Amazing, Sad Photos Of An Abandoned Chocolate Factory In Ruins

The chocolate factory that gave America its first Hershey’s kiss is now in ruins.

Hershey Co. began demolishing the 110-year-old factory two years ago in a move that devastated many longtime residents of the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania, where the plant was located.

Photographer Matthew Christopher, whose father worked for the Hershey Co., went inside the factory just before it was destroyed. He shared what he found with Business Insider.

To see more of his work, check out his website and newly published book, “Abandoned America.”

The inside of the crumbling chocolate plant is a far cry from the fictional Willy Wonka chocolate factory.

'It looks like a chemical plant,' Christopher says.

The factory was first opened by Hershey Co. founder Milton S. Hershey in 1903.

Small pieces of chocolate remained on the machines, most of which stopped producing candy in 2012.

This conching machine was once responsible for mixing cocoa butter into the chocolate.

Only three acres of the 24-acre factory site were spared from demolition, while the rest was leveled to make way for a new development, according to Reuters.

The candy company has moved operations to a new chocolate plant two miles away in West Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The transition eliminated about 600 jobs.

'The demolition of the Hershey plant is a really sensitive subject for many people in the town and beyond,' Christopher says.

Christopher grew up in Hershey, and his father worked for the company.

'I think the loss of the plant is a tremendously sad thing, but I try to avoid attaching what I do to anything critical of the company itself,' he says.

Many residents of Hershey, Pa. hoped that the factory would be preserved for historical purposes.

'I was hoping they would at least use some of the old factory for tours,' Kathi Sopp, 52, who has lived in Hershey since 1987, told Reuters.

'People should be able to always smell the aroma of chocolate and sweat from generations of workers in this town,' she said.

Hershey officials said that no developers were interested in working with the structures on the site.

So the buildings had to be demolished.

Westwood Properties, a New York-based real estate investment company, purchased the site in 2011.

The company is expected to build a mix of restaurants and retail space on the property.

Here's what the factory once looked like.

The walls are now crumbling to pieces.

An American flag still hangs on a wall inside.

And signs for employees also still cover the walls.

While plastic tarps cover some of the machines.

Now that you've seen the abandoned Hershey plant...

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