The Kansas Sampler Foundation recently announced that soda fountains, as a group entry, were selected as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Customs!
In the first half of the 20th-century, most Kansas towns claimed at least one soda fountain. At the turn of the 21st-century, Kansas had about 50 soda fountains. Today, there are 38.
A few of these delightful ice cream stops date back to the 1920s and are located in their original location with the back bar, mirror, brass rail, and marble counter. Those built after 1950 have Formica counter-tops and some early models have been converted to Formica. More than 20 of these nostalgic center pieces are located in a drug store and some operate as part of a full-scale restaurant.
Purists look for soda fountains that still use the spigots