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The Incredible Banana Split   1 comment

The Dairy Queen Banana Split

The Dairy Queen Banana Split

My world was small, growing up. St Joe, Missouri (St Joseph to you strangers) was about 30 miles away, and that was the big city. We really didn’t go farther afield than that … but who would need to?

And on the way home from St Joe, there was the ultimate summer treat at the Savannah Dairy Queen: a banana split. Now that was something to get your heart thumping.

  • The plastic banana boat
  • A banana … split
  • 3 dollops of soft serve ice cream, each with the famous DQ signature swirl on top.
  • Three toppings … chocolate, pineapple and strawberry
  • Whipped cream.
  • Mmmmmmmmm.

Come to find out, the banana split is celebrating its 109th birthday this summer. My favorite ice cream treat was invented in Latrobe, PA in 1904 by a 23-year old apprentice pharmacist named David Strickler. He worked in the Tassel Pharmacy, which he later purchased and re-named Strickler’s Pharmacy. They dispensed banana splits for many years, though the business has since closed and the building destroyed (sigh).

Banana splits were 10 cents each – twice the price of a regular sundae – and proved to be very popular with students at the local Saint Vincent College.

How do we know this to be true? Because in 2004 the National Ice Cream Retailers Association certified the birth of the banana split as being in Latrobe, PA in 1904. Thank goodness we have commerce to show us the way to truth!

This summer, a Pennsylvania historic marker will be unveiled on the original site of the pharmacy. The celebration will be August 23-25, and it seems apparent that there will be a lot of banana splits served if you happen to be in the area.

Strickler's drugstore in Latrobe, Pa., in 1955 is now defunct, but it was known for serving banana splits. The ice cream creation pictured above, served at Valley Dairy, is derived from the 1904 original that's said to have been invented in Latrobe. (Strickler's photo: Harry Frye / Latrobe Art Center; banana-split photo: Valley Dairy)

Strickler’s drugstore in Latrobe, Pa., in 1955 is now defunct, but it was known for serving banana splits. The ice cream creation pictured above, served at Valley Dairy, is derived from the 1904 original that’s said to have been invented in Latrobe. (Strickler’s photo: Harry Frye / Latrobe Art Center; banana-split photo: Valley Dairy)

More

Latrobe’s Valley Dairy & The 2013 Celebration

Penn State: The Banana Split

USA Today: 100th Anniversary

LA Times: Latrobe’s Banana-Split

 

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