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The Cuban Town Mr. Hershey Built
There was an interesting piece in the Washington Post recently about the town of Hershey Cuba, a model town founded by U.S. chocolate tycoon Milton S. Hershey in 1916 about 30 miles east of Havana. Milton Hershey had already put his name on a model town in Pennsylvania built around his vision of scientific planning and corporate benevolence. With sugar prices peaking during World War I, he chose to build another all American town this time amid the oceanic sugar cane fields on the bluffs overlooking Cuba’s north coast. The looming sugar mill, once among the world’s most advanced, is now a gutted, ghostly hulk and the once vibrant town has long since fallen into a state of heartbreaking ruin. Hershey’s greatest technological achievement was a state-of-the-art electric railway running 57 miles from Havana to the port of Matanzas, with his town in the middle. The rail cars could gather raw cane for delivery to the mill and ship it out again through the ports in either city, with passenger service that linked dozens of rural towns and villages along the way. Surprisingly the one remaining thing in Hershey is the old electric railway that Hershey built.
Rusting hulk of old Hershey sugar mill. Now raided by locals for scrap metal
On several of our Cuba trips our small group had the good fortune to have a private rental of the train for a clicky clack, mojito fueled train ride with live music through the countryside. While the trains haven’t changed much since the early 1900s its amazing they still run. With our Cuban band playing "Guantanamera" in the background we banged back and forth down the tracks flying past small towns and villages as we took turns actually driving the train while being served mojitos by our bartender. Our only worry was slowing the train down as cattle crossed the tracks. It was an amazing experience that would never happen anywhere else.
Hershey housing built for the sugar mill workers
Hershey main train station
Here comes our private train
Hershey Cuba Train Station
Pulling into the Hershey Station our 2 car private train arrives
Let the party begin
Can you believe these things still carry people?
Our Cuban friend Eduardo Garcia at the controls
Eddie pick a track, any track
Linda takes control as the Conductor with refreshments on their way
Driving the train requires a classic Cuban Mojito
… and the band plays on
Oh! and of course it wouldn't be a good train ride without a dance?
The Hershey Train Adventure -- The Video...
Benjamin "Dink" Bruce in his private train car
Can you imagine this as a commuter train in the US?
Our faithful crew
Hello, Hello, How do you stop this thing?
Some things only happen in Cuba
Preview our new Cuban photo book "Cuba --- Beyond the Bars": http://www.cubaphotos.net/BeyondBars
Excerpts from WP article included above, Full article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/in-cubas-hershey-where-an-american-experiment-ended-bitterly-hopes-stir/2015/05/05/87d40942-e84d-11e4-8581-633c536add4b_story.html
* Any use of these images requires the prior written permission of Bill or Linda Klipp the photographers, no other uses of any kind including print or electronic are permitted without the prior written permission of the photographer
Bill, thanks so much for posting this, and especially for the fantastic photos. Wish Allan and I could have made it to Hershey as well. Keep up the good work.
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