Ice Cream Parlor & Soda Shop Antiques

Antique Soda Fountain found at the Bryant House in Weston, Vermont. Photo from roadfood.com

As a young kid, I remember going to the Olde Soda Shop in Lewisport Kentucky with my Uncle Jim. He was my father’s youngest brother, yet only four years older than me. The town of Lewisport had a population of about 500 back then, and everyone, including the adults, seemed to congregate at this shop on the weekends. It was the most popular place in town for feasting on delicious homemade ice cream and sundaes.

Little did I know back then that almost everything in the store would become a real treasure in a few year’s time. One of the biggest tragedies to this little town was when the government closed the ice cream shop stating sanitary reasons. Most people thought that the real reason was because the larger company making ice cream in the city couldn’t compete in quality with the homemade kind being made in Lewisport. I have to agree with this assessment.

Let’s take a look at some values of the items found in the Olde Soda Shop, like the ice cream scoop. The Gilchrist No. 34 Banana Split scoop was recently listed at $675.00. There are many that will bring even more than this, and if you’ve ever had a dip of homemade ice cream served from one of these, you’ll say it is worth every penny of that price. How about soda dispensers? Most of these were also advertising pieces of what they dispensed, like Hires Munimaker Syrup. Today, that dispenser would cost you $6,500. Today, a Scott’s Root Beer Barrel shape dispenser can be yours for the small sum of $4,500. These dispensers were in all kinds of soda shops, and you might find one at your next garage sale.

Advertising was what really caught your eye when you entered the shop in Lewisport. Coke Cola, Green River, Cherry Smash, Root Beer, and Grape Crush were just a few of the dispensers that you might see on the other side of the counter. Almost all of these dispensers today will bring over $500 and several will sell in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. Not to be out done are the tin and cardboard signs that were sitting everywhere. This made it virtually impossible not to order something, and if you find one of these, their value will compare with the soda dispensers.

When I close my eyes, I can still catch the aroma of fresh fruit, candy, peanuts and chewing gum that filled the air. And there were dispensers and jars in which these items were contained, too. What stories these shops could share if they still existed today.

Ice Cream Parlor tables and chairs, stools, and benches will still bring a pretty penny today. Who says the old days weren’t worthwhile? Be sure to keep these in mind when you are on your search for treasures from yesteryear.

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No Comments

  1. Norman Neal says:

    I am looking for an original pump for a Cherry Smash Syrup Dispenser.

  2. Norman Neal says:

    I am looking for a pump for a Cherry Smash Dispenser.