July 8, 2015
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For years the thought of doing a giant trip visiting every amusement
park in Pennsylvania has been on my mind. With parks large and small
spread out all over the state it would take well over a week, probably two
to really be able to take in the entire state coaster wise. Being
such a monumental trip it kept getting pushed off again and again because
life keeps happening. Eventually I let go of the idea of doing it
all at once and settled on visiting the parks I wanted to the most in the
Keystone State starting out at the park I have wanted to visit the longest:
Hersheypark was founded in 1906 by Milton S. Hershey who ran a little candy
company you might have heard of called the Hershey Chocolate Company.
Hershey had built a town for the employees who worked at his chocolate factory.
The concept of a "company town" for the most part in history meant poor
living conditions and like the line in the Tennessee Ernie Ford song "Sixteen
Tons" goes "I owe my soul to the company store" meaning living a life of
virtual indentured servitude to the company as you owed them for your house,
your food and the basics of life. Hershey didn't want to create a
bleak "company town" existence for his people. While plotting out
his town next to his factory he set aside a plot of land for "Hershey's
Park" and on Memorial Day in 1906 with just a bandstand and a baseball field
the park opened.
The first ride was added to Hershey's Park in 1908 when a Merry-Go-Round
was added. In 1923 the parks first rollercoaster which was named The
Wildcat opened. That coaster lasted until 1945 when the park wanted
something newer and more exciting. That coaster was The Comet which
still thrills people seventy years later.
After sixteen hours in the car driving all through the night we were ready
for a little pick me up to shake the sleep out of all of us and get us us
ready for a day filled with coasters. As The Comet was the first coaster
we came to it was a perfect ride to give us an adrenaline fueled kick to
start off the day.