History of the Hershey History Center
The roots of the Hershey History Center began in 1991 when a group of thirty-three interested citizens formed the Derry Township Historical Society and began building an organization to preserve the history of the Township and residing area. The organization held monthly meetings on the 2nd floor of the old Hershey Consolidated School on East Granada Avenue in the Supervisor’s meeting room. The Society began archiving artifacts without official space for housing donated items.
April 1994, the Derry Township Historical Society was recognized as a charitable organization and received 501c3 determination.
The Society’s first official headquarters then moved from East Granada Avenue to the Abattoir Building next to the Hershey Post Office in 1998. In desperate need for space to house the library, museum, offices, and storage, the Society began a capital campaign to purchase a new location. In June of 2003, the Society purchased our current building, the old Pine Hurst barn on 40 Northeast Drive.
In 2007, the Derry Township Historical Society became the Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society, to better identify its location and significance of the local history.
In 2020, the Hershey–Derry Township Historical Society became the Hershey History Center and continues its mission of preserving, promoting, and interpreting, the history of Derry Township.
History of the Pinehurst Barn
Early references indicate that a dairy farm was established on this location in 1820, substantiated by landowner maps which notate J. Hershey as the property owner. John was Milton S. Hershey’s great uncle, and had two sons, Martin and Menno, who inherited this property.
In 1861, the property was deeded solely to Martin by his brother Menno. Historical records also indicate that the barn burned and was completely rebuilt in 1916. At the time of Martin’s death, Milton S. Hershey purchased the farm property and rebuilt the farmhouse, intending to expand his dairy program for Hershey Industrial School (H.I.S.).
In 1931, H.I.S. student home Pinehurst #35 was officially opened, one of 44 new farm homes to house the growing number of orphan boys enrolled in the School. All students in grades 6-12 were placed in farm homes, like Pinehurst, where they performed daily dairy chores.
In the 1950s, H.I.S. graduates who were continuing their education at the Hershey Junior College lived in the home and performed dairy chores as part of their college scholarship arrangement. In 1965, the dairy was closed and students in other vocational programs were assigned to the home.
As programs in the School adapted to contemporary needs and primary activities moved to the south side of the Hershey community, the decision was made to close the home as a student residence. 1980 was the last year students from Milton Hershey School (formerly the Hershey Industrial School) were housed at Pinehurst.