West Derry Road began as a road connecting the boroughs of Palmyra and Hummelstown. It was built on property that was first established under English law in 1741. 279 acres of land were sold from the honorable proprietaries of Pennsylvania, John Penn and Richard Penn, the sons of William Penn, to James Campbell.
Over time, as the land was transferred from one generation to the next, the land was slowly sold off into different pieces. Eventually, the Nissley farm comes into existence. In the 1840s, Martin L. Nissley creates the Village of Spring Creek, and makes the road from Hummelstown to Palmyra, Main Street. By 1900, this village remained small. With Milton S. Hershey developing a new town approximately a mile away (the town of Hershey), the Village of Spring Creek was absorbed by the new town and fell into obscurity. Hershey purchased some of the properties on the south side of Main Street, building new houses to rent. A few of the properties on Main Street were purchased from the estate of John Nissley.
The Main Street name for the road was changed around 1910. Main Street was renamed Old Derry Road from Hockersville Road to Park Boulevard (Park Boulevard was created in 1910) and the rest of the road from Park Boulevard to Park Avenue was renamed West Derry Road. At some point the Old Derry Road name more or less disappeared, with the entire road from Hockersville Road to Park Avenue being known as West Derry Road. In 1972, the segment of West Derry Road between Park Boulevard and Park Avenue was closed, when Hershey Estates, the company which owned Hersheypark, and Derry Township, rerouted Park Boulevard partly along West Derry Road. A segment of West Derry Road survived, between the 1972 Park Boulevard alignment and Hockersville Road, until 2002, when the remainder of West Derry Road was closed. This was due to the construction of the Giant Center. Today, only East Derry Road remains.
The history of West Derry Road is a complex history with the development of the Village of Spring Creek, the advent of Hershey, Pennsylvania, the expansion of Hersheypark, and the construction of Giant Center.
Learn more about West Derry Road in the articles listed below.
- 1972 Park Boulevard relocation
- Castelli’s Hotel
- The Lingle House
- When the Last Home On West Derry Road Was Sold
- West Derry Road | Notables
- Hersheypark Expansion History
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