12 Mar Recent Hershey, PA ‘Story Museum’ Displayed New “Hershey, Cuba” Exhibit
March 12, 2018–
Nearly 30 miles east of Havana, Cuba, Milton S. Hershey built a sugar refinery and model industrial town. He called it Hershey.
Visitors recently came to the new exhibit, “Mr. Hershey’s Cuba: A Sweet Venture in Sugar, 1916-1946” at The Hershey Story Museum in Hershey, where they learned more about the “other” Hershey.
Starting March 9, the museum will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Milton Hershey’s venture in Cuba. There he created the town modeled after Hershey, Pennsylvania.
The exhibit was designed for all ages with black-and-white photos, interactive activities and video. Admission to the museum was free for those in attendance on March 9th, as part of Community Day sponsored by The Hershey Company.
Milton Hershey ended up in Cuba in 1916 while on vacation and fell in love with the weather, island and its people, said Valerie Seiber, the museum’s collections manager.
The trip was a revelation for Milton Hershey, who at the time, due to World War II, was struggling to get sugar to supply chocolate production in Pennsylvania.
“Upon arriving in Cuba he sees the vast sugar cane plantations and he has an idea. This is the solution to his problem. Shortly before he leaves he actually buys his first cane plantation and selects a site for a new mill in town, named Hershey,” Seiber said.
He built the town with schools, homes, a baseball team, golf course, hotel and gardens.
“Many of the sugar mills had their own baseball teams and Hershey was no different. Baseball is just as popular in Cuba as in the United States. Hershey’s team was one of the best amateur teams in the 1930s, having won several national championships,” Seiber said.
Today, Hershey is no longer associated with the community, now called Camilo Cienfuegos. The sugar mill is no longer in operation and the hotel is in disrepair.
But Milton Hershey’s memory lives on in Cuba.
“The people who live there still admire many of the things Milton Hershey provided. The botanical garden, in particular, is very popular with the community and tourists as well,” Seiber said.
The Hershey Story, 63 W. Chocolate Ave., Hershey, 717-534-8939. Admission is $12.50 for adults, $11.50 for senior citizens, $9 for ages 3-12. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., daily.