|Hershey, Pennsylvania circa 1912|
Derry Church, Pennsylvania - est. 1729
People all over Planet Earth are familiar with Hershey, Pennsylvania, and the unparalleled success of Founder Milton Snavely Hershey's chocolate factory. But few people realize that Hershey, PA was originally settled in 1729, as a small farming community, called Derry Church. This was long before Pennsylvania became a State. One hundred twenty eight years later, on September 13, 1857, Milton Hershey was born at Derry Church.
After an apprenticeship with a local Confectioner, Hershey began his first attempt at the candy business as a young man of 19. After several failed forays into the business world, Hershey finally found success at the age of 31, manufacturing caramels, not chocolate, in the nearby town of Lancaster, PA. After Hershey sold his burgeoning caramel business for 1 million dollars, around the year 1900, he decided to venture into the manufacture of milk chocolate, which, at the time, was considered an expensive luxury, enjoyed only by the affluent.
Hershey had the money to build his factory anywhere he wished, and he spent some time looking at, and considering several other US cities. But it was the charming and rustic little village, of his beloved childhood home, Derry Church, that he finally chose to build his chocolate empire! Milton Hershey was going home.......and this time there would be NO FAILURE! The rest is, as they say....history. ..........and today, people just call that little village, Hershey.