On July 3, 1908, the first ride at Hersheypark began to operate. This was a carousel, often called the Merry-Go-Round, which was placed on a hill overlooking the ballfield.
“M.S. Hershey and [Harry] Lebkicher had different ideas on where the new merry-go-round should be set up. Lebkicher wanted it near the entrance to the park and not in some out-of-the-way place. M.S. Hershey wanted it on the far side of Spring Creek.”
— from Hersheypark, The Sweetness of Success, written by Charles Jacques, p16
The reason why Mr. Hershey wanted the carousel located on the far side of Spring Creek was because he wanted to install a miniature railroad that would connect the front entrance of the park to the ballfield. That ride, however, wouldn’t officially open until the 1911 season.
Hershey Improvement Company, the forerunner to Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company, purchased a used Herschell Spillman carousel and had it running on the evening of July 3, 1908. John R. Snavely, who later was editor of Hershey Press, and the biographer of Mr. Hershey, was the park’s first ride operator (and also general manager). The first day was free of charge, and then the ride officially opened on the Fourth of July.
The carousel operated in the park through June of 1912. At that time, it was replaced by a brand new and larger carousel made by the Dentzel company. That carousel would remain in operation through the 1944 season.
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.