Hershey, PA. Photo by Jon Dawson via flickr.
In the early 1900s, Milton Hershey had a plan for a chocolate factory. Using proceeds from the sale of his caramel company, Hershey bought land for the factory in central Pennsylvania’s Derry Township, near his birthplace. What would follow, however, was much more than just a factory. Based on Hershey’s vision, Hershey, PA grew to include schools, shops, a theater, a stadium, and even the Hershey Amusement Park, which was originally intended for the recreational use of employees and their families. The indelible imprint that Hershey left on Derry Township can be seen in everything from the Milton Hershey School, which continues to educate underprivileged children, to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, founded after Hershey’s death through an endowment of his trust, to the Hershey’s Kiss–shaped street lights that adorn downtown Chocolate Avenue.
A model smart growth town, Hershey, PA was built as a place where residents could live, work, and play. High quality housing, an affordable transportation system, tree-lined streets, and cultural opportunities combined to offer Hersey’s residents a uniquely high quality of life. The vision of Milton Hershey was as much about progress as it was about whimsy, as much about opportunity as it was inspiration, and as much about community as it was chocolate.