1972 Park Boulevard relocation

With the new Park Boulevard opening in late 2016, I thought this would be a good time to look at the last time Park Boulevard was relocated, in 1972. 

In 1971, R. Duell & Associates proposed closing parts of West Derry Road and Park Boulevard to create a new grand entrance to Hersheypark. Part of Park Boulevard would be converted into a tram turn-around and cul-de-sac, while another part of Park Boulevard would be redesigned with a new curve north of the bridge across Spring Creek connecting it with West Derry Road.

1970-07-07 Park-West Derry Intersection

West Derry Road and Park Boulevard as seen from this aerial photo taken on July 7, 1970. Park Boulevard curves o the north by Hersheypark Stadium and goes down south of the park. West Derry Road heads west, going by Hersheypark Arena and Parkview Golf Course (renamed from Hershey Park Golf Course in 1971). 

This project was designated “Off Site Road & Tram Turn” and was estimated to cost $87,000. $42,000 for the Park Boulevard curve, $45,000 for the Tram Turn-Around. This was then expanded to be part of an even larger project, which included a tram shelter, landscaping and a fountain. These parts of the larger project were estimated to cost $215,000.

The Park Boulevard relocation project was approved by the Board of Supervisors of Derry Township on May 8, 1972. This project required the main building for the old Hershey Park Pool – the bath house – to be torn down. The first phase of the project, building the new road, began quickly after approval and only took about two months to complete. On July 28, 1972, the new Park Boulevard was opened and the old intersection of Park Boulevard and West Derry Road was closed.

1972-08-11 Lebanon Daily News (p8)

Photo of the old intersection of Park Boulevard and West Derry Road. Aside from the dirt areas that had previously been paved roads, old lights at this now defunct intersection still remained at this point in time. Chocolate World construction can be seen in the background as well. The photo comment erroneously called West Derry Road, “East Derry Road.” This was published in the Lebanon Daily News, August 11, 1972, on page 8.

Park Boulevard between the old intersection and Airport Road (today, Hersheypark Drive) was shifted further west; Park Boulevard now met at an intersection with Pennsylvania Route 39 and Hershey Road.

1972-07-28-lebanon-daily-news-p40

This article appeared on page 40 of the Lebanon Daily News on July 28, 1972.

On June 11, 1973, the Board of Supervisors approved changing the name of the segment of West Derry Road between the old intersection (which by the time this occurred was now the then-new entrance of Hersheypark) and the segment of Park Boulevard connecting to PA Route 39 to Park Boulevard. This split West Derry Road into two segments – from Park Avenue east of the park to a spot near Hersheypark Arena and from Park Boulevard west to Hockersville Road.

Eventually, all of West Derry Road would be replaced by the expansion of Hersheypark beginning in 1980, and the opening of the Giant Center in 2002.

On this map I made in Google Maps below, you can see the area surrounding Hersheypark today. I have created several layers to show the way the roads were. The first layer is West Derry Road, the second is Park Boulevard, and the third is Miscellaneous.

You can turn any of the layers on and off by clicking on the button on the top left next to the title of the map which is “West Derry Road and Park Boulevard prior to July 28, 1972.” This will open up the panel showing you the layers. You can click on the checkmark to toggle the layer on and off.

You can click on any of the icon markers on the map to read a description. In a few cases, an image is included to show a map of the spot in the past.


Believe it or not, there once used to be a small village called Spring Creek, or Springville, which was along the north side of West Derry Road near the Derry Road – Park Avenue intersection. I’ll be writing more about the history of West Derry Road, which will appear sometime in late spring or summer. 

Hersheypark Drive improvements

This was a news item I saw in today’s Derry Township (Dauphin County, PA) newsletter.

Improvements at Major Intersection to Begin on April 3rd

Kinsley Sitework has announced that work will begin at the intersection of Hersheypark Drive and Walton Avenue on April 3rd. The work will require lane closures for approximately four weeks. This work is related to a project designed to improve traffic flow and will include pedestrian enhancements.

Bear this construction in mind if you are going to Hersheypark for Springtime In The Park via US Route 322.

