Whatever happened to Soda Fountains in Drug Stores?
They just disappeared. I used to love them when I was a kid visiting America from England.%0D\
They epitomised America. Now you never see them.
The English Whatever Happened To Troll.
When I was in college during the early 80s, the drugstore near school had one but wasn''t using it anymore. I asked the owner why and he said McD''s had done him in in the mid 70s.
I loved them, too, in college the occasional hike across town to Woolworth''s take a vanilla milkshake and crispy fries, stray salt bouncing on the black Vitrolite countertop, and then head downstairs to the housewares department to find some odd thing I didn''t quite need -- a lemon squeezer in the form of a stainless steel bird, 99-cents.%0D\
In Charleston, S.C. they survived well into the late 1980s at least in five-and-dimes and drug stores. Was anything so good as stopping in for an icy cold Coca-Cola and a pack of nabs as a respite for a boiling Southern summer day?
I used to stay with my family in an old fashioned hotel in Florida. They had their one little drug store with a soda fountain counter. I used to go in there on my own aged 10 and get Vanilla Ice Cream Sodas. The waxed straws used to clog up, so I''d get through about five each time. That place lasted well into the 80s, then they replaced it with a Starbucks style coffee place. I was horrified.%0D\
It's the same with candy stores/newsstands in NYC. When I was a kid most of them had a fountain for things like malteds and egg creams and fountain sodas. They freshly scooped had ice cream cones, sundaes and the like. Now there are none. They have a cooler with ice cream by the pints and really shitty full of HFCS pre packaged ice cream treats, maybe a little candy, gum and chips and usually a lotto machine and some newspapers. Only a few even still have magazines. When I was a kid you could get a great egg cream for 15 cents and a malted for 25. An ice cream cone was a dime for one scoop and 15 for two. The ice cream was made with real sugar and cream. Some, like Walters candy store on the lower east side had the best French fries you can imagine and there were real "fancy" ice cream parlors on Ave A. Brooklyn and the Bronx and Queens were also loaded with them. I'm not sure about Staten Island. %0D
Oh and in Brooklyn for a very special treat we had Jahn's, restaurant and ice cream specialties. Anyone remember the "Kitchen Sink?" I think it fed something like 24 people and was a big hit at parties.%0D
R4, you must be around 80.
We had Jahn''s in Nassau County,too! I always wanted to have the kitchen sink.
I live outside of small town in South Carolina. We have a drug store. It has a soda fountain/ice creme section. I only get the occasional ice creme cone.\
We do not have any chain fast food to replace it. Most things that close here do so because the owners die or call it quits. So it is always sad.
There was one in my town when I was little. My mother told me how delicious egg creams were. We went in one day and the guy who owned it made me an egg cream. I hated it. My mother couldn''t believe it.%0D\
He closed the soda fountain the next year.
Thanks for the memories, R4.%0D\
Is this how you remember New York?
[quote]I live outside of small town in South Carolina. We have a drug store. It has a soda fountain/ice creme section%0D\
Any possibilty of a link?
That happened to me R8 -- because they kept saying "egg creme" and what I got had no egg or cream in it.
The one in my home town lasted until about 1990. They still squirted Coca-Cola syrup into the glass and then shot carbonated water in and mixed it with a sort of a swizzle stick. It tasted nothing like modern Coca-Cola, but it was interesting in its own way.\
The owner just got old and retired.
As a kid in the 50''s and 60''s I and my friends would always stop off at the drugstore every day after school for a snack. I usually got either a cherry coke or an ammonia coke and a HUGE home made brownie. On Saturdays we''d go there for lunch. They made the most incredible hamburgers I''ve ever had. The burger itself was made from 1/2 ground chuck and 1/2 ground sausage. The burgers were a quarter and the cokes were .10 each.\
In the mid 80''s my best friend''s father, a pharmacist, retired and closed his drug store. He sold everything in the building down to the walls. I was able to get 5 of the beautiful huge glass candy jars that were at least 50 years old along with a horde of other treasures.\
How I miss those great places.
I miss real fountain cokes.. with coke syrup and carbonated water all mixed together.%0D\
''ammonia coke''...''phosphates'' %0D\
What the fuck were they?
