Today’s post is by John LeGloahec, Archivist in the Electronic Records Division at the National Archives in College Park, MD.
This post is part of an ongoing series of posts featuring records from the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013 – 2017 (NAID 20812721), a series within Record Group 79: Records of the National Park Service.
The month of July is known for many things – one of which is that it is National Ice Cream Month! And who doesn’t love ice cream during one of the hottest months of the year, or to celebrate America’s independence, or lolling by the pool or beach on a beautiful summer day. Or maybe you’ve tried your hand at making your own ice cream, like these boys above?
Grab your keys, hop in the convertible, and head out in search of ice cream in the Records of the National Register of Historic Places (National Archives Identifier 20812721). Within the records you can find files pertaining to ice cream companies, shops, and parlors across the country.
Maybe you can find your way to Little Jack Horner’s in Newburgh, New York (above), or maybe it’s off to Kaiser’s Ice Cream Parlour in Oklahoma City (NAID 86511728). Or you can head north to Marshall, Michigan to the Emporium, also known as Marlene’s Old Fashioned Ice Creme Parlor/The Children’s Shoppe (NAID 25339030), once the home of Schuyler’s Drug Store, but later remodeled into an ice cream parlor.
If you’re touring lighthouses in New Jersey the Navesink Light Station (NAID 135813695) will be worth a visit and you should be sure to include a stop by the Navesink Historic District (NAID 135815302) to enjoy some ice cream at the shop, just down the street from the Post Office.
Perhaps your interest in ice cream is at its genesis and you want to see how and where it is made. You can head to the Odessa Ice Cream Company Building (NAID 63819616) in Lafayette County, Missouri, where “Odessa Ice Cream Every Bite [is] Just Right.” Stop at the building with the painted, stylized polar bears out front. There’s also the General Ice Cream Corporation Building (NAID 41375427) in Providence, Rhode Island, built in 1915 by Sam Dolbey, at a time when the ice cream industry was seeing significant growth.
You can also visit the Fairmont Creamery Company (NAID 93201503) in Moorhead, Minnesota, where in 1923, “the time had come for a livestock system of farming in the Red River Valley, and in need for a new plant to supply their growing outlets, the Fairmont Company began construction . . . of the largest creamery and produce plant in the Northwest. J.H. Deems, the local manager of the Fairmont Creamery wrote in the Fairmont’s Magazine, ‘Confidence in the future development of the Country and not the immediate requirements promoted the building of the Moorhead plant at its present site. The development included efforts by the Company to establish a market for cream products and poultry products which lead to the development of experimental farms.’”
If your interest leans toward the magnates of the ice cream industry – the cherry on top of the sundae, so to speak – you can also see the homes of many of the owners of ice cream shops, companies, and factories. You can visit Henry H. Frailing’s House (NAID 25338049) in Iron River, Michigan. Frailing owned and operated the Iron River Creamery (NAID 25338045) which processed milk, ice cream, butter, and cheese for local sales.
There’s also Ted Eldridge’s house (NAID 75337726) in Davenport, Iowa, who owned the Eldridge Bros. confectionery – and lived above his store, before moving to his home elsewhere in Davenport.
In Tampa, Florida, there is the Hutchinson House (NAID 77842580), where “Currie J. Hutchinson moved shortly after the turn of the century along with his wife, Harriet Mae Hathaway . . . Hutchinson was a prominent merchant having operated several drug stores in Tampa. He was also involved in a jewelry store business, the first ice cream factory in Tampa, and was active in bringing traveling medicine shows to Tampa.”
We can finish our tour by taking a seat at the ice cream soda bar at The Hub (NAID 77840929) in Gainesville, Florida, where “a circular soda fountain offered ice cream from the UF [University of Florida] dairy program.”