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The Opening of Hersheypark

1906-05-25 Hummelstown Sun (p1)
Printed on page 1 of the Hummelstown Sun, May 25, 1906.

The first image seen here is a newspaper article from May 25, 1906, in the Hummelstown Sun. Titled, “The Opening of Hershey Park,” it is announcing the formal opening of Hersheypark on Memorial Day – which was May 30 (until 1971 when Memorial Day was shifted to the last Monday in May).

This establishes the dedicated purpose of the park: “The Park will be dedicated to the use of anyone who may desire to avail themselves of the pleasure it offers.” It also states that the park has the following: “Green fields and spreading shade trees, the finest pure spring water in abundance, dancing pavilion, tennis courts, band stand and baseball grounds.”

The baseball game that was played that day was between Hershey and the Crescent Club of Harrisburg. Hershey easily defeated the Crescents. This, however, was not the first game played in Hershey – and though it is clearly established that the official opening of Hershey Park was on May 30, you can see the informal opening of the park 25 days earlier on May 5.

Hershey played in it’s first game against the Felton Athletic Club of Steelton. The grand stand and baseball diamond were brand new, and the baseball game was the first open air event in the history of Hershey. The new band was scheduled to play, and a pig-race was rumored. Turnout was expected to be high as this was the first major event in Hersheypark. (Felton A.C. won this game, sadly, 4-0.)

1906-05-05 Harrisburg Telegraph (p8)
Printed on page 8 of the Harrisburg Telegraph.

It makes sense that Hersheypark formally opened on Memorial Day, however. The holiday was still a somewhat solemn occasion – yet was also the unofficial start to summer. This made Memorial Day the proper day to formally open the park, as it was a solemn but fun day to recognize the opening of Hersheypark.




Harry Michelson View All

I have a wide variety of interests, from sports to politics, music to Star Trek. I write about the history of amusement parks on my website, The Amusement Parkives, which I founded in 2016.

4 thoughts on “The Opening of Hersheypark Leave a comment

  1. My Grandfather, Lewis P. Emerich was Mr. Hershey’s Star Pitcher on the Baseball Team. What most people don’t know is that the Park was developed by Mr. Hershey for his employees to have a place to go and relax. The clue in your news article is the “nature” surroundings. This was not intended to be a “Disney Like Park” like it is now. I have my Grandfather pics taken in 1913 -15 showing clearly that the Park was for families of Hershey Workers to enjoy. As the Park grew, the Estates distorted Hershey’s original intent and turned it into a “Theme Park” to make money.


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