In Memory of Herman K. Dupre

During my time as the Broker of Record for Kettler Forlines Inc the developer of Swiss Mountain and the Villages at Seven Springs (18 years) I met many exceptional people. None matched the insightful Herman K Dupre.

A Tribute to Herman K Dupre Aug 13, 1932 – April 20, 2020

Thank you for sharing Seven Springs Mountain Resort. For always thinking about how to make the future better, whether it was the next 20 years or the next two generations. For caring and protecting our environment. For always asking, “What IF, How can we, Maybe if, How about.” For your generosity and guidance to future learners, adventurers, nature lovers, and inventors. For your free spirit. But most of all for your life inspiring story.

For those of you who have yet to discover the wonderful sanctuary of Seven Springs Mountain Resort in the Laurel Highlands of PA, I’d like to share a story with you. During our current turbulent times of uncertainty it is a story that will inspire you and give you hope.

A story of a life well lived, starting with his parents. Adolph and Helen married in 1928 just three months after meeting! They were the parents of Philip, Herman, and Lutigard. Their journey began with a modest cabin in the woods, a mere 2 acres that they purchased at a tax sale for $13.00, which slowly grew into 8,700 acres. A Redbook magazine 1949 story by Myron M Stearns featured them in a series “of families who have achieved the combination of security, independence, and happiness which we all seek.” It was called Seven Springs Farm back then.
The farm produced maple syrup, lumber, cottage rentals, club-style hotel, a ski lodge and the farm. Real estate was a fundamental building block for growth. Starting out with 12 cottages ($600 to $1,200 per year in rent) there are now single family homes, condominiums, and town homes throughout the year round resort facilities.

In a story by Christopher Foster in SKI-TIME 1962 interviewing both Herman and brother Philip they predicted the future, “In 20 years we will have the world’s finest year-round resort, with accommodations for 800 to 1000 persons in all 4 seasons.” When Herman was asked “Have you abundant financing from banks or such” his reply, “We expand as we accumulate reserves year by year. We have not and will not borrow a penny. We are our own bankers.” Just two years later when the decision was made to build the 70 room main lodge the brothers financed $250,000.
Son Herman became president of the board and CEO, was an engineer with industrial training and the visionary. Growing up he had done it all, farming, building cabins, cleaning sewers, running bulldozers, being the chef, he was a man who was repeatedly mistaken for an employee. He had earned a scholarship to Dartmouth but Adolph convinced him to attend St Vincent’s in Latrobe.
From “Seven Springs Goes its own way to Achieve Success” by Sally Clark, “In 1960 when he was 27 he oversaw the addition of a double chair lift and snow-maker to the skiing facilities. New rooms were built to accommodate the growing crowds of skiers from the city, and Ski Director Lars Skylling began a weekly report on skiing conditions for a Pittsburgh radio Station.”
From TECNOTIMES, Snow-making When The Snow Flies at Seven Springs by Rose Mary Surgent 1987 you see the genius of Herman exposed. Back then the snow-making at Seven Springs “could empty an Olympic sized pool in half an hour. The Resort’s snow-making system could pump 15,000 gallons of water PER MINUTE through 900 plus onsite snow towers… that’s 21.6 MILLION GALLONS in 24 hours!” Herman’s “patented system is one of the world’s fastest producing snow-making systems for its size. Back then “the water from 12 ponds on the property were pumped into the 22 acre Lake Tahoe that holds 152 million gallons of water. Thirty-five miles of 7 inch pipe feed the 900 plus snow towers that are situated alongside the ski trails. Back then he estimated that $5 of the price of a ski ticket went towards making snow.”

From The Pittsburgh Region’s Business Magazine EXECUTIVE REPORT Dec 1988 by Jeff Sewald, “Seven Springs Eternal” then “revenue came from 55% of visiting conventions and conference groups, only 30% comes from ski visits, the rest from tourists.” This time when asked about the future the response was, “We’re in the business for the long haul. We’re thinking two generations down the road.”

Indeed, Herman was a visionary but he will also be remembered as a philanthropist. In 2009 the Sis and Herman Dupre Science Pavilion was dedicated at St Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. It is an educational facility that provides classrooms, laboratories and offices for the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing. The family donated 7.6 million dollars to the project.

Wags and I will miss seeing him on the grounds in his Subaru or on his trail bike. Days that he spent checking on Mother Nature, observing new construction, and wondering….. In his memory the family has requested that you plant a tree, here’s a link to his obituary and instructions.


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