This intersection is the first traffic light you’ll come across as you head north toward the park. For those less familiar, notable landmarks you can see at this intersection includes the Cocoa Diner in one shopping center, and a second shopping center on the other side of Hersheypark Drive on top of a hill which includes a Panera Bread and a Five Guys restaurant. There is also a Bob Evans and an Applebee’s across from each other on the north side of the intersection.

HP Drive-Walton intersection [wide]

This is a map of the Hershey area. The light blue arrow on the bottom left points west to Hummelstown and Harrisburg. The red circle to the right of that is highlighting the area of construction – Hersheypark Drive and Walton Avenue. The blue circle at the top right is just to highlight Hersheypark’s location on the map.

HP Drive-Walton intersection

Here is a zoomed in version of the map. You can see Hersheypark Drive and Walton Avenue, as well as the Cocoa Diner and Panera Bread.

Hopefully traffic won’t be too bad, but this project is definitely necessary. During rush hour times, the Hersheypark Drive – Walton Avenue intersection gets very busy. And during the summer, those rush hour times expand for when the park closes and people make their way to the shopping centers there for food.

Hersheypark opens for Springtime in the Park on April 8.


Fun fact: While it is not uncommon for states to have multiple townships with the same name (there are 21 Madison Townships in Ohio, for example), there are two Derry Townships in Pennsylvania. The one mentioned in this article is in Dauphin County while the other Derry Township is located in Westmoreland County. Officially, Derry Township in Dauphin County operates under the name Township of Derry. 

Hershey’s Kisses Regatta

“Where else but in Hershey, Pennsylvania, would you find ten thousand rubber Hershey’s Kisses floating in a lazy river raising money to support a great organization like Children’s Miracle Network?”

– Dr. Craig Hillemeier, then chair of the Department of Pediatrics & Medical Director, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, September 9, 2010.

Hershey’s Kisses Regatta was a fundraiser event held at The Boardwalk at Hersheypark. This was Hershey’s version of a rubber duck regatta, replacing a fleet of rubber ducks with rubber Hershey’s Kisses. The event was held to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.

The inaugural event was announced on July 28, 2010. It was scheduled for Thursday, September 9, 2010, at 5pm. The event was organized with Children’s Miracle Network through several corporate partnerships. This included Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company and The Hershey Company as the top sponsors, with Kraft Foods and Pepsi as the co-sponsors of the event.

People could purchase tickets for the event through August 20, 2010. These tickets could be bought at a variety of locations ranging from the Children’s Miracle Network office to various Stauffers of Kissel Hill locations.

The purpose of buying a ticket was to “Adopt a Kiss.” 10,000 rubber Hershey’s Kisses were to be placed in the Intercoastal Waterway in The Boardwalk at Hersheypark, and then the first 20 rubber Kisses to cross the finish line were all awarded prizes. Each Kiss had a number printed on the bottom to correspond to the ticket sold to a person.

2010-fall-cmn-miracle-moments-p3

This is from Children’s Miracle Network’s Miracle Moments newsletter, fall 2010, page 3. It describes the event and shows two pictures from the “numbering party” a few days before the event.

A single rubber Hershey’s Kiss cost $5. There was an option to buy a “Pucker Pack” for $20. This option included a bonus fifth Kiss and admittance to watch the Regatta in person (the event was not open to the public and rides were not in operation). Prizes for the Regatta included season passes to Hersheypark, gift cards, Pepsi soda for a year, as well as Turkey Hill ice cream and iced tea for a year.

Winners were determined by the first 20 rubber Hershey’s Kisses to cross the finish line in the Intercoastal Waterway. The event raised over $19,000 for Children’s Miracle Network.

2010-09-10 Hershey Kiss Regatta at Intercoastal Waterway

Rubber Hershey’s Kisses all along the side of the Intercoastal Waterway, the day after the first Hershey’s Kisses Regatta, September 10, 2010.

The Second Annual Hershey’s Kisses Regatta was scheduled for a year later, again on a Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 5pm. Prices were the same for the tickets and prizes were similar, though a highlighted prize for this second event was winning a Hershey Bears suite for a night.

However, inclement weather caused the event to be scuttled. To determine winners of the event, rubber Hershey’s Kisses were chosen at random. The amount fundraised for this event was never announced.

