(MAP) 407 East Derry Road, Hershey Pa. 17033
*** 2006 Preservation Award Winner ***
The winner of the Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society's Preservation Award for 2006 is the Nelson and Mary Neff property at 407 East Derry Road, Hershey, PA. The H-DTHS publication, "The Villages of Spring Creek and Derry Church," compiled by Anne M. Searer, features this home and lists the following as former residents at this address: Weitmer, Wagner, Shellenhamer, Lollo, Cook, Keller and Popp.
The Neff home was built sometime before 1870. At that time, the mailing address for the dwelling would have been "Derry Church, PA." The earliest deed in the Neff's possession indicates that the property was purchased by Christian Kegerries from Kerry and Eliza Miller and Levi and Elizabeth Zimmerman on November 20, 1871.
The residence is built with solid brick exterior walls; there is no wooden framework. The house was designed with a porch that was only as wide as the two front doors. These two entries permitted access to two separate parlors: one parlor had plain woodwork and the other had more ornamental details. An interior stairway to the second floor can be accessed from the rear of either the "plain" or "fancy" parlors. In the back yard of this property a cistern was found that measures six feet wide, six feet long and seven feet deep. This artifact of the property is presently filled in.
There is a two-story summer kitchen with a walk-in fireplace at the rear of the house, although today, heat is provided by pipes that tunnel under an old porch, rather than by the open hearth. The full front porch was a later addition to the house and the second front door was replaced by a window, however, the old doorsill remains in its original location.
This lovely historic dwelling has been "home" to the Neff's for the past 29 years. They are the most recent caretakers of a property that was in existence when Milton Hershey was just a boy; a property that records a presence and style of an earlier and quieter time in Derry Township's history.