Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Soda Fountain Minus the Drugstore- Table /Chair Series I



I think you will agree that most of the drugstores, with the wonderful old soda fountains, are a dying breed.  Around here the family owned drugstores shed their fountains years ago and have now sold out to the big chains.  Well this is one for the books....Gilchrist Drugs in Mountain Brook Village.  Gilchrist has been in the same spot for 82 YEARS!!!  The drugstore is long gone, there's not a sign of an aspirin or a band-aid,  but the soda fountain remains and does a booming breakfast and lunch business.  And at about 3:05 every weekday, the school crowd takes over.  Sandwiches, hot dogs, salad plates and even tomato aspic top the menu.  Real shakes and malts are mixed up before your eyes, but the hand squeezed limeades are what they are famous for.  I had lunch at the counter just yesterday. Friendliest staff you'll ever want to meet.  Looks like Gilchrist will be around for another 82!



27 comments:

Maya said...

Oh, this takes me back! There was a drugstore downtown in Flagstaff that my friend and I used to walk to and have banana splits. They had balloons that you could pop with the price you would pay in them. Some were as low as one cent! That place is long gone now. *sigh*

Olivier said...

superbe première photo, qui est une invitation a venir s'assoir.
first superb photograph, which is an invitation has come to assoir.

alice said...

So typical to a French eye... Love the story about the balloonstold by Maya!

Julie said...

Sorry, Virginia ... ummm ... what is a soda fountain?

valeria said...

...I must admit I don't know what a soda fountain is...!
Lovely photos and writings, Virginia, but please, enlighten me!

Saretta said...

Mmmm, I could use a milkshake right about now!

Bibi said...

The b/w shot reminds me of Collins' drugstore in my hometown; long-gone. My mother and I used to go there after my Girl Scouts meetings and have a hot fudge sundae.

Dusty Lens said...

Really a shame to see the big box mega-marts take over every part of business. Glad Gilchrist found their nice in this world.

Virginia said...

Julie and Valeria,
A soda fountain is a place where sandwiches and mainly ice cream delights are sold. They usually always have a counter like the one shown and maybe booths or tables. Their specialties are milkshakes, malts, sodas etc , thus the name soda fountain! Older drugstores usually had a soda fountain as well. What's unusual about Gilchrist is that the drugstore is gone but the soda fountain is still going strong.

Jacob said...

I'm gonna have to visit that place! I've always loved soda fountains, probably because I grew up with them!

This store looks well kept and is very attractive.

Eeyore said...

There's still a family owned drugstore with a soda fountain/lunch counter here in Columbiana, Al. It's Davis Drugs, and I really don't know how they survive with a CVS less than a mile away and more on the beaten path, but they do. I guess it's the old timers (not all old) who grew up here and who go there for breakfast or lunch. I'm new to the small town, and I've eaten there a few times, but the chain is still easier to get to. Oh well, fading pieces of Americana. I hope they hang on for a lot more years. Columbiana is trying to pretend it's stuck in the sixties, but how long will that last?

Eeyore said...

Or maybe they're trying to stay stuck in the forties or fifties, because I'm not sure hippies would be well received.

Virginia said...

Eeyore,
We had friends and distant relatives in Columbiana. Haven't been there since I was young. It's a quaint old southern town for sure. Hope Davis Drugs can hang on too!

I'm surprised I haven't had a lot of folks asking what in the heck tomato aspic is! ha

altadenahiker said...

What the heck is tomato aspic?

James said...

Thanks Virginia. I'll always go out of my way to go to places like that.

Virginia said...

AH,
Tomato Jello, sort of! It's a southern thing, you probably wouldn't understand-HA!

Halcyon said...

I love a good soda fountain! The town where my gran lives in Texas still has one in the old drugstore. But you're right - they're dying out.

Thérèse said...

These kind of places are long gone over here. Too bad.
Diversity even in the chairs'style.

Julie said...

I had visions of a big machine thing that you pressed buttons for different sort of lemonades. But I gather it is a concept rather than an actual fountain.

altadenahiker said...

I've wondered about that -- why fountain?

So virg, I love tomatoes. Is this any good? I imagine it's held together with gelatin? Are bits of tomatoes held in suspension, or is it a puree concoction?

FireLight said...

I recognized this right away. I used to take my boys there....and to Brody's, which I know it is still nearby, but it is not the same as is was at the Point. Of course we have Toomer's still making lemonade! Great topic.

Virginia said...

FireLight,
When I make my pilgrimage to God's Country aka Auburn, Al we will have to document Toomer's Corner for the blog world as well as other AU sites of course.

AH,
Maybe I can send a recipe for ya. It's like tomato puree in gelatin. I like mine best with chopped celery and olives "suspended" in it. It's like something you either love or hate from the get go.

Julie,
Now I see, the fountain thing threw you!! I think fountain came from those dispensers that has the Coke etc. We called them fountain Cokes back then. Maybe the syrup and fizzy water was mixed somehow. Help me out here folks. Who can answer this????

marley said...

What a gem of a place and I've learnt something new - never heard of a soda fountain until today!

Have a limeade for me (is it really sharp and refreshing?) Shlurp!

Lori Skoog said...

Virginia...I did not realize that so many people have never heard of a soda fountain. I would sure like to visit this one.

Babooshka said...

Do they have any Isle of Man connections being a very Manx name? I'm sinking into American cinema and literature of a certain era with these images. Very evocative. Soda fountains I know by name and sight on film and page, not in the flesh. Soda Pop for me the Outsiders. My blog is one year today. I've done a general thank you but watch out for a shameless plug your way in the coming week. You have been one of my all time best finds.

Katie said...

Ah delightful photos. There are a few soda fountains in my area - now I'm hankering for a chocolate shake in one of those metal containers. Or an ice cream sundae. Mmmm.

Blognote said...

That looks very inviting!! I especially like the photo of the chairs, Virginia!!