If you ever get Ithaca, New York and Two Rivers, Wisconsin and Evanston, Illinois in the same room together, you’ll have to dodge scoops of ice cream, hot fudge, caramel and Maraschino Cherries. Apparently, there is a food fight going on between the three as to which town is the birthplace of the ice cream sundae.
Ithaca (my current location) makes a strong case that would make Perry Mason proud. They have letters, ledgers and newspaper clippings. They even wrote a song taunting Two Rivers’ claim. However, their ice cream story dates to 1892, so there aren’t any surviving witnesses.
As the story goes, a Reverend John M. Scott visited the Platt & Colt Pharmacy on April 3, 1892. Chester Platt served the good reverend vanilla ice cream topped with cherry syrup and a candied cherry. The reverend and Platt decided to name the dish after the day on which it was created — Sunday.
Of course, my investigation would not be complete without sampling the evidence. I headed over to Ithaca’s oldest ice cream shop, Purity Ice Cream. I can hereby attest that the Ithaca sundae I tasted makes a compelling argument to substantiate Ithaca’s claim. Two Rivers and Evanston will need to be on top of their sundae-making game when I visit later this summer.