History of the Ice Cream Sundae

Historians argue over the originator of the ice cream sundae

Ice cream sundae
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Historians argue over the originator of the ice cream sundae, three historical probabilities are the most popular:

Version One - Evanston, Illinois

In the Midwestern parts of United States, laws were once passed that prohibited the selling of soda water on a Sunday. The town of Evanston, Illinois was one of the first towns to pass such a law around the year 1890. As an alternative on Sundays, local ​soda fountains started selling ice cream sodas minus the soda, which left only the ice cream and syrup. That may have become the recipe today's ice cream sundae.

Version Two - Two Rivers, Wisconsin

Soda fountain owner, Ed Berners of Two Rivers, Wisconsin is reputed to have invented the first ice cream sundae in 1881. Berners's customer George Hallauer requested that Berners serve him a dish of ice cream topped with the syrup used for sodas. Berner liked the dish and added it to his regular menu, charging a nickel.

George Giffy, a competing soda fountain owner from nearby Manitowoc, Wisconsin felt he had to serve the same syrupy concoction as Ed Berners. However, Giffy felt that the nickel price was too cheap and decided to only serve the dish on Sundays, which soon became the name of the dish - the "Ice Cream Sunday." Once Giffy realized that he was making good money from the "Ice Cream Sunday" he changed the name to the "Ice Cream Sundae" and served it daily.

Version Three - Ithaca, New York

The ice cream sundae was potentially invented by Chester Platt, owner of the Platt & Colt's drugstore in 1893. Platt prepared a dish of vanilla ice cream for the Reverend John Scott on a Sunday. Chester Platt spiced up the ice cream with cherry syrup and a candied cherry. Reverend Scott named the dish after the day. An advertisement for "Cherry Sunday" served at the Platt & Colt's drugstore has helped document this claim.

"CHERRY SUNDAY - A new 10 cent Ice Cream Specialty. Served only at Platt & Colt's. Famous day and night Soda fountain."

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Bellis, Mary. "History of the Ice Cream Sundae." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/history-of-the-ice-cream-sundae-1991763. Bellis, Mary. (2020, August 26). History of the Ice Cream Sundae. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-the-ice-cream-sundae-1991763 Bellis, Mary. "History of the Ice Cream Sundae." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-the-ice-cream-sundae-1991763 (accessed June 7, 2023).