Oh yes how I loved those lemon phosphates!\
R15, way back when they had an edible ammonia (spirit of ammonia). They would put it in many drinks. It started back in the 20''s or 30''s. The ammonia was said to cure any number of ailments such as upset stomach and frayed nerves. They only put a drop or two in the cokes and the taste was very enjoyable. They also put spirit of ammonia in the lemon phosphates we had. Simply delicious!\
The drugstore we went to as children stopped making the ammonia drinks by the early 60''s and we had to be satisfied with cherry cokes and Shirley Temples.
I remember Jahn''s and I''m NOWHERE near 80.\
The snarky people here need to shut up.
native New Yorker
"Oh yes how I loved those lemon phosphates!"\
Were these lemon phosphates the same as those Brioschi pellets, the antacid which fizzed up when you added it to water, people drank Brisochi to relieve an upset stomach.\
My mom said Brioschi was taken off the market because it made holes in people''s stomachs! \
I was shocked to see it''s still being made. I haven''t seen it in any drugstores for many years.
[quote]He closed the soda fountain the next year.\
Was it something you said, R8?
[quote] I haven''t seen it in any drugstores for many years.%0D\
Is a drugstore and a pharmacy the same thing?
I live in Charlottesville, VA and we still have one on Main Street. If in town, check out Timberlake''s Drugstore on the downtown pedestrian mall. You would think that you''ve encountered a worm hold to take you back a few decades.\
Below is a poor photo of the interior of the store. You can see a bit of the counter/stools in the lower right corner. Timberlakes still has the black/white tilework, stools, and the pharmacy part of the store still operates.\
The counter still sells ice cream, sodas, milk shakes, pie, etc. Sandwiches include grilled cheese and BLTs.
We had a Jahn''s in Bergen County NJ, too! LOVED The Kitchen Sink and also The Walnut Sundae (toothpicks served on request)>
[quote]You would think that you''ve encountered a worm hold to take you back a few decades.\
Surely you meant wormhole, yes?
R-7 here -\
OP, Your post made me realize that perhaps I should go downtown and take some pics of the interior of the drug store and post them. No one else has, that I am aware of. \
I posted a photo-essay of my town on a rainy day on facebook and was surprised at how many people responded positively. I personally find it very sad because the economy hit us hard and when someone dies and something goes out of business - no one has the funds to start up a replacement.
For those of you in LA, check out the Fair Oaks Pharmacy in So Pasadena. %0D\
A real soda fountain and you can buy replica vintage toys there, too.
Ours had a horseshoe shaped counter, and about every 6 stools there was a tall glass case with wire shelves to hold slices of pie. \
My Grandmother would take me there when I was little, but before she would let me order pie she would carefully study to cases to see how many slices of each type of pie were sitting there. If there was only 1 or 2 slices of apple left, then the pie was old and stale and she wouldn''t let me get one. That old gal was no fool.
Yes, you must, R24. I''d personally love to see them.%0D\
[quote]I posted a photo-essay of my town on a rainy day on facebook and was surprised at how many people responded positively.%0D\
Can you post a link?
Here''s a photo and the menu from the Fair Oaks Pharmacy Soda Fountain.%0D
I really fancy that Fair Oaks Pharmacy. I''m going to make a note of it and go when I''m next in L.A.%0D\
I just want a Vanilla Ice Cream Soda, mostly.
How old are you people? I have to ask my mother about it.
We had a candy store in Franklin Square on Long Island where I grew up in the 1960s. It was much like R4 described, but, sadly, those stores were on their way out by the early 1970s. I recall that it was small, cramped, somewhat dimly lit with a lot of dark wood. It had a soda fountain and sold comic books and loads of candy. If it had a name, I couldn''t tell you what it was -- we just called it "the candy store," and everyone knew where and what you meant.\
I too hated egg creams.
When I was very young I still knew what life was like in the days of my parents'' youth and even my grandparent''s youth. Ignorance isn''t anything to be proud of R30.
They''ve got one Still in downtown Chapel Hill, NC. Cute place, the soda fountain is in the back of a hardware/dry goods like store
There''s still one at the Fairoaks Pharmacy in South Pasadena, CA.\
They use an entire pint of ice cream in their shakes and malts.
I used to go to the soda fountain at Woolworth''s when I was a kid in Philly. Also, "luncheonettes" had counters where you could sit down and order a soda/hamburger/tuna salad.\
The people who still have them (soda fountains) have realized they are a nice nostalgia item, and the ones that are left are usually cherished.\
I was sorry to see the one in Provincetown closed in the last couple years, but saw a nice one in Apalachicola Florida last year.
