After Inventing The Banana Split, The 23 Yr Old “Soda Jerk” Created A “Banana Boat” Dish


National Banana Split Day recognizes the sweet ice cream treat served with a banana, whipped cream, and various toppings. Get yours on August 25th!

A banana split is an ice cream-based dessert. In its classic form, it is served in a long dish called a boat. A banana is cut in half lengthwise and laid in the dish. There are many variations, but the classic banana split is made with scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream served in a row between the split banana. In no particular order, pineapple, strawberry and chocolate sauces are spooned over the strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla ice cream. It is garnished with crushed nuts, whipped cream, and maraschino cherry.

  • A 23-year-old apprentice pharmacist at Tassel’s Pharmacy in Latrobe, Pennsylvania created the first banana split in 1904. David Evans Strickler enjoyed inventing sundaes at the store’s soda fountain. For only 10 cents, Strickler sold his first “banana-based triple ice cream sundae,” double the cost of all the other sundaes.
  • David Strickler’s hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, proudly celebrates his creation with a festival every August. In 2013, they placed an official marker at the site of the pharmacy where Strickler first made his famous banana split.
  • This ingenuity had allowed for the creation of the delicious dessert, but there was no proper way for it to be served. This prompted Strickler to elicit outside help from a glassmaker in Grapeville who created the first “banana boat” to house his masterpiece.
  • The United States Post Office honored the banana split and the town of Latrobe in 2016 with a 47-cent “forever stamp” depicting the banana split.  It was one of five stamps in the “Soda Fountain Favorites” series.
  • With 33,000 bananas, 2,500 gallons of ice cream, and 150 gallons of chocolate syrup, Selinsgrove, PA made a 4.5-mile banana split to regain a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • The popularity of the banana split is often credited to Walgreens drug stores, which are operated by Charles Rudolph Walgreens. The store promoted the banana split as their premium dessert, which caused a lot of customers to try the dessert when they may have otherwise not been interested in it.
  • In 2004 Latrobe hosted the 100th anniversary of the invention, the same year that it was certified as the birthplace of the banana split by NICRA (National Ice Cream Retailers Association).
  • It also became the home of the Great American Banana Split Celebration, a huge event with food and events for everyone to take part in.
  • Wilmington, Ohio, recently held its annual Banana Split Festival. In 2007, Wilmington marked the 100th anniversary of the banana split’s invention by one of its citizens, E.R. Hazard.  Problem is, Wilmington may have missed the banana boat by three years. Most sundae experts (yes, there are some) think that the banana split was created in 1904, about 275 miles away, by David Strickler, a pharmacy clerk in Latrobe, Penn.
  • Bananas contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan (also found in turkey) that instantly relaxes the body and improves mood, they are also high in B vitamins which helps to calm the nervous system.

Sources:

National Day Calendar

Days of the Year

Mobile-Cuisine

Tropical Foods

NPR

Pennsylvania Center for The Book

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