by David Cardillo, DDNP Staff
June 20th is National Vanilla Milkshake Day. The Middletown Transcript of November 2, 1918 had an article about the purchase of a barroom by the YMCA that was converted to…a soda fountain. And one of the most popular items on the menu of a soda fountain would be a milkshake. Especially vanilla milkshakes.
Curiously, the barroom in question in the article was in Paris, France. Dovetailing with the temperance movement, followed by Prohibition in 1920, barrooms were converted to soda fountains as in the story in the article. Arthur Taylor, the gentleman who purchased the property on behalf of the YMCA and turned it into a soda fountain, was quoted as saying, “I figured it out that half the attraction of a bar is the sociability of drinking slowly and gossiping while you do it.”
Four years later, the Newark Post of June 7, 1922 reported nearly $1 billion in the soda fountain industry, and while sodas were popular, ice cream and ice cream products, such as milkshakes, were the most popular menu items ordered.
Nowadays, soda fountains as such are disappearing; but the menu items of milkshakes and ice cream sodas can still be found at many restaurants.