Don Hershey kept a series of notebooks that contain various types of information such as a summary of his career and awards, listings of his various projects, and stories of his early life in Dayton, Ohio where he lived until college. We are gradually transcribing these writings as we go through these books and will be putting the contents up in this section. He mentions his incorporation of passive solar design and radiant heat in a slab on the ground of about 35 of his houses in the 1940′s, “taking advantage of 55% earth temperature. These proved successful with a 30% fuel saving and delightfully warm floors.” Ideas that were way before their time. It’s also illuminating to hear him describe watching the Wright Brothers (his neighbors) do tests with kites while also working on a plane that eventually led to their building the world’s first successful airplane.
We have added a section with the transcriptions of these notebooks and will continue to add more as we get them typed! Click on the “Notebooks” tab in the menu or click here to go to this new section.
This week we discovered another Hershey home on the market. The address is 25 Country Club Drive in Pittsford and shares the street with another Hershey home. Apparently there is an open house next Sunday, Feb. 17th. We thought we’d go see the inside. Here’s the realtor’s description:
Unique! Best buy in Pittsford! Priced $35k below assesment! $85.00/sq.ft.! a spectacular “Don Hershey” designed home! An abundance of windows overlooking the 3rd. fairway of Irondequoit Country Club with Irondequoit Creek running through back of property! Open floor plan with expansive sized rooms in 5,500 square feet of living space! a unique combination of 7 bedrooms and 7 baths leaves many possibilities for in-law, teen suit or in home office! This is truly a “must see inside” property! Priced right for quick sale! (Text and photos from Blain Realty, Inc. site). (Note: This home sold for $449,900 on July 15, 2013.)
We heard from the new owners of 230 Hibiscus. They moved here from Lyons, NY and said, “As soon as we began looking at homes we told our great realtor, Rita Freling, that we loved Don Hershey homes. She found us this gem and we are looking at enhancing it’s lovely design with updates. We feel soooo lucky to now be able to live in the spacious and expansive home.”
This beautiful Hershey showpiece sold! According to Bob Martin it was on the market for 4 days and it may have gone in one.
(Note: This home sold for $300,000 on March 11, 2013.)
“A True Hershey Contemporary Ranch design! Open, Spacious & Bright floorplan flows for ease of living.Walk in & step down to the Living room w/ Marble 2-sided fireplace. Every detail included from the engagement of natural materials & outdoor private serenity to the organized kitchen w/corian counters & pull out drawers! Expansive Master Suite includes dressing rm & access to patio.Lower level offers natural light w/2nd Kitchen,Bath w/sauna,Fireplaced Living area.New tear off roof 2011,furnace 2005, C/A,Water tank 2012. Relax!…LIFE IS FULL OF MEMORIES & HERE IS A WONDERFUL PLACE TO KEEP THEM!”
The Historic Brighton lecture on Don Hershey (see previous post) was a resounding success. Don’s sons Ken and Al attended with their wives and shared many interesting and entertaining stories of their father. The event would not have been the same without them! Many people who live or have lived in Hershey homes were present demonstrating the enthusiasm and love we have for all things Hershey – the open floor plans, the huge windows (facing south), the parklike settings, the positioning of the homes in relation to the environment, the vaulted ceilings, the huge overhangs, the built-ins, prairie-style roofs, the use of various woods – cedar, butternut, mahogany, redwood… One of Don’s goals was to have his homes look contemporary 30 years later. Well, in most cases they still look contemporary 60-70 years later!
We will continue to add Hershey homes to the site as we find out about them and add to the information on this site. If you have anything to add, please comment here. We welcome your input! Stay in touch as we will be planning Don Hershey events in the future.
Following their 14th Annual Meeting at 2:30pm on Sunday, January 27, 2013, Historic Brighton will be hosting C. Storrs Barrows and Don Hershey: Masters of Mid-century Design at Brighton Town Hall Main Auditorium, 2300 Elmwood Avenue. The presenter is Mary Jo Lanphear, Brighton Town Historian.
Don Hershey was one of the foremost architects in the Rochester, NY area. He designed about 500 homes, and for over fifty years he conceived his plans, executed his drawings, contracted builders and fashioned a few ideas and dreams into someone’s home at a small drawing board in his home on Landing Road.
“Frank Lloyd Wright was my inspiration,” Don says. “I didn’t imitate him, but I’ve always been fascinated by the strength of his designs, his hip roofs, open plans, and his use of stone.” (Some of the above is an exerpt from the Eldercraft Newsletter 1982)
Hershey homes were designed to conform to the shape and contour of the lot and were frequently one floor with radiant heat. Many had large overhangs with low slung roofs and an abundance of windows for views of nature. He incorporated built-in cupboards for storage to maintain a less cluttered look. He also frequently used concrete block or Medina stone.
This article prepared by Hershey and the builder about the McCarthy house (see at the top of this page) in Fairport, NY goes into great detail about Hershey’s approach: