The History of the Ice Cream Sundae

During summer many of us will be enjoying cool, sweet treats like ice cream sundaes. But did you ever wonder who created the first ice cream sundae? Several different towns claim the honor, but Ithaca, New York seems to have the best documentation to call itself the home of the ice cream sundae.

The story is that Reverend John Scott walked into the Platt and Colt Pharmacy in Ithaca after Sunday services on April 3, 1892. The shop’s owner, Chester Platt, decided instead of serving the minister plain vanilla ice cream, he would ask his fountain clerk to top it with cherry syrup and a candy cherry. His new creation tasted so good that the minister declared that it should be named for the day on which it was created. That is how the Cherry Sunday got its name. The name would be altered somewhat later—apparently some people thought it was inappropriate to name a decadent treat after the Sabbath—so it was eventually spelled sundae.

Ithaca high school students found documentation that proves Ithaca to be the home of the ice cream sundae. The Platt and Colt Ledger Books prove that Platt had the necessary ingredients in his store to create the sundae in the 1890s. In addition, a newspaper ad in the Ithaca Daily Journal dated April 5, 1892 advertised the Cherry Sunday. A few days later, the newspaper announced that the new creation was becoming very popular with the townspeople. Although other towns have claimed the title as the birthplace of the ice cream sundae, they do not have the same supporting documents that Ithaca, New York possesses.

 

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