As of 1821, Glendale and its surrounding property was owned by the Shenk family who sold the property to Hershey Estates in the mid 1930’s. In March 1935, Glendale opened as a student home for boys in grades 6-12. Glendale served as a senior division home until August 2000 when it was sold to Richard Purcell ’61 and Milt Purcell ’64. The brothers acquired the property rights to the former student home from Milton Hershey School®. The Purcell brothers had a shared vision of creating an everlasting tribute to William E. Dearden ’40, an alumnus widely regarded as a legacy to Milton S. Hershey and his work. Their dream was to see the Dearden House become a hub of activity for alumni, staff, the local community, and most importantly, the people for whom Mr. Hershey built his School — the children.
In September 2000, during Homecoming Weekend, Bill Dearden and his family joined more than 500 alumni and other members of the MHS community at the formal dedication of the Dearden House. Less than three years later, in May 2003, Bill Dearden passed away. One year later, in May 2004, Dick Purcell passed away. Dick Purcell’s passing did not diminish the dream. Instead, it opened new vistas that have allowed the Dearden House to become even more than anyone had imagined.
In the fall of 2004, MHS repurchased in the Dearden House and barn and announced plans for the creation of the Dearden Alumni Campus that would also include old student home Southfield and the creation of a Friendship Garden.
More images of the interior of the Dearden House can be found in our gallery. The house is open for tours Monday-Friday 9 a.m- 3 p.m. We gladly accommodate large groups, please contact (717) 520-2030.