To beat the heat in the 1930s


To the editor:

The mid 1930s were very hot all through the Midwest. It was the years of the Dust Bowl farther west and day after day we had high temperatures of over 100 right here. But there was a little relief with ICE CREAM.

In downtown Seymour on East Second Street next to the Interurban barn, was a very tall sign of a very tall ice cream cone. A real one of that proportion would have dripped down your arm before you got one block west of Baldwin’s Drug Store. It was just west of the Lynn Hotel and had a nice soda fountain.

You could buy a quart brick of ice cream or for a little more, a hand dipped quart to take home. If you ordered from the counter, you sat at a metal table on a three-legged chair that was very apt to turn over and land you on the floor.

In the block west of Chestnut Street was Eudaly’s. I can’t describe it as it was the hangout for the high school crowd. It was near the Majestic Theater and convenient for couples after a movie.

Back to Chestnut Street, south of the Seymour National Bank, was Prices’ confectionery. Prices’ catered more to the employees of the stores downtown. It had a soda fountain, sold candy, popcorn and oysters in season. The season was any month with an "R" in it.

An ice cream sundae in Prices’ was served in a sundae dish and made with one large scoop of ice cream. An ice cream soda was served in a tall soda glass and made with a medium scoop. They used a very small scoop to put three little balls of ice cream in a pyramid on a double cone.

Jones Drug Store on the southwest corner of Chestnut and St. Louis Avenue also had a fountain, and on the east side of Chestnut south of the Farmers’ Club was Newby’s dairy store. It may have been the cleanest place to buy ice cream as it always smelled of disinfectant. For me that was not appetizing.

A few more doors south and next to a saloon where now stands the Jackson County Bank, was the Princess Theater, very small and not where we went to see the first run movies. And of course, it was not an ice cream shop.

But on Saturday mornings Mother gave us each a dime to go to the Princess to see a program of ‘short subjects’, the last a serial with a cliffhanger ending to get you back the next week. Halfway through the movies the lights would come on and someone came in with small ice cream cones for each kid there, probably fewer than fifty who had only paid a dime to get in.

Nancy Bishop, Seymour

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