I am not going to post a link to my facebook page on datalounge, I am not quite that insane. \
I looked around a little bit to see if anyone had posted anything on flickr, or even youtube. Nothing of the interior of the drug store showed up. Some gospel singer from here talked about the soda fountain on his web page. I''ve never heard of him.\
Oddly enough the only youtube thing that came up when I searched was from a nearby town. By that time I was just looking for any video uploaded from the general area. You would think we didn''t even HAVE the internet here. \
How unrelated can a clip be? \
I included it, judge for yourself:
[quote]I am not going to post a link to my facebook page on datalounge, I am not quite that insane.%0D\
In the 70 and 80''s (I believe it was there since the 40''s), there was a soda fountain and candy store in Chicago named Ideal''s off of Clark St, between the Addison and Belmont els.\
Homemade chocolate, candies and ice cream, you would get water in those paper cones...they don''t make them like they used to.
"Is a drugstore and a pharmacy the same thing?"\
I would assume so, the drugstores we have today are places like Rite Aid, Walgreen''s, Duane Reade, CVS etc.\
There are no longer old fashioned type pharmacies, though, the Bigelow''s in the Village looks like an old fashioned pharmacy. I haven''t been there in years, so I don''t now how much that store has changed.\
Kiehl''s also used to look like an old fashioned pharmacy.
What I really miss is the lemonade. I loved a grilled cheese sandwich and a lemonade when I was a kid. In Houston, Avalon Drugstore held out the longest. The rent on their location (which is prime) was jacked up, and they moved to the SW Freeway feeder road. I don''t know if it''s still there.
[quote]Is a drugstore and a pharmacy the same thing?\
No. A pharmacy sells medicine and health related things, whereas a drug store sells pretty much every piece of crap under the sun (+ a pharmacy counter)
Oh, for the Jahn''s in Paramus, NJ. The best sandwiches, fountain sodas and the Kitchen Sink, the most amazing ice cream sundae ever made!! Not to mention the clanging bells that went off when one hit the table!!!\
It was my favorite place to relax and pig out. And a great place for foreplay. Always got laid after Jahn''s.
Hillsboro Pharmacy and Fountain on Main Street in Hillsboro, Oregon. Been there since 1873.
I suspect that the fast food crowd--Burger King, McDonalds, etc.--had a lot to do with the demise of soda fountains in drug stores. In fact, drug stores themselves are no longer what they used to be--they had much more varied departments and merchandise then. For example, I recall one that had a rental library.
I don''t know, R20. Is they?
There are still lots of soda fountains around. McDonald''s have them. So do must restaurants and 7-11s.
"That place lasted well into the 80s, then they replaced it with a Starbucks style coffee place. I was horrified."\
Yes, it''s sad. Big corporations continue to drive the little people out of business.
[quote] Big corporations continue to drive the little people out of business.\
Corporate capitalism should be abolished.
When I was a little boy back in the 70''s, I remember my mother taking me to Rexall Drug''s (which I think was a chain) in the local mall and they had a lunch counter there. I always ordered a hot dog because they would serve it in a bun that they charred on the grill.
Yes it is the fast food industry and places like Starbucks that have kind of stomped out drug store soda fountains.%0D\
There are two drug stores on Mainstreet in Nantucket that still have their soda fountains. There is not one KFC, McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy''s etc on the island!%0D\
There is one very good ice cream only shop on the island- Nantucket Homemade. %0D\
This wasn''t a drug store lunch counter but the long gone Woolworths at Ansley Mall in Atlanta had by far that best lunch counter I''ve ever seen. Their hamburgers were to die for!
[quote] Whatever happened to Soda Fountains in Drug Stores?\
Drug stores are now mostly chain stores owned by corporations.
We had an S.S. Kresge store, and when they closed it and built the Kmart they moved the old ladies over to the Kmart snack bar inside the new store. It was a different format, but the DNA of the old lunch counter survived at the new place, and the old ladies soldiered on cooking the same sandwiches and fountain items well into the 90''s when Kmart finally took out the snack bar. It was the best kept secret in town.
