Still, this was not enough for Milton. Seeing the opportunity for a totally unexpected source of revenue, he decided to commission a theme park. Opening in 1907, it was an instant hit with his employees and tourists alike. In operation to this very day, Hersheypark is one of the country's foremost amusement attractions. After its construction, Hershey became a full time philanthropist especially interested in presenting cultural and educational opportunities to the less fortunate, and he placed the majority of his fortune in a trust fund to accomplish this worthy aim.
Hershey married late in life, as did most men of substantial means during his time. He would dearly love Catherine, his first and only wife, until her untimely death in 1915. The couple never had children, so Hershey was able to devote full attention to his business and charitable interests during his later years. One of his proudest accomplishments was supplying American soldiers with stocks of candies in the midst of World War II's strict food rationing. He lived to see the end of the war, and died 88 on October 13, 1945.
Hershey was a very unique mogul for the turn of the century. While many of his contemporaries, including the Rockefellers, Carnegies, and DuPonts, engaged in wondrous philanthropic works, they did so from afar, but Hershey never left the company town he built, forsaking the typical gilded, rustic estate in a fashionable suburb favored by his peers. He personally oversaw his plans to better the world around him, and those who knew him proclaimed his humility and concern to the world. Hershey was truly genuine, succeeding not only in building a culinary icon, but a community without parallel. Success for him meant that one could not be divorced from the other.
Milton Snavely Hershey exemplified the American Dream in the most comprehensive manner imaginable.