The Man Behind a Legacy
“I believed that, if I put a chocolate on the market that was better than anyone else was making, or was likely to make, and keep it absolutely uniform in quality, the time would come when the public would appreciate it and buy it.” ~Milton S. Hershey
Born on September 13, 1857, Milton S. Hershey was an iconic figure in our Pennsylvanian history.
Many know him as the great chocolatier who created the Hershey Chocolate Bar, but he did much, much more.
With two failed businesses behind him, he started his journey penniless, but that didn’t stop him from trying again. In 1883, he established the Lancaster Caramel Company, which established him as a candy maker. Then in 1903, he constructed what is now the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing plant. Construction was completed in 1905, and this is where he made his Hershey Milk Chocolate.
“Caramels are only a fad. Chocolate is a permanent thing.” ~Milton S. Hershey
He had a vision for a community around his chocolate plant. He wanted it to be more than a city full of row houses; he wanted a town with tree lined streets and single and 2 family homes. He also wanted to provide recreational activities, so he built a park that opened on May 30th 1906. Over the next several years, amusement rides, a swimming pool, and many other things were added, which brought thousands of tourists to the park.
Hershey’s town’s buildings were built during the Great Depression; it was part of Milton Hershey’s “Great Building Campaign” in order to provide more jobs for the community.
In 1909, he and his wife established a school for orphan boys, which in now known as the Milton Hershey School. After his wife died in 1918, he donated the school his entire fortune of Hershey Company stock.
“If we had helped a hundred children it would have all been worthwhile.” ~Milton S. Hershey
Many years later in 1937 he established the M.S. Hershey Foundation – a small, private charitable foundation that provided educational and cultural resources for local charities. The Foundation supported The Hershey Story, Hershey Gardens, Hershey Theatre, and the Hershey Community Archives.
The town of Hershey is a special place for its community and for the thousands of tourists that visit every year. Milton Hershey may have started out penniless, but he left a legacy. He was truly an inspiration.
“Young man: Be honest; train yourself for useful work; love God.” ~Milton Hershey