I remember the lunch counter/soda fountain in the Bigelow''s store in the village. Great grilled cheese
[quote]In 1950 Walgreens, one of the largest chains of American drug stores introduced full self service drug stores that began the decline of the soda fountain, as did the coming of the Car Culture and the rise of suburbia. Drive-in restaurants and roadside ice cream outlets, such as Dairy Queen, competed for customers. North American retail stores switched to self-service soda vending machines selling pre-packaged soft drinks in cans, and the labor-intensive soda fountain didn't fit into the new sales scheme. Today only a sprinkling of vintage soda fountains survive.%0D
Drug store and dime store soda fountains were mostly a thing of the past long before anyone ever heard of Starbucks. Drive-thru windows and the taste for chain fast food, car culture, the demise of downtowns, the rise of chain drug stores, the demise of five-and-dimes, mall culture...all these trends had a much bigger role, even if the tide has turned against some of them. I'm 50 and could tell as a kid that soda fountains were an anachronism and on their way out as a whole.
Last time I was in Little Five Points Pharmacy in Atlanta, they had one but in trying to find pics I see they did away with it, here is a good link to a similar thread on a mostly straight and nerdy board.
[quote]They''ve got one Still in downtown Chapel Hill, NC. Cute place, the soda fountain is in the back of a hardware/dry goods like store.\
r33, are you talking about Sutton''s Drug Store? Last time I was in Chapel Hill, Sutton''s was still going strong as a drug store and lunch counter/soda fountain. \
Is there a hardware store/dry good store that''s opened in downtown Chapel Hill? Huggins Hardware was the last hardware store downtown and it closed in the early 90s, replaced by Miami Subs. \
Is there are new hardware that''s opened on Franklin Street and installed a soda fountain? \
For the rest of you, Sutton''s doesn''t have a website, but here''s a link to a write up about Sutton''s along with some photos.
[quote] That happened to me [R8] -- because they kept saying "egg creme" and what I got had no egg or cream in it.%0D\
Plus, it just didn''t taste good. Seltzer, chocolate syrup and milk were just yuck. I thought it would taste like a malted, or like an extra-delicious chocolate milk, but it taste like watered down chocolate milk and I was not impressed with the fizz -- the seltzer water gave it a bad taste.%0D\
My partner calls egg creams "eck creams." I corrected him and then found out that a lot of Jewish people from Brooklyn (he is a Brooklyn Jew though-and-through) called them "eck creams" because the "egg" in "egg cream" came from the German/Yiddish word "echt."
Dellas 5&10 in Cape May, NJ has a soda fountain.
What is an egg creme? Sounds disgusting.
R61: The name is confusing, not only in that it contains neither egg nor cream, but in the name and history of the drink, which may have passed through several significant iterations.%0D\
[quote]An egg cream is a beverage consisting of chocolate syrup, milk, and soda water, probably dating from the late 19th century, and is especially associated with Brooklyn, home of its alleged inventor, candy store owner Louis Auster. It contains neither eggs nor cream.%0D\
Knowing that the name was a misnomer, I assumed the thin frothy "head" on the drink may have been related to the appearance of whipped egg whites, but the Wiki article cites two recipes as possible predecessors, the later one (1920) with egg yolks (but no cream) and lemon juice, for fuck''s sake; and the earlier version (1915) with stiff egg whites and cream. An 1859 version has yolks and cream.%0D\
The couple times I tried them, they were pretty awful: thin and flat, like the dishwater in which a chocolate shake glass had been rinsed.
[quote]We went in one day and the guy who owned it made me an egg cream. I hated it. My mother couldn''t believe it.\
[quote]He closed the soda fountain the next year.\
Because you hated his egg cream?
Anyone who hates egg creams never had a really good one made for you. %0D\
My dad''s family owned a candy store in the Bronx when he was a boy and he learned to make the best egg creams ever. Word of my dad''s gift for making them spread after a couple of friends came to the house and he made them for them. Soon kids who couldn''t even stand me asked to come home with me for one of my dad''s egg creams. %0D\
You have to use the right syrup, and make it in the right order and with the exact right amount of syrup, milk and seltzer. %0D\
It''s a lost art.%0D\
My Father worked in a soda fountain in Philadelphia when he was a boy. (this was before WWII), and he could make all the egg creams and the malts and all, but the thing he took the most pride in were his grilled cheese sandwiches. Apparently they were a staple in old soda fountains (at least in Philadelphia), and it was all about the color of the toasted bread and just the proper amount of cheese sticking out evenly around the sandwich.
