West Derry Road | Inside Hersheypark

Village of Spring Creek

In the 1850s, the Village of Spring Creek was established along Derry Road west of Derry Church. The village was laid out by Martin Nissley, who owned a large tract of land down to the corner of West Derry Road and Gravel Hill Road (modern day Park Avenue / Pennsylvania Route 743), the intersection seen in the image above. Nissley decided to create a small village along the southeastern end of his property, subdivided into 8 lots. These lots were on the north side of West Derry Road, which was named Main Street.

The Village of Spring Creek existed from the 1850s to the 1910s. The village also went by the name Springville for a time. By the 1910s, the village was incorporated into Hershey, much like nearby Derry Church.

The houses that were part of the Village of Spring Creek had modern addresses which were odd numbers and ranged from 7 West Derry Road to 55 West Derry Road. Any houses beyond that were not part of the village.

Nearby Spring Creek

The south side of West Derry Road already had a few houses on them, not laid out in any organized way. These few houses were built in the 1810s to 1840s. Modern house numbers were even numbers and ranged from 10 West Derry Road to 24 West Derry Road.

Around the 1870s, John Nissley, who purchased some of the old Martin Nissley property, built a barn on the north side of West Derry Road.


Hershey era

When Milton S. Hershey began purchasing land for his new town of Hershey in 1903, he purchased several of the old Spring Creek homes.

In 1906, he purchased the John Nissley land, which constitutes the northern half of Hersheypark, including anything north of the Pirate, The Claw, Dry Gulch Railroad, and Storm Runner.

The Hershey Improvement Company began building houses West Derry Road. House addresses on the northside ranged from 71 and 73 West Derry Road to 117 West Derry Road. These houses were sold to homeowners, while 117 West Derry Road was a rental home. Southside homes, which were rented as opposed to being sold, ranged from 20 West Derry Road to 126 West Derry Road.

In 1915, Hershey constructed the Hershey Convention Center – today called the Hershey Ice Palace – and had an address of 248 West Derry Road.

The Nissley barn, acquired by Milton Hershey in 1906, was converted into apartments in the early 1930s. Named Parkside Apartments, the building existed into the mid-1980s. It’s address was [Apartment number] Parkside Apartments, Hershey so it did not have a proper West Derry Road address.

In 1936, Hershey Estates constructed Historic Hersheypark Arena, with an address of 136 West Derry Road.

Several houses existed further down West Derry Road, in what is today part of the Hersheypark Complex parking lot. These addresses ranged from 30 to 40 Old Derry Road, as opposed to West Derry Road.


The closure of West Derry Road

In 1972, Hershey Estates proposed rerouting and closing parts of Park Boulevard and West Derry Road. Park Boulevard was proposed to be relocated on a segment of West Derry Road, so Park Boulevard could then curve and end at Hersheypark Drive at an intersection with Pennsylvania Route 39. The closure aided Hersheypark constructing their new entrance of the park. Part of old Park Boulevard, north of West Derry Road, became Tram Circle and the tram spine for Hersheypark’s new tram service.

The proposal was approved by the Derry Township Board of Supervisors.

Between 1973 and 1981, the remaining homes on West Derry Road were sold to Hershey Estates / HERCO, Inc. / Hershey Entertainment & Resort Company. The last home was the Gerhart house, 23 West Derry Road, sold in 1981.

There is only one house that still exists in Hersheypark today that was on West Derry Road – the Lingle House.

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