After the rained-out regatta, the event hasn’t been held since. Here is a video of the 2010 edition of the Hershey’s Kisses Regatta.

Universal Mobility, Incorporated

In 1960, a man by the name of Hendrik “Hank” Pater founded a new corporation in his hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah: Advanced Welding Engineers (AWE). Pater is company president and general manager. In about 1963, AWE merged with another Salt Lake City firm, Steel Contractors, Inc. (SCI), of which Pater was president.

The business these two companies in varied within steel manufacturing, but it would turn to building tramways for ski resorts. One project SCI was part of was a tramway at Treasure Mountains! Park City, the longest gondola high ride in the country at the time. SCI fabricated towers and crossbars for the gondola lift.

In 1965, SCI was involved with another tramway project in New Mexico. Pater served as the principle consulter for SCI.  Sometime between then and 1967, Pater left Steel Contractors to form a new company, Constam Corporation. This company was founded to enter the monorail systems market, since monorail systems were growing in popularity.

Constam was awarded the opportunity to build a monorail system that was a mini-monorail system, known as a minirail. This system was designed by Habegger Engineering Works of Thun, Switzerland. Habegger previously installed three minirail systems, two in Europe, and one in Canada for Expo 67.

1964-06-04 The [Franklin] News-Herald (p7)

The Habegger minirail system called Telecanape, at the Swiss National Exposition, in 1964.

The opportunity Constam gained was an agreement with Habegger to build a minirail system at the California Exposition in Sacramento, California. The project was announced in December 1967, with the ride scheduled to open in 1968. With no major issues, the minirail system at the Cal Expo opened in 1968 for the California State Fair.

With this first success in 1968, Constam had the chance to move forward with a second minirail system. This project would be on the other side of the country in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Announced in December 1968, the ride that would be called Monorail was scheduled to open in June 1969.

Underneath Monorail

This picture is from underneath the Monorail at Hersheypark, from 2016.

Around the time of the opening of Monorail at Hersheypark, Constam reorganized into Universal Mobility. The company was branded as Unimobil / Habegger and the systems installed at the Cal Expo and Hershey were called Unimobil Type II.

Miami Downtown People-Mover Environmental Impact Statement (p2-56)

Unimobil/Habegger Type II – as shown in an environmental impact statement for a possible downtown Miami people-mover system.

The first monorail UMI would sell after Hershey was a minirail system to Magic Mountain, in Valencia, California. The ride was named Metro and had several stations in the park. Metro opened in 1971.

Metro remained in operation for the next 30 years, closing in 2001. It wasn’t until 2011 that some of Metro was dismantled. The trains for Metro were sold to Hersheypark, along with a small amount of track. Parts of Metro still stand in Six Flags Magic Mountain today, including one of the old stations.

The remainder of the monorails UMI constructed at theme parks were a new system called UM Tourister Type II. Three were constructed: Carowinds (1973), Kings Island (1974), and Kings Dominion (1975). The Carowinds Monorail would be closed in 1994, while the Kings Dominion system would be closed in 1993. The Kings Island system was also closed in 1993. In 1999, Jungle Jim’s International Market purchased the minirail system and it continues to operate to this day.

1983 Metropolitan Transportation Planning (p411)

A UNIMOBIL / Habegger monorail system shown in a 1983 Metropolitan Transportation Planning document, page 411.

In the mid-70s, UMI began subcontracting the manufacture of fiberglass components of the trains to a company called Intermountain Design Inc. (IDI), of Salt Lake City. This relationship would continue for as long as UMI would exist.

IDI did have other jobs. This included – a full  decade later – designing the lavatory for Air Force One during the George H.W. Bush presidency. IDI would manufacture the fiberglass components of at least the monorail systems built after 1975.

Three other Tourister monorails were built, one at Minnesota Zoological Garden in Apple Valley, Minnesota, which opened in 1979. An agreement was made between UMI and the zoo in August 1977. Only part of the ride officially opened in 1979, with the remainder of the route opening in 1980. It was also subject of a US Department of Transportation winterization test to understand how well certain monorail systems could operate in winter conditions.

1982-01 Downtown people mover (DPM) winterization test demonstration: UMI

This is the front cover of the DPM Winterization Test Demonstration in which UMI participated. The final report was issued in January 1982.

 

The monorail at the Minnesota Zoo was closed in 2013. Officials from the zoo commented that to renovate and update the ride would cost around 40 million dollars, which simply wasn’t feasible.

In 1981, UMI was contracted to build a monorail for the soon opening ZooMetro in Miami, Florida. UMI then contracted Budd Company, of Detroit, Michigan, to assist in the construction of the system.This Tourister system opened in December 1982.

This would lead to UMI’s final monorail – which was built at the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition. UMI decided to create a subsidiary company that was a joint venture between Budd Co. and UMI. This company was named Unimobile 84, Inc. after the minirail system.

While the monorail at the expo was the most popular ride at the event, the exposition itself was not generating the kind of revenues they were expecting. Unimobile 84 pushed to get revenue, and a deal was struck between the company and the fair. However, it was apparent the fair was unable to meet the terms of the agreement. Unimobile 84 eventually sued the fair organizers themselves to get payment; this did not fare well in the courts (pun not intended). Unimobile 84 took the case to Federal Appeals Court, in which they lost.

It was apparent that this venture hurt Universal Mobility, Inc., as they would not sell another monorail after this point. The Transportation Group, Inc. (TGI), a branch of Bombardier Inc., purchased UMI in 1989. The most valuable asset was a new design UMI had been working on, which was the UMI Type III monorail. TGI would go on to use some of the Type III designs in other projects.

UMI did offer a few other systems, though none of these ever seemed to be sold. One system was a UNIMOBIL Transporter System. Another was a tram service called Unimobil Unitram. The tram was available for sale in at least 1985-1986.

1986-Spring A Shuttle Bus for the University of Central Florida

A picture of a Unimobil Unitram, sold by UMI, in at least 1985-1986. This image was in a Master’s thesis for the University of Central Florida discussing the need for a shuttle bus service.


This is the complete history of Universal Mobility, Incorporated, from the 1960s to the end of the 1980s. Out of their nine minirail systems, four still operate today, including their oldest two. For a company that has been defunct for nearly 30 years, with a system long since outdated, that’s a pretty good accomplishment.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section. To see references for this article, click here. Thanks for reading!

Celebrating Christmas in Hershey

Today’s post is about celebrating Christmas in Hershey. I’ll have a post on the history of Christmas Candylane in a few weeks. 

With Hersheypark opening tomorrow for its annual Christmas Candylane event, this means it time for Christmas in Hershey once again.

So what was it like in Hershey around Christmastime? In the very early years of Hershey, it wasn’t very exciting. Many people didn’t even live in Hershey as the factory was being built in 1903-1904, so few people were actually in the new town during the holiday. By the later parts of the first decade of the 20th Century, many more people were living in Hershey. As a result, the town had a newspaper publication – The Hershey Press.

First published in September 1909, they had a Christmas Eve issue of the paper. Only the front and back pages had any mention of Christmas in the issue, with Christmas tidings on the front page and letters to Santa Claus on the back page.

1909-12-24 The Hershey Press (p12).jpg

Someone really wasn’t too happy with Hersheypark in 1909. J.R. Snavely, editor of the newspaper, had a letter of his own. From Hershey Press, December 24, 1909, page 12. 

The first town celebration wasn’t until 101 years ago (1915) – the first time Hershey had a tree lighting ceremony.

Christmas In Hershey

1984-12-02-the-philadelphia-inquirer-p2-t

Christmas in Hershey advert, The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 2, 1984, p2-T.

It wasn’t until 1983 that Christmas in Hershey began, with the opening of Hersheypark for the Christmas season. Over the years that event has expanded to include most rides in the park that are available to be operated when the temperature is generally cold. Roller coasters were introduced to the event in 2015 (although the kiddie coaster Cocoa Cruiser operated in Candylane in 2014).

Typically the promotion for Christmas in Hershey was for guests to enjoy a stay at either Hershey Lodge or The Hotel Hershey, visit Hershey’s Chocolate World and Hersheypark Christmas Candylane.

In 2003, a new attraction, Sweet Lights, was added. Within a year or two, that event expanded to include a road that was used for the Hershey Hill Climb.


I’ll have more about Hersheypark’s Christmas Candylane in a few weeks!