[quote]There are no longer old fashioned type pharmacies, though, the Bigelow''s in the Village looks like an old fashioned pharmacy. I haven''t been there in years, so I don''t now how much that store has changed.%0D\
I was going to mention Bigelow''s. That beautiful, old counter is gone now, replaced with aisles of cosmetics, perfumes, and the like. %0D\
The pharmacy, however, is still there. The people who work there have always been nice, competent and quicker than most places.
Soda fountain "ricky" What is that?
Thanks, R21. I was going to post about Timberlake''s, which is a treasure. (But can it last? I never have gone in there for anything but the soda fountain, since things are cheaper at the chains.)\
There is no throwback cultural experience like going in there and having their egg-salad sandwich and a fountain Coke!
"Corporate capitalism should be abolished."\
So I imagine you are coming to this site via a mom-and-pop-manufactured computer?
R63, I used to live in the neighborhood and often had lunch there with friends who worked at the Met Museum. Had no idea it still survived. Once saw Robert Redford at the soda fountain counter.
Most people need to be slapped
Nau''s Enfield Drugstore - Austin, TX. Still operating and still serving flat-griddled hamburgers, grilled ham and cheese, etc, etc.
Main Street Soda Fountain in the old Perry Rexall Drug store has a excellent lunch counter with all the old hand crafted soda fountain recepies. It is located in Milwaukie Or. 10 minutes from Portland Or. It has the most healthy menu for lunch sandwiches that you choose the ingredients salads that would make Take Shape for Life proud the macaroonie and potatoe salad are made on site daily a great place to visit when you are in the Portland area!
My great grandfather owned a Rexall Drug Store in Mississippi, and I used to work for him in the summer when I came home from college. He had a soda fountain AND an enclosed peanut tray in his store that rotated and was also lighted and heated. He sold cashews and other types of nuts there, and actually did a big business at Christmas.
I LOVED working at his store. I grew up in the rural south and my town had less than 2 thousand people in it. I can remember a guy coming in and telling me he needed to buy some "protection." At 13 I was so naive that I tried to sell him deodorant.
I'm only 43, but for the longest time the store wasn't air conditioned because he didn't believe in it. AND get this: He was so old that he became a pharmacist through an apprenticeship. He never actually went to college. When the rules changed and required not only a college degree but also a doctorate in pharmacology, he was "grandfathered in." When he was in his early 90s, he was the only living pharmacist in Mississippi living who still fell under that exception.
Some of the best times of my childhood were spent in his store. As a young kid, I'd walk down there after school and read the comic books he sold. He let all the kids in our town do that too. No wonder he never really sold anything.
Thanks OP for reminding me of how great my childhood actually was. I'm a lucky guy.
[quote]As a young kid, I'd walk down there after school and read the comic books he sold
I remember going to the drug store, pulling comic books off the circular rack, and sitting on the floor reading them for hours. No one said a word.
Also from small town in the deep South.
YES! There was a circular comic book rack at my grandfather's store too. And a wobbly one at that.
I now live downtown in a heavily populated city, but every once in a while, I get a real hard on for the dusty paths that I used to walk as a kid. Plus, there's just nothing like the smell of a summer night in the rural south.
It was a different time and a different life.
Damn, now I'm all melancholy . . . but in a wistful, nostalgically good kind of way.
My town in the pacific northwest along puget sound, 1980s, woolworths. soda fountain, luncheon counter, candy counter, and believe it or not, a wood burning cast iron stove with chairs around it. The store sold some strange unknown brand stuff (kind of like dollar stores today). It smelled old, run by old people but nice and I have great memories of that place.
Gosh, that sounds lovely, R82. It really does. I'm still waiting for someone to say they grew up with a pickle barrel, though! As a kid, I couldn't wait to shake off the dust of my small southern town. I love the city life, sure, but I do miss certain aspects of life in a small southern town, especially as I get older.
I like this thread.
Did you have a stroke while writing that, r78?
Hey OP, here's a weird question that just came to my mind today about England. I have this obsession with tea and all things tea related, and I just bought this vintage tea pot from England and it occurred to me that I have need of a tea cozy. Is that the sort of thing you'd find like just at a shop? I mean are tea cozies just everywhere? Because here I could see buying a hand knit one on Etsy or something, but I have no idea where I would find one.
Fair Oaks Pharmacy in South Pasadena, CA
Each shake or malt contains a pint of ice cream
Nau's Drug Store in Austin still has a sofa fountain, very 50s and wonderful ice cream sodas, shakes, malts. They serve breakfast and lunch, though those aren't the same menus they had back in the 60s when I was growing up.