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Milton S. Hershey

  • Homestead Lane, 20 feet north of U.S. 322 Hershey, PA

Milton S. Hershey was born to Mennonite parents in 1857 on a farm in Derry Township. He was raised speaking Pennsylvania German and received very little formal education. At 14, Hershey apprenticed with a Lancaster County confectioner and spent the next four years learning the candy making trade. From 1876 until 1887, he operated several unsuccessful candy businesses before opening the Lancaster Caramel Company. The caramel business was very successful, and in 1900, Hershey used the proceeds from its sale to purchase land near his birthplace. Hershey was determined to produce a milk chocolate bar that was affordable to most Americans. The Hershey bar debuted in 1900 to great success, followed several years later by the Hershey’s Kiss. Propelled by his success, Hershey transformed the area surrounding his factory into a model company town. A committed philanthropist, he and his wife Catherine, who was unable to have children, established the Hershey Industrial School for orphaned boys (now the Milton Hershey School) as well as a trust fund for the school’s upkeep. In order to provide arts and cultural opportunities to area residents, Hershey created the M.S. Hershey Foundation which provides funds for the Hershey Theatre, Hershey Gardens, and The Hershey Story museum.