Hershey Town, Gardens and Electrical Train
Locayed about 15 km from Playa Jibacoa, Hershey is a small town frozen in time. It’s an American style village founded in 1917 by Mr. Milton Hershey owner of the famous US chocolate factory, who visited Cuba in search of the raw material for its factory based in Pennsylvania. His sugar mill became one of the largest and most efficient in Cuba. The facilities also include a sugar refinery and a sunflower oil extraction plant among other industrial facilities.
Mr. Hershey's was a bold and innovative entrepreneur who thought that his workers should have good conditions of living for his business to be successful. The “Batey de Hershey” was created with two residential areas: North Batey with residences for the most privileged social classes, and South Batey with workers' housing. The community had its own power plant, sewer and water; as well as a fully equipped medical center, a free public school for the workers’ children, a sports club and amusement park. The community still retains its original urban structure, and about 1200 people still live in the "Batey de Hershey" wich is part of the city called Camilo Cienfuegos.
Less than a kilometer north of the Hershey town, a natural paradise can be found in a deep ravine where the meanders of the beautiful Rio Santa Cruz flow. The vegetation is dense and with many native species. Milton Hershey created there in 1930 a recreational site for its workers, which still operates today, with a restaurant, a bar, a children's park and a bathing area with its ranchón (grill).
Hershey Electrical Train
Mr. Hershey also built 140 kilometers of railways for transportation of raw material (sugarcane) and produced sugar to the ports, and to transport workers on an electric train which began operating in 1922. This railway connects Hershey town with the cities of Havana and Matanzas. The train is still operating and the wagons that are currently uses are from 1944 and were donated in 1997 by the city of Barcelona in Spain.
Lily & Normand