*** 2014 Preservation Award Winner ***
Hershey Stadium was the last major project of Hershey’s Great Building Campaign of the 1930s. Completed in May 1939, it was intended to provide a venue for college, professional, and high school football games, as well as outdoor entertainment, including midget auto races on the Stadium’s quarter mile track.
The Stadium could seat 15,360. Initially, there were plans to add a stand on the north end that would create a horseshoe with seating for 27,000. The stadium also boasted lighting that turned night into day. To create this effect, eight towers, 98 feet high, floodlighted the field with from 200,000 to 250,000 watts.
The Stadium turf still serves as the playing field for the annual Cocoa Bean Game when Hershey is the home team. The first game was played on November 20, 1943. The Big 33 Football Classic continues to be played here annually, since 1957.
In 1953, Hershey hosted the National Republican Party’s birthday party for President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The President and First Lady entertained the stadium crowd by riding around the track in a horse and buggy before joining a $100 a plate dinner being held in a big top circus tent, erected for the occasion.
The Stadium also hosted the very first AACA Antique Automobile Show in 1954, and for many years, until 1974, was home to the PA State Police Rodeo. Information provided by