Thursday, October 14, 2010

Soda Fountain

An important part of many diners was the Soda Fountain. At the Soda Fountain, soft drinks were mixed up right on the spot from carbonated water and flavoring syrup. A variety of ice cream treats was also available at the bar. The picture above was taken in 1942, and the man making the banana splits was a veteran of World War I.

When I was growing up, Drug Stores were typically small mom and pop type shops. They would have a small pharmacy in the corner, where you could pick up medicines. They then had a soda fountain serving beverages and ice cream, and also had a diner for full meals.

I think we have really lost something having most all of the drug stores, and virtually all retail outlets for that matter, go to the big box stores.


  1. Up here in North Dakota they have a law that says all Pharmacies have to be locally or employee owned.
    So no big box stores for the drug stores.
    Hence no discounted medicines like Wal-Mart has.

    I think we are the only State in this great United States of America that has that law.

    GOD BLESS THE UNITES STATES OF AMERICA. Where we can have strange laws like that

  2. Anyone been to the soda fountain across the street from the train depot in Rosenburg, Texas? Even when I was a kid, I never knew what a (insert flavor) phosphate tasted like. Not bad, as it turns out, but it's something that needs to stand alone because it doesn't taste that great with, say, ice cream.

    Someone said there was one in the SAS factory in San Antonio, but I didn't see it.

    Any others still in existence around the world of OPOD readers?

  3. There's Zaharako's in Columbus Indiana. It's been around since 1900. I would have provided a link but there were too many to choose from. Just google the name to have a look inside.

  4. Not far from my home (just south of Dallas TX) is the Ben Franklin Apothecary, Soda Fountain, et al . . . a nice little trip back in time when I visit here . . .

  5. I definitely agree with you, PJM, that those big box store type drug stores are lacking. Imagine a place where your pharmacist actually has to deal with pharmacy that is more than dispensing pre-made medicines!

  6. PJM:

    This photo and your comments remind me of Dana Andrews' character, "Fred Derry," in the great 1946 film "THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES."

    If you haven't seen it, you should.

  7. I agree with Roger and the other comments lamenting the demise of the corner drugstore.

    Here in Rhode Island, we used to have family-owned neighborhood pharmacies on every corner. Now they have been replaced by the chain stores CVS, Walgreens, Target, and Wal-Mart.

    Actually, one of the biggest national pharmacy chains, CVS/Caremark, is a Rhode Island company, with headquarters in Woonsocket, RI.

    CVS was founded in 1963 by Sid and Stanley Goldstein and Ralph Hoagland as a small discount health and beauty aids store in Lowell, Mass. The name “CVS” stood for “Consumer Value Stores. By 1968, the original owners had expanded the chain into 40 area stores and had added pharmacies. I remember when the first CVS store opened at the Midland Mall in Warwick, RI in 1967.

    In 1969, CVS (along with several other retail clothing chains) were acquired by the Melville Corporation, which founded the Thom McCann shoe store chain. The Melville Company was reorganized (with many of the other retail stores sold off) and renamed CVS Corporation in the early 1990s. Since then, their acquisitions have mostly been in the drugstore industry.

    Today CVS operates over 7,000 stores in 43 states and employs 200,000 people. The CEO is a bizillionaire.

    On another note, we have a local, family-owned pharmacy operating in my city right across the street from both a Walgreens AND a CVS - “Phred’s Drug.” Founded and run by the Rossi family, it’s been in business for 55 years. When both CVS and Walgreens developed their sites across the street, they offered to buy the Rossi family out, but they REFUSED. They are still operating today, and their parking lot is always jammed - they offer groceries, liquor, they know their customer’s names; AND they deliver the prescriptions to your home. free of charge.

    Their customers remain loyal.

    And . . . . CVS was just fined $75 million for failing to control the purchase of pseudoephedrine (a controlled decongestant which is used to manufacture meth) in several states.

  8. Someone will always find a way to turn over the counter items into something dangerous. I hear from fellow model builders in England they cannot buy rubbing alcohol. Why? Because some folks decided to drink it. Meth or whatever I say let them abuse it and let natural selection take its course.

    Today's picture reminds me of the corner diner run by my friend's uncle when I was a kid. Big red Coke Cola freezer filled with ice, old tile floor, green and chrome counter stools, comic books (12 cents back then) and National Enquirers near the huge metal cash register. Think Louie's Sweetshop.

  9. A few years ago I worked at a soda fountain in a drug store that looked just like the one in the picture. Many, many years ago I worked at one in the basement of a dorm at Cottey College - I wonder if it is still there. Before I was born my dad worked his way through Purdue (University) working at a soda fountain. We were called 'Soda Jerks'.

  10. This is not politically correct, but so what?

    I certainly agree with Anonymous at 3:28 PM about letting natural selection take its course.

    Let the gene pool be cleansed!

  11. Roger, God Bless North Dakota, who made the law. States have the right to govern themselves in some ways at least.

  12. Over here the pharmacy ('chemist')is the poor man's clinic. Many times I've stood at the pharmacy counter and heard a villager say something like, "I've got a stomach ache" and receive a pill or two cut off a strip. Now THAT'S affordable medicine, when you can buy it by the pill.

    By the way, we can't buy rubbing alcohol over here either, probably for the same reason.
    --BangalOREegon Gal

  13. I also strongly agree with Anon and Joe in NC re "natural selection" and "political correctness."

    People need to be responsible for their actions.

    And we just had a big discussion about the ridiculous extremes to which this PC business has gone.

    Enough - my 20-year old daughter said it's all because people want everything "their way" and they can't stand to hear things they "don't like."

    Here in RI, there is a question on the ballot in the upcoming election to change the state's name from "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" to "Rhode Island" because some "minorities" find the word "Plantation" offensive.

    How ridiculous. The state was named before the Revolution, and "Providence Plantations" merely means "God's Lands."

    There was no slavery in the state at that time, and practicing revisionist history isn't going to make people take responsibility for themselves and improve their lives.

    They have to do that for themselves.

    If they're "offended," then they should move elsewhere.

    That's like my family being offended by "The Godfather" or "Jersey Shore" because were Italian-American.

    How ridiculous. I have better things to do and don't have a self-image problem.


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