Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Welcome to Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Downtown Hershey.  The street lights are Hershey kisses.

One of the stately mansions downtown near the first Hershey factory.
 Milton Hershey was born in 1857 in Pennsylvania and his family were Mennonites.   As a young boy he was expected to help out on the family farm and he learned the value of hard work and perseverance.   His father moved the family around a great deal leaving Milton with only a fourth grade education.  In 1887, after years of being on his own and traveling from place to place, Hershey established the Lancaster Caramel Company in Lancaster, PA.  Utilizing a caramel recipe he had obtained during his travels, his company became an outstanding success.  It was this business that established him as a candy maker and set the stage for future accomplishments.

Hershey became fascinated with the machinery to make German chocolate exhibited at the 1893 World's Colombian Exposition.  At that time, chocolate was considered a luxury item that only the wealthy could afford to buy.  Hershey bought the equipment for his company and with the proceeds from the 1900 sale of the Lancaster Caramel Company, he acquired land 30 miles northwest of Lancaster, near his birthplace.

There he obtained large supplies of fresh milk needed to perfect and produce fine milk chocolate.  It took a great deal of trial and error before he created his own formula.  The first Hershey bar was enjoyed in 1900.  Hershey's Kisses were developed in 1907 and the Hershey bar with almonds was introduced in 1908.  This Hershey building is on Chocolate Avenue.

The factory was in the center of dairy farmland but with Hershey's support, houses, businesses, churches, and a transportation infrastructure grew around the plant.  With his plant being surrounded by dairy farms, he was able to use fresh milk to mass-produce quality chocolate.  Hershey continued to experiment and perfect the process of making milk chocolate using the techniques he had first learned for adding milk to make caramels.  The shrubs in front of this plant spell out Hershey cocoa.
While in Hershey we took a tour of Chocolate World.  It has many things to offer and we went on a 'mock' tour of the factory to see how chocolate is made.

It was kind of like being on a Disney ride.
Our greeter as we began the ride.

With plenty of her friends to help, they sang as we passed by.

Mixing the chocolate.

This section held what they called the 'slurry'.

Getting the slurry into a consistent mixture.

The final mixing.

A daily tally of that day's production as we were taking the tour.

Lots and lots of Hershey Kisses.

Getting ready for packaging.

When you finish the ride it deposits you into the gift shop.

Never saw so much chocolate in our lives. 

A five pound chocolate bar the Captain wanted to purchase. I said 'no'.  Don't worry, he still got enough other sweets while we were there. 

The best part of Chocolate World, and we think the most fun, was when we got to make our own candy bars.

We had to don aprons and hats and then used computer screens to 'create' our personalized candy bar.

Lee viewing the screen and making major decisions about designing his candy bar. You also have to create the package that will be placed around your candy bar when it is finished.

Next it was my turn.  So many decisions.......

Your  individual bar is given your name as it moves through production.

You start with a base made of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate.  Using a computer, you decide what goodies you want added on top of the base.  

Along the way nuts, butterscotch bits, chocolate bits, sprinkles, etc., are added to your bar based on your 'creation'.  

The Captain's candy bar begins.

What can I say........the chocolate master has arrived!!!

He picked a white chocolate base with nuts, butterscotch morsels, and chocolate chips.

A layer of chocolate is then added to the top.

Moving to the next section is the cooling process.

It takes about six minutes to cool and harden up.  The temperature inside the tunnel is set relative to the room's temperature and humidity levels to prevent water droplets from forming on the chocolate once it exits the tunnel. 

The candy bar getting ready to be packaged.

Each candy bar is packaged into its own unique wrapper.

The final product.  It was a lot of fun.

Milton Hershey married Catherine Sweeney in 1898 and she died unexpectedly in 1915.  They never had children so they decided to help others and established the Hershey Industrial School in 1909.  The school was originally established for impoverished male orphans but now serves students of all backgrounds. After his wife's death, Hershey transferred the majority of his 60 million dollar assets, including control of the company, to the Milton Hershey School Trust fund to benefit the school. Today it is a private philanthropic (pre-K through 12) boarding school serving 1,818 students and the trust fund has a majority of voting shares in the Hershey Company. 

Hershey also established a private charitable foundation that provides educational and cultural opportunities for Hershey residents. This includes the Hershey Museum, Hershey Gardens, and the Hershey Theatre.

The Hershey Museum.

The Hershey Theatre.  It was being renovated so we could not go inside.

The Hershey Foundation also owns the Hershey Amusement Park which is right inside the town of Hershey.

While there we stopped at this beautiful, old, Methodist Church in the center of the town.

The inside showed the beautiful stained glass windows.

The church was in the process of refurbishing the stained glass to preserve the windows.  The cost for this window was $70,000 while the smaller windows were $30,000 each.  They were having a fund drive to pay for the work. 

The other stop in the area was the Indian Echo Caverns.

Lee and the Captain checked it out.

It was nice but not very large.

And that's it for Hershey, the chocolate capital of the world.  We had a good time and learned a few things..........and sure enjoyed some chocolate.  We wanted to share one more picture with, y'all.  We stayed at a nice RV park but someone there (not the campers) had a thing for geese and had all kinds of signs that they should not be harassed.

There were hundreds of them and they were everywhere.  They were not afraid of cars or people or even dogs.  All the people we met staying at this park were complaining about these birds and the awful messes they made everywhere.  But, evidently, someone seemed to like them.  Personally, we think they should have open season on goose hunting for quite some time.

Next, on to the great state of New York and Niagara Falls to see all the sights there.  Peace!


No comments:

Post a Comment