My Colonial States Trip~Part 10

21 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Lites


It was getting late, so I drove over to Hershey World which was really on my list for the next day, but I had checked the hours of operation before the trip, and I thought they were supposed to be open until 11:00 pm daily. My first clue that something was amiss was that their huge parking lot was almost empty. Well, when I got there, I found out they have different operating hours on different days of the week, as well as different months of the year! I hadn’t researched their operating hours thorough enough, and by now it was 5:45 pm and they were due to close at 6:00 pm that day. As I walked into the lobby, I saw the entrance to the Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour Ride and asked the lady if it was too late for a tour. She said, “Not at all, step aboard.” So I did. On their moving tour chair, I got to see how the cocoa bean is processed from the tropical rainforest to Hershey, PA and is transformed from a bean into the many forms of Hershey’s famous chocolate. That was all I needed to do there, as DiVoran had instructed me NOT to buy any chocolate for her because of her diet. That evening, for dinner, I treated myself to another one of my very favorites; a “Southwest Specialty Burger” at Fuddruckers in Harrisburg, PA before heading for the motel to relax and write-up my notes about the day’s activities.


The next morning I drove the 15 miles back over to Hershey, PA to visit the Antique Auto Club of America Museum, and what a collection they have there. The AACA’s collection of vehicles includes such rare early autos as a 1895 Chicago Motor Benton Harbor, a 1896 Ford quadricycle, a 1897 Aldrich Autobuggy, a 1905 Paragon Roadster, a 1917 Pierce-Arrow Model 38 Runabout and even a 1924 REO Funeral Hearse. I was simply amazed at this fine collection of early means of transportation. They even had the Hershey Kissmobile parked out front under the portico. This was one of the finest antique auto museums I had ever seen.


Next I went back into downtown Harrisburg to visit the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum where I saw how the firemen lived and worked, and also some of the equipment they used during the early 1800s. The museum is housed in the 1899 Victorian firehouse used by the Reily Hose Company No. 10 and features an outstanding collection of artifacts and equipment including an early hand-drawing pump wagon and other firefighting equipment used over the years. This was where the tour guide told me about how the term “Fire Plug” came about. Seems as how, in the early days, the water mains were made of wood, and held together with metal straps. These water mains were buried underground and when there was a fire in the vicinity, the firemen had to dig down to the water main, drill a hole in the pipe and install a hose adapter. When they were finished with the hose adapter, they removed it and inserted a wooden ”Plug” in the hole before covering up the pipe and marking the “Plug” location for future use. I wonder how that process morphed into what we knew when I was a kid as a “Fire Plug” or better known today as a “Fire Hydrant?” How is that for a piece of firefighting trivia?


—–To Be Continued—–

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