• History of the Township

    Originally established in nearby Lancaster County, the Township of Derry became part of newly shaped Dauphin County at its onset in the mid-eighteenth century. Initially, the early settlers of the Township of Derry were European immigrants who journeyed to the area because of their religious and political beliefs.


    Some one hundred years later, Milton S. Hershey was born on a farm in Derry. As a young adult, Hershey left the area to pursue several business ventures, finally striking it rich with his Lancaster Caramel Company. In 1900, he sold his caramel company for one million dollars to focus solely on his passion, which was making chocolate.  Hershey returned to Derry to break ground on his chocolate company in 1903. It has since grown to become the nation’s largest chocolate manufacturing plant. 


    At the same time, he carefully built the town of Hershey for his employees by providing homes, financial institutions, affordable public transportation, and quality recreational opportunities. Hershey also recognized it was equally important to provide quality schooling in his fledgling community. He instituted the Milton Hershey School for orphaned boys in 1909, and in 1914, he donated $250,000 to build the M.S. Hershey Consolidated School, which merged fifteen one-room schoolhouses into a single structure.


    At the beginning of the twentieth century, the community was renamed Hershey in honor of its founding father. M.S. Hershey’s vision of a dynamic community continues today as Hershey, PA remains one of the premier communities in the nation earning the distinction as the “sweetest place on earth.”