30 May: Hershey and the Chocolate Theme Park

Hersheypark was created as a recreation ground for the workers and families who staffed the Hershey chocolate factory in Pennsylvania when it opened on 30th May, 1906. But visitors from across the State soon came to marvel at its playgrounds, boating lake and band-stand… and, before long, the environs began to morph into the chocolate-themed amusement park it remains to this day.

Its success exemplifies the ‘Company Town’ phenomenon: at one point, 3% of the USA’s entire population lived in a town that was owned and run by the company that they worked for.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how caramel, not chocolate, first paved the way to Hershey’s success; debate whether Hersheypark was a philanthropic gift to his employees, or a cynical bid to keep them from leaving; and explain to Americans why Brits would prefer an attraction with less butyric acid… 

Further Reading:

• ‘More Than 110 Years of Hersheypark Happy’ (Hershey, 2022): https://www.hersheypa.com/about-hershey/history/hersheypark-history.php

• Milton Hershey, The Man Who Built A Chocolate Empire (All That’s Interesting, 2022): https://allthatsinteresting.com/milton-hershey

• ‘From Sweet To Sweeter: The Legacy of Hersheypark’ (Hersheypark Enthusiast, 2021):