Two Rivers reiterates claim to frosty treat
Associated Press and the Herald Times Reporter
— Aside from an occasional battle over who'll get
the cherry, ice cream sundaes aren't usually in the
middle of fights.
are feuding over the origins of the popular dessert.
Ithacans have long believed that drugstore owner
Chester Platt served up the first sundae — a
concoction of vanilla ice cream, cherry syrup and a
candied cherry — in 1892. But a confectionary
controversy arose when the Ithaca/Tompkins County
Convention and Visitors' Bureau began to research
the various claims for an upcoming promotion.
While calling other cities that believe they are the
cradle of the sundae, the bureau stirred up Two
Rivers. Officials there insist the sundae was really
born in Two Rivers in 1881, when Edward Berners
served a sundae with chocolate sauce and ice cream
at a customer's request.
A newspaper ad from the Ithaca Daily Journal in 1892
backs up the central
New York city's
claim. The only evidence of Two Rivers' claim comes
from writer H.L. Mencken. But sundae expert Michael
Turback, author of the book "A Month of Sundaes,"
said Mencken admitted fabricating the story of
Berners' chocolate sundae.
On Monday, Two Rivers officials told
to stop claiming it is the sundae's birthplace. At
Two Rivers' annual "Sundae Thursday" on Thursday
night, attendees sang the "Sundae Fight Song," a new
tune promoting the city's claim. Officials said
they'll send a DVD of the song to Ithaca Mayor
Officials on both sides said it isn't clear yet how
the "sundae war" will play out.
Two Rivers City Manager Greg Buckley said it's OK if
wants to be known as the first city with a newspaper
advertisement documenting the ice cream sundae. As
for claiming to be the birthplace of the frozen
confection, Buckley says Two Rivers isn't budging.
"This is a matter of municipal pride," Buckley says.
A third city also claims to be home of the ice cream
then known as "Chicago's Heaven" or "Heavenston,"
was a very strict religious town. The story goes
that in the 1890s, the city had laws prohibiting the
sale of soda water on Sunday, and they began selling
ice cream sodas without the soda. That only left ice
cream and syrup, and it came to be known as the ice
HTR staff writer Nkauj Vang contributed to this
Sundae Thursday volunteers, from left, Anne Obie,
Louie Schultz and LeRoy Borths, all of Two Rivers,
scoop up vanilla ice cream for sundaes Thursday
during the annual event in downtown Two Rivers.