Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Candy Company Town...!

Nearly everyone knows what company towns were, I'm sure. There were many across America in the early days, but here's a story about one in particular I thought you might enjoy.

Hershey, Pennsylvania: A chocolate king’s industrial utopia

In 1900, Milton Hershey sold the successful caramel candy business he’d founded in order to become a pioneer in the mass-production of milk chocolate. He built a factory complex near his birthplace in rural Pennsylvania, in part because the area’s dairy farms offered access to an ample supply of milk. Due to the remote location of the factory, Hershey also constructed a town for his employees, intending it as an industrial utopia that reflected his progressive beliefs. With streets named Chocolate and Cocoa avenues, the new town featured a wide variety of affordable, modern homes that workers could rent or own, a trolley system, public schools, social clubs, an amusement park and zoo. In 1909, Hershey, who was childless and had a limited formal education, established a local boarding school for orphaned boys. During the Great Depression, he launched a building campaign that kept hundreds of people employed and resulted in the addition of a large hotel, sports arena and other public structures to his model town.

Despite Hershey’s altruism and his chocolate-scented community’s many amenities, life in “the sweetest place on Earth” wasn’t entirely sweet. Efforts were made by Hershey and his executives to police employees’ behavior when they were off the clock, and company managers were accused by some workers of showing favoritism when it came to wages and hiring practices. In 1937, Hershey chocolate factory workers organized the company’s first labor union and went on strike. Although the strike was short-lived, it marred the community’s idyllic image. However, after the chocolate king died in 1945, Hershey survived, unlike other company towns, and chocolate is still made there today.

I guess that when it comes right down to it, folks just don't like to have companies (or governments) trying to control their personal lives. Not a good idea, for the most part! At least they still make chocolate in Hershey...!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Hot chocolate anyone?


Mamahen said...

I guess Mr Hershey wasn't always sweet. Still its nice the town (n candy making :)) survived.

Chickenmom said...

Love chocolate! Remember when a Hershey bar only cost a nickle, Mr. Hermit?

linda m said...

I am glad the town and the company survived, but the principles on which it was founded - control of peoples live - "passed away". Too many horror stories out there about "company towns". I don't need the gov't or a company telling me how I need to live my private life. Beautiful full moon this morning. Enjoying looking at it while I drink my coffee.

SHARON said...

Mr. Hershey was a real entrepreneur. He first started out in Lancaster, making caramel. Went bankrupt a few times, then went to 'Hershey'. If you are in that town for any amount of time. You'll either buy the store out or never want another piece of chocolate again. It reeks of the candy. He was looking at several places around these parts but couldn't find good water until 'Hershey'.

HermitJim said...

Hey Mamahen...
I reckon you're right about that! I'm happy to see the business survive and still producing!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Phyllis...
I do love my chocolate! I certainly can remember when candy bars were only a nickel. Good ol' days for for chocolate lovers!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Linda M...
Not many places survived that tried to control the private lives of their employees.

The full moon has certainly been beautiful this month.

Thanks for dropping by!

Hey Sharon...
I'll bet the folks in town are glad he settled there. I wish I counld smell all that chocolate!

Thanks for the visit today!

JO said...

I don't think I ever knew the story behind the Hershey town. That seems to be a problem with a town built by the company man.

Poured down rain here still lots of cloud but the sun is doing a good jog of breaking threw.

Rob said...

I spent a long weekend in Hershey many years ago when I was in the Coast Guard. I was in NC at a CG school & one of the guys was from Hershey.
Judging by just that weekend Hershey is a party town!

When I hear 'company town' I think of this song- "Sixteen tons"

"You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store"

BBC said...

No orphaned girls place?

Dizzy-Dick said...

I have been to Hershey, although many years ago. It did smell like chocolate.