In 1940, Dionisio Castelli opened a restaurant on West Derry Road in Hershey and it would remain in operation for 24 years, being converted into a hotel in 1946. The property was sold to Hershey Estates in 1964, and eventually it became part of Hersheypark when the park began expanding north of West Derry Road in 1980.
This was located next to the West Derry Road entrance of Hersheypark, which at the time was not at Lobby One of the Hersheypark Arena, but was further east of the Arena at the intersection of West Derry Road and Park Lane.
Castelli’s father had always wanted his family to go into business. With this idea in mind, Dionisio decided to build a soda fountain next to his home on 79 West Derry Road.
This was called Castelli’s Restaurant, better known as C’s. His younger sisters were interested in having a dance floor, so they convinced Dionisio to build a basement and open Jitterbug Place, a dance floor for young adults that had a jukebox and booths.
By 1944, the business was declining because of World War II. After the war ended in 1945, Castelli began considering his options to modernize the business.
The most logical option was to apply for a liquor license. At the time, the easiest way to get approval for a liquor license was to have hotel rooms, so he decided to add 12 hotel rooms. He renamed C’s as Castelli’s Hotel.
The establishment operated until 1964 when Castelli decided to get out of the business. Castelli sold his house and the hotel property to Hershey Estates, on the condition that he would have a job with Hershey Estates or Hershey Chocolate Corporation.
Where is Castelli’s Hotel inside Hersheypark today?
Castelli’s Hotel is located approximately on the west end side of the Frontier Flyers ride area in Hersheypark. The Subway building next to Frontier Flyers that is part of Pioneer Frontier Food Court was a former home on West Derry Road (more information on that building can be found in the Pioneer Frontier Food Court article). The map below roughly shows where Castelli’s Hotel was located.
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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.