The historic Town of Bedford was much more active this morning as compared to last night when I was trying to find a pub. Antique stores, candy stores, and historic buildings lined the downtown streets. I stopped by two historic locations, the Anderson House and the Espy House. The Anderson House, built in 1815, originally housed the first bank in Bedford and now acts as a public library and community center. The Espy House, built around 1771, served as George Washington’s headquarters in 1794 when he and peace commissioners traveled to western Pennsylvania to quell the Whisky Rebellion, a violent protest by farmers who opposed an excise tax on whisky.
After visiting Bedford, I took a slight detour from the Reader’s Digest Book and visited the Farm Show Arena. The first two weeks of the hunter/jumper finals also called “Indoors” by the competitors because the three finals are held indoors in the Northeast, while throughout the year, many are outdoors and held at this arena. Horses and riders must rank in the top 50 in the Nation, determined by points earned by winning at horse shows throughout the year, to compete in the Pennsylvania National Horse Show also known as Harrisburg. It was so surreal to be there. I hardly recognized the place – as a competitor, I don’t think I ever entered the front door or arrived at the arena in daylight. We entered the stables in the back before sunup most of the time. Anyway, I was so close to the area, I had to visit. If I made it five days sooner, I could have watched the competition, but the third week of the finals are in Washington DC, and the last week used to be at Madison Square Garden the same weekend of the New York Marathon, but I believe it has been moved.
So, when I competed at Harrisburg as a teenager, I always wanted to visit the Hersey Chocolate Factory in Hersey, Pennsylvania – so I finally did – except, it was a simulated tour at Hershey Chocolate World, as the company doesn’t allow tours of the real factory – go figure. The employees operating the ride through the “factory” probably thought I was crazy – a 39 year old woman not going on the ride once, but twice…yes twice. I wanted to make sure I got the procedure and statistics down properly, as no pamphlet was available for me to reference. Aside from that, along with amusement park-type ride, video feed of the actual factory was shown at each station. It was so cool. I don’t know why I am so fascinated with factory machinery…I guess I just wonder how these machines are invented!
Now, a little bit about Hershey chocolate: Milton Hershey was born in Derry Church, Pennsylvania (now Hershey) of a Mennonite family in 1857. Due to the family’s frequent moves, he dropped out of school and apprenticed in a print shop, a craft he did not enjoy. After a few years, he attained a candy-making apprenticeship where he spent four years. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, he established his first candy-making business in Philadelphia which failed as well as his second attempt in New York City. Hershey returned to Lancaster in 1883 and began the Lancaster Caramel Company which was an instant success. With the proceeds of the sale of his caramel company, he purchased the machinery to produce chocolate after he became fascinated with German chocolate exhibited at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
Hershey moved back to his home town to be close to a fresh milk supply and through trial and error developed the Hershey chocolate formula of today. In 1903 he began construction of the world’s largest chocolate factory and by 1905 Hershey’s milk chocolate became the first nationally marketed product of its kind. In addition to building the factory, Hershey built a model town for his employees complete with homes, a public transportation system, a public school system, and Hershey Park for recreation.
The simulated tour claims the great taste of Hershey’s chocolate is all about the milk. The dairy cows in the surrounding area supply a quarter million gallons of milk per day which in turn assists the Hershey factory in producing one million pounds of chocolate per day and 60 million kisses per day. The chocolate making process is as follows – clean the beans mostly grown in specific climates in Africa, South America, and Indonesia; blend the beans, as beans from different areas of the world possess different tastes; roast the beans; break the beans; mill the beans; press the beans for cocoa butter; add milk and sugar and blend with the chocolate; dry the chocolate to create chocolate crumbs; combine the chocolate crumbs and cocoa butter; refine the chocolate paste for consistency; comb the liquid chocolate for up to 72 hours; mold the chocolate; cool the chocolate; wrap the chocolate – definitely a process!
After visiting Hershey’s Chocolate World, which by the way also offered other activities such as be a factory worker for a day or make your own candy bar among other fun options for the kids, I stopped at the Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania. The museum provided the chronology of time pieces from 4200 BC to 1896. A few statistics of interest include: 4200 BC = Egyptian Calendar using 365 days; 3000 BC = first works of Stonehenge; 250 BC = wide use of sundials in Greece; AD 1215 = signing of the Magna Carta; 1400 = wide use of sandglasses; 1500 = lantern clocks introduced in England; 1510 = first watch introduced in Nuremburg; 1620 = Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock; 1687 = Sir Isaac Newton publishes theories on gravity and planetary motion; 1759 = John Harrison completes his fourth chronometer; 1789 = Washington becomes the first president of the United States; 1797 = Eli Terry is granted the first US clock patent; 1806 = Eli Terry contracts to produce 4,000 wooden clocks in three years (initiating mass production); 1820 = Luther Goddard manufactures pocket watches in Massachusetts; 1840 = Alexander Bain develops first electric clock; 1861-65 = The US Civil War; 1874 = Telephone patented by Alexander Graham Bell; 1880 = German naval officers are supplied with Swiss-produced wrist watches; 1883 = Standard Railway Time with 5 time zones established in America; 1884 = World time zones established; 1896 = Dollar watches are widely available in the US. Just think, watches have been readily available in our lifetime, while in the 1800’s it was a luxury…and can you imagine living without time zones?!?
The watch museum also included a special exhibit on James Bond watches. Agent 007 has worn a variety of models manufactured by four different watch makers in the movies dating back to 1962. Can anyone name the four manufacturers?
Other exhibits included how a watch is made, how a watch works, as well as showcases of wrist watches, pocket watches, wall clocks, desk clocks, grandfather clocks, and even a monumental clock. Monumental clocks, popular in the last quarter of the 19th century, were handcrafted clocks that were used more to entertain than to tell time.
The first known American-made monumental clock was constructed over 20 years by Stephen Engle from Hazleton, Pennsylvania. While Engle invented the clock, the Reids exhibited the clock throughout the Eastern United States charging 25 cents to view “the eighth wonder of the world”. The clock toured the US until 1951 when it disappeared. The National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors finally found and acquired the clock in 1988. The clock contains a variety of moving figures. The skeletal figure of Death strikes a thigh bone against a skull every hour. Every 15 minutes, Father Time strikes a bell and turns his sandglass while the figures of Youth, Mid Age, and Old Age revolve above the clock dial. At 40 minutes past the hour, Revolutionary Soldiers pass by Molly Pitcher as patriotic tunes play. At 55 minutes past the hour, three Marys emerge and the grand processional of Apostles takes place.
I only spent an hour and a half here and could have spent much longer. It was late afternoon by the time l left, and I hadn’t even taken the dogs for a good walk! I quickly drove through the historic town of Marietta and then stopped at Chickies Rock County Park. The dogs and I dropped a geocoin off at a cache just off the trail on the way to a beautiful view of the Susquehanna River studded with islands. I was hoping to see Three Mile Island, but being a few miles north, it wasn’t in sight. A paramedic that was enjoying the views told me to go to another overlook nearby. It was relatively tree covered, but I got a decent sunset picture before I headed to Walmart.
websites: www.hersheys.com/chocolateworld/, www.notablenotecards.com, www.etsy.com/shop/nichenotecards