Who on earth would think drinking soda on the Sabbath was a sin? If you lived in Evanston, Illinois in the 1890s, the town council, that’s who. Evanston is the third town claiming to be the birthplace of the ice cream sundae. The first two being Ithaca, NY and Two Rivers, WI.
To skirt the town’s blue laws forbidding the sale of soda on Sunday (hence, ice cream sodas), the ice cream sundae was created. Evanston can’t point to one particular incident or individual, but they’ve got their heels dug in on the claim.
While Evanston appears to have the oldest claim, they celebrate it with much less fanfare than Ithaca and Two Rivers. I couldn’t find any markers, historical references, museums, etc.
I could, however, find an ice cream shop with a wonderful selection of sundaes. Hartigan’s Ice Cream Shoppe appears to have taken Evanston’s claim to heart. I have never seen so many sundae selections. In a case of “my eyes were too big for my stomach,” I ordered the “Terry Bets “U”Can’t” which consists of five scoops of ice cream plus toppings. Let’s just say Terry won the bet.