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The flagship of Hershey’s Cuban holdings would be a new mill and town, Central Hershey, located near Santa Cruz. Much like his decision to build his chocolate factory and the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania, local Cuban businessmen cautioned Milton Hershey against his plans. The site chosen for Central Hershey was not close to transportation or a ready supply of workers. However, once again Milton Hershey envisioned the new town that would be constructed along with the sugar mill. His vision and concern for his workers resulted in a loyal workforce. The sugar mill was completed in 1918.
To provide for his workers at Central Hershey, Mr. Hershey constructed a town or "batey." In addition to comfortable homes for rent, there was good health care, a free public school, recreational facilities including a baseball diamond, golf course and sport club, and a general store. As in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the railroad permitted employees to choose where they would live.
To transport building materials to Central Hershey and to market the sugar, Hershey constructed a railroad that eventually ran between the major ports of Havana and Matanzas. The railroad was completed in October 1922 and was all electric.