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Saturday, December 22, 2018

Visiting the Heritage Center at Kinderhaus in Hershey

Heritage Center at Kinderhaus in Hershey Pennsylvania
The Heritage Center at Kinderhaus is one of those places you would never know about unless you lived in the Hershey area or attended the Milton Hershey School District. We live about 15 minutes from the area and discovered it by accident when spending the day down in Hershey. On the day that we found it, they were closed. However, we were able to park and walk around the property exploring it and the historical markers that sit on the site.

According to the Milton Hershey School - Heritage Center at Kinderhaus historical marker, here's some information about it.

Records indicate that Isaac Hershey, great-grandfather of Milton Hershey, purchased the Kinderhaus property circa 1800. The building is the oldest structure on the Milton Hershey School campus and one of the oldest homes in Derry Township.

In 1826, Isaac Hershey constructed what would become The Homestead. Eventually, Kinderhaus became the property of Israel Hershey, a cousin of Milton Hershey. Milton Hershey purchased the Kinderhaus property from Israel Hershey in 1906. Though not a part of the original land granted to the Hershey Industrial School in 1909, it soon became part of the property and in 1912 became the first building dedicated solely to the housing of students.
Heritage Center at Kinderhaus in Hershey Pennsylvania

Kinderhaus (meaning Children’s Home in German) served as a student home until 1996. During this period the home underwent many physical changes, including removal of trees and the large front porch to accommodate the widening of Horseshoe Pike (now State Road 322) and the addition of a large frame addition to the rear in 1932.

On April 2007, Kinderhaus became home to the Department of School History and the Milton Hershey School Heritage Center at Kinderhaus.
Kinderhaus Canna Bed in Hershey Pennsylvania Historical Marker

There is another historical marker that sits nearby (a few feet away) titled Kinderhaus Canna Bed. Here's the information contained on that one.

Catherine Hershey loved cannas and the gardens at High Point included many examples. On the occasion of Fanny Hershey’s 80th birthday in 1915, Milton prepared a surprise birthday party for his mother at High Point. The event was big news in the Hershey Press, which noted, “It was one of the jolliest breakfasts ever served. Mrs. Hershey was of course, the chief guest and presiding at the table was her son, while all around were the happy youngsters from the Hershey Industrial School, their appetites keen, their voices musical with merriment.” Afterwards, Mr. Hershey told them to hide themselves in the big canna bed (as see in this photograph) and let the photographer take their pictures. The result was “a remarkable photograph in which flowers, urchins, and sunshine are delightfully combined.”

In June of 1912, when the youngest students moved from The Homestead to Kinderhaus, their new home contained a canna bed similar to that at High Point. When the Department of School History relocated from Founders Hall to Kinderhaus in April of 2007, the photograph on the left was used to create a new canna bed in close proximity to the original bed as seen on the right.
Heritage Center at Kinderhaus in Hershey Pennsylvania

Once we got home from our day trip I got online to try to find out some information about it and to see if it was open to the public or is it only open to students and their families. Sadly, I really couldn't find a lot of information online about it. Regardless, if you're passing through the area, you can stop and walk around the gorgeous property to read all of the historical markers that are on the site.

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