’s house came due from the lancaster county national bank so he goes to the bank and he says i can’t pay this and i need even more money because i need to buy more ingredients and the man who he was talking to was the cashier of this bank his name was brennaman he takes brennaman back to his work area and it wasn’t very impressive but brennaman was very very impressed with milton hershey i really believe in this man so i’m going to put my own name to this loan he does that and about five days before the loan that second loan comes due milton hershey receives payment from dc’s is able to pay off a loan and from that point on it’s a matter of about four years before he’s one of lancaster’s most successful citizens the lancaster caramel company was incorporated in 1894 within six years it took him from grinding poverty to immense wealth give them quality hershey said that’s the best advertising in the world all his life he felt that this quality and his name on the wrapper were all the advertising he needed out into the world went superb candy is under names like jim crack mcginty’s roly-poly and lotus

but it was his crystal a caramels that formed the bedrock of the new hershey bounties the factory rapidly expanded outward upward and into other buildings branch factories and offices appeared outside of lancaster west and east soon there were thirteen hundred employees he was working so hard that he couldn’t stop to think about um who he was or whether he had friendships or not that he was just sort of paddling as fast as he could to keep his head above water while he was no backslapper or wisecracker hershey earned his employees respect by his constant willingness to peel off his coat and work beside them in the midst of the runaway success of his caramel company his restless long-range vision took his attention overseas to an item that had begun to fascinate him the delectable bean of the cocoa tree it could be roasted ground and broken down into a sublime liquor that formed the basis of chocolate in the early 1900s chocolate was really a luxury item that was only affordable by the economic top of the of the ladder in our country and i think one of the keys to milton hershey’s success was that in the back of his mind he saw making good chocolate at an affordable price for the mass consumer and he wanted his product distributed everywhere i think he was the first of his kind certainly in the confectionary industry and in a sense in a small sense i think he was to chocolate what henry ford was to automobiles it was in 1893 that hershey visited the great colombian exposition in chicago what he saw there would transform his life and his career while he was there he saw a demonstration of chocolate making machinery that was on display from germany was fascinated by that machinery just fascinated milton hershey as well as the new and the untried and he saw chocolate as that the exposition’s chocolate machines were in operation and the site of the process exploded a new determination within him he said excitedly to a companion caramels are a fad but chocolate is permanent i’m going to make chocolate by 1894 hershey had brought the chocolate making machinery of the dismantled colombian exposition back to lancaster and the hershey chocolate company was soon in full operation from these lines poured a conucopia with names like cuban cigars hero of manila ladyfingers ozark sticks and lobsters 114 chocolate items with money pouring in hershey began to indulge in a little unmennonite round of feeling his oats he started to spend on horses stables and carriages and joined the high falutin lancaster tallyho club he spent a then prodigious 708 dollars for what the invoice called a 24 tune cylinder music box with bells and drums and inlaid table he bought a gold watch that could not easily have been made to cost more uneasy at milton hershey’s new ways a factory girl who visited highpoint said the grandeur appalled me hershey would tell a friend that the day came when he looked into a mirror saw a diamond-covered fop in a loud suit and remembered the plain family from which he had come he said to himself m.s hershey you’re a damned old fool and never wore jewelry again in 1898 at the age of 40 milton hershey presented his family and friends with a shock her name was catherine sweeney and she was 25 he called her kitty she was described as being very witty and gay just full of the joy of life milton who has been spending so much of his life involved in his business must have been very attracted to someone who saw that joy in life and the story goes that his mother was complaining to him that he never spent any weekend home and he said well i’ll be home next weekend and every weekend after that i’m getting married this weekend pride and vanity mother hershey sniffed when the spirited well-dressed young new york catholic invaded the home she shared with her son she asked waspishly were you ever on the stage

it is the first million that’s hardest to get her she said he would get that million with the surprising sale of the highly profitable caramel company that had built his fortune yeah milton hershey sold his lancaster caramel company for a million dollars in 1900 to his biggest competitor and uh many people think that that’s that’s quite a risk that he was taking he decided just to go entirely into chocolate by this time hershey was working to perfect a milk chocolate formula he decided to take his new capital and build a chocolate factory in the rolling hills of pennsylvania in what was perhaps the great decision of his life milton hershey selected a site in the green fields of derry church pennsylvania and began construction of what would be called the factory in the cornfield a huge chocolate plant surrounded by a staggering idea one born at the great colombian exposition here was the great white city as it was called the new jerusalem completely built and fabricated on swampland near chicago and here was a grand idea of what a city could be in the lush countryside bordering his ideal factory hershey would undertake to build the ideal town where the ideal workforce would live play do business and prosper as they delivered a matchless chocolate product and we have a map uh in the collections of the of the museum that actually shows how he purchased the land uh in in order the numbers are on the blocks of land and then it shows hershey all laid out and there’s the chocolate factory big block of land as you can imagine and the streets are all laid out but there are no houses on them yet as he planned his factory in town hershey had taken note of the excellent rail service into the area and its rich supply of good clean water his business would need in abundance and then there was the bounty of his principal need tons and tons of fresh wholesome milk out of the finest stock grass and dairy men in the country to bring his workforce to him more easily his plan included a widespread system of trolley lines that would spoke out through the countryside toward the distant cities mr hershey had a very strong vision of what he wanted not only for his chocolate company but for his workers and the kind of environment that he wanted to provide and that was a very far-reaching view that he had certainly uncommon in his day and age what do you think of my little project hershey asked one of his executives the man gulped and said bravely my opinion would be that your friend should go into court and have a guardian appointed for you the man kept his job and hershey kept on in his dubious dream of perfecting a town built on all the sweet things of life hershey’s new chocolate world continued rising on the open countryside of dairy church on a scale that would have daunted the pyramid builders engineers battled to coordinate railway sightings water main sewage systems trolley lines parks streets and buildings all incidental to the construction of the great factory that was its reason for being milton hershey’s real strength was in experimentation the unknown and he approached that not on a scientific basis but on a hands-on basis by just trying things and seeing what happened he didn’t want to know whether it was possible he wanted you to try it and if you failed well that was fine the trying was what was really important the new factory was modern in every way the very latest machinery eliminated the cost and tedium of hand wrapping and hand making chocolate hershey painstakingly developed the procedures he found ways to get rid of the excess butter to accommodate the incompatibility of milk and liquid-resistant chocolate to cut the hours of heavy expensive grinding to wear away lumpiness things like plow machines chases and melange appeared to blend mixer portion and smooth when he had a success hershey’s voice would ring out we’ve got it

the milage of other hershey product lines began thinning down to make way for the irresistible force that was the milk chocolate hershey bar catherine would say proudly see what my little dutchman can do he loved mass production told that the product of a famous watch company was handed down from grandfathers he shouted think of it only one profit in three generations always in the vanguard hershey introduced the automobile to his town his driver liked to boast that he and milton had not had a single accident saying the carriage is easily handled if the operator decides to keep his cool hershey’s father was enjoying himself asked what he was doing while shopping he chirped happily spending milt’s money in 1904 shortly after cheerfully proclaiming he would live to be a hundred henry or she died suddenly to be greatly missed by his son oh papi pappy mourned fanny hershey and burned the books she felt had driven him from her hershey took special care in the building of the houses his workers would live in as renters or buyers he was in the vanguard of the first rigorous suburban zoning codes assuring that houses were a comfortable distance from the roads and one another the streets were named for all things bearing on chocolate and where the cocoa bean was grown resulting in not just chocolate avenue but thoroughfares called cocoa caracas and java the winning entry in the contest to rename the town was hershey cocoa chosen above beansdale beats all and saint milton but cool heads prevailed and the town was named yes hershey he had to battle washington for the post office that would bear the town’s name he had to impel the philadelphia and reading railroads to build a new hershey railroad station a prosperous town needs its own bank and he organized chartered and built the hershey trust company he also built the first-rate department store needed by a first-rate town and in the interest of moral rectitude he gave land for churches founded in 1903 hershey has endured over a century and retains an astonishing amount of the charm and livability that its founder had envisioned but way back when the new century was gaining momentum events still held much that was dangerous and undecided in the matter of milton hershey and his chocolate factory in 1906 in the midst of creating an entire factory in town milton hershey somehow found time to start building a long deferred house for himself and kitty highpoint had few rooms no bar and no swimming pool the staff was minimal housekeeper house man and housemaid the furniture was sturdy but store-bought kitty hershey was like as not to greet guests at the door in an apron milton hershey loved his gardens and indulged himself by endlessly moving its fountains to new locations and he now had a place to entertain the housefulls of business and personal guests that visited ipoint the house satisfied him perfectly and gave him his first taste of building for someone else his beloved kitty together they would find quiet pleasures in its peaceful vistas restful architecture and familiar and comfortable corners when it became clear that he and an increasingly unwell kitty would never have the children of their own they so desired they began what was to become the capstone of their lives a home for orphans i think this really ties into milton hershey’s sorrows about his own childhood about the time that his parents were separated and he feeling like an orphan he spent a lot of his childhood moving around quite a bit and he wanted to create a more stable environment for boys were being raised similar to that he had been raised hershey would say i would give everything i possessed to be able to call one of these boys my own it was known as the

hershey industrial school an institution for the residence and accommodation of orphan boys he saw it developing while he was alive and he protected the future of it by the unique trust system that he set up and to the extent that all of us who have come after him are able to do so it is our clear objective to shepherd along to protect and enhance the legacy that he established long ago in the schools that i went to as a boy before coming to hershey an orphan was someone that people pointed out and said you know he’s different when we came to milton hershey school we were all orphans so it became a non-problem you could forget about that and get on with your life and this gave us a confidence and a real feeling of assurance that if we use our talent we could make something of ourselves and mrs never let us forget that without direct ears hershey would perpetuate the school with all of your stock in the company are then staggering 60 million and it would grow into a showcase facility that would widen its net and turned out generations of graduates to go on to lives they could never have dreamed of most students live in the grounds in comfortable homes with caring house parents each student absorbs the lessons of a loving society as well as those of the workplace over the years the hershey school has grown beyond even its founders fondest dreams it is a living tribute to milton and catherine hershey if they were here today i wouldn’t know what to say to them because they’ve changed so many lives the town of hershey continued to grow in 1909 milton opened hershey park that brought 100 000 visitors in a single summer only his onion ice cream would fail here his open air theater arrived in 1911 and hershey took it as god’s approval that it did not rain once all season in the spring of 1912 finding it necessary to hurry home from a trip abroad he cancelled the reservations he had made for a later trip on a fast new ocean liner so the titanic went down without milton hershey with kitty sliding steadily deeper into a fatal neurological disease the hershey’s traveled the world to distract her increasingly she sought the services of non-traditional healers milton personally bought roses for her each day found kitty quickly while they were returning home through philadelphia she felt desperately ill on march 25 1915 her heart stopped of milton an attending nurse would say he was like a madman after kitty’s life played out the joy of high point would leave with her thereafter he would wander the stairs and studies once again the austere duty-driven being he had been before she had come into his world later he would turn the mansion into a golf clubhouse and live in two rooms he took the death of his wife badly and from that point on he really focuses his attention on his businesses and on the community fleeing his grief milton hershey turned his personal and business attentions to cuba the sunny island would not only soothe his aching heart but bring exciting new dimensions to the hershey empire with his beloved catherine gone a grieving milton hershey turned his energies toward his new interests in cuba a hershey presence on the subtropical island was a way to build a stable cheap seemingly uninterruptible source of the sugar supplies that had bedeviled his company from the beginning near santa cruz del norte he built first-class refineries and began to mill in refined sugar and haul it on his own rail line as at home he provided handsomely for his workers in the matter of housing schools and medical care creating for cuba a utopian town he had his failures when the wrigley company began putting their name on a chocolate hershey retaliated by introducing a new chewing gum since wrigley owned the chicago cubs baseball team

hershey now tried to buy the philadelphia club to contest wrigley on all fields the purchase failed and so did the gum i never lost my temper hershey would say but i lost money on it in 1920 as fanny hershey lay dying another disaster was overtaking her son mr hershey in anticipation of a shortage of sugar bought on margin a tremendous amount of sugar futures in order to have adequate sugar to run his plants the sugar market collapsed and of course he had to make good on his margin accounts suffering millions of dollars of loss at that time mr hershey has quite a bit of money board from the national city bank in new york and to protect their interests they had a supervisor an administrator here in hershey for quite a bit of time and he watched things pretty close but we almost had to ask him when we could put a extra pushing stamp or letter going out mr hershey didn’t like to operate very well like that and he said i’ll be happy when we get these bankers back in new york hershey bitterly described the bank administrator as a man who would walk in with spats sit on his tail and direct everybody over the next two years he drove himself in what operations he controlled beyond a point where even a robust constitution could be expected to survive his workers caught his purpose in spirit at the earliest moment he paid down enough of the loan to the national city bank to get rid of their watchdog on the day the loan was discharged hershey requested that the man promptly remove himself from the premises he called it one of the happiest days of my life the great stock market crash of 1929 introduced the hardships of depression as business fell to a whisper everywhere and breadlines grew milton hershey determined that the troubles would not touch his paradise instead of firing he would employ instead of retrenching he would build mr hershey had a unique perspective during the time of the depression and in fact we are clearly the beneficiaries of a major building campaign that took place at a time when the rest of the country was having very very severe economic and financial difficulties one depression project was a hotel and what a hotel its inspiration had come comically off an egyptian postcard featuring a small 30 room hotel hershey handed the car to an architect and asked for a 200 room version a later scaled back to a mere 170. a wonder of the world when it was completed in 1933 the delightful hotel hershey would retain every bit of its magnificent eccentricity sitting on a hill selected by milton and catherine decades before it became hershey’s magnificent ground down looking down on all the chocolate could create it featured marble corridors royal sweets and vista approaches as though the depression had ceased to exist the grandiose fountain splashed central court could become outmoded but never ungracious the dining room is round because hershey had observed in some places if you don’t tip well they put you in a corner now it was impossible allegedly he was walking through the lobby one day and asked the general manager of hotel hershey how many room nights had been reserved the night before and the manager reluctantly said mr hershey 12 rooms and he said 12 rooms well we’ve got 150 here let’s make certain those 12 people have a very unique experience as hershey looked out on some steam shovels during the hotel’s construction the foreman said those machines could do the work of 40 men take them off hershey said hire 40 men because he was so mindful of the welfare of his workers he was stung in 1937 when some of his employees engaged in a sit-down strike of the plant one described as a civil war in utopia he felt betrayed they were striking all over the country was really in bad shape they’re not only hershey but they finally hit hershey which was unthinkable because everybody

at hershey was doing a good job and we all loved our jobs this led to the formation of a loyal workers group and they were soon joined in the public meetings by the local farmers whose milk market was then gone and they came across the bridge and you could see them coming in the wave and the first thing you knew you saw stones flying all over the place and the farmers went in and kicked out all the sit-down strikers and it was quite a melee that they had the year of the great strike coincided with hershey’s 80th birthday at a huge party held in the arena the former strikers turned out on mass to help him celebrate he wept happily milton hershey’s last chance to serve his country came in world war ii when he oversaw the development of the high-energy chocolate bars carried in their field rations by gi’s serving the war zones we had three bars for a daily ration and they each were somewhere around four ounces in size and they contained 600 calories the bars were favorites of the gis and made a great gift to the starving the non-melting tropical bar was thought a minor miracle he was immensely proud when the field rationed d bars won four army navy e for excellence awards hershey spent a peaceful 88th and final year still experimenting with new confections and testing them on his nurses he puckishly tried celery carrot and potato ice creams his beat sorbet was a surprising success he hung on to see the end of the war and just a bit more his 88th birthday party was held in the homestead where he was born with his old cradle behind his chair his plans to make 90 visit cuba and see a new plant completed were not to be hershey’s fighting heart gave out on october 13 1945 the quality of life in the community was unusually high due primarily to the foresight and generosity of mr hershey but i think that’s the strongest point that i can say his school his school his school is the greatest aspect of his life if mr hershey was here today i would get down on my knees and thank him for the good that he had done in my life milton hershey was buried in the hershey cemetery beside kitty henry and fanny the old team was together again in the heart of the gentle and prospering town they had built on the sweet and simple joys of chocolate you