by becky dietrich     Submitted by Joan Bittner Fry

This article appeared in the December 5, 1975 edition of The Record Herald.

Why do people drink beer in a place called “Chocolate Park?” Because there was once a man named Jansen, from Germany, who made delicious chocolates in his home to sell. An investor from out of town was impressed with the quality of the candy and built the factory for quantity production. Blue Mountain Candy was well known to the many people who summered in this resort area.

Next to the candy company a small concession and park, complete with swimming pool, opened up sometime in the late 20s or early 30s. There, the soldiers at Camp Albert C. Ritchie would have sandwiches and milk shakes during summer encampment breaks. Now for those of you too young to recall, don’t snicker at the thought of soldiers drinking milk shakes. The only other thing to drink came from the moonshiner, Old Man Poole (remember Prohibition?) up on the reservoir road who, no doubt did a booming business.

It wasn’t until 1933 that 3.2 beer was sold legally and then the former Chocolate Park concession stand became a popular “R & R” spot. Sometime in the late 30s the chocolate company, which by this time had gone out of business and converted to a textile company, burned to the ground. Very shortly thereafter the present Chocolate Park was built on the concession spot. Various owners tried to change the name and call it the “Three J’s” or the “Knotty Pine Inn,” but the original name stuck. Its much-frequented bar gave hearty competition to “The Red Hen” up in Pen Mar and “The Blue Goose” on McAfee Hill (which was then the Germantown Road).

During the war a captain at Post Headquarters was finally alerted to a mass deception that had worked for weeks. Every time he sought a certain sergeant or corporal he was told “Sorry, sir, he’s just gone to the CP (Command Post).” One day during duty hours when Chocolate Park’s bar was well lined with beer and men, the captain’s jeep pulled quickly behind the building – and there was a mad dash for the exit. Too late! To the amazement of all conspirators the captain walked in, ordered a beer and said. “So this is the new CP.”

A hush prevailed until he’d finished his beer, gone to the door, and turned to say, “Gentlemen, finish your drinks and report to my office!” A disquieted group soon reported in to hear the ultimatum “In the future there had better be only ONE CP! Dismissed!”

My mother, Helen Miller, was working at Blue Mountain Chocolate Company in 1931, the year she and my father, Harold Bittner, were married. J. Fry.

Share →