Many thought Milton Hershey nuts when he commissioned a 7,000-seat arena in a town of 2,000. But over the years Hersheypark Arena has been a surprisingly important venue, hosting sporting events and big concerts.
Opening in 1936, the former Hershey Sports Arena hosted Hershey Bears (AHL) games through 2002, when the team moves to Giant Arena. In the old days, Wednesday and Saturday were hockey nights, with other events like the Ice Capades and NBA games fillng in the other dates. This was where Wilt Chamberlain set a single-game scoring record, putting in 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks in 1962.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the arena — still going strong as a community center and the practice arena for the Bears — the Hershey-Derry Twp. Historical Society is holding its annual Preservation Dinner there on Sept. 10. It’s still a grand old building, and best of all there are no plans to tear it down any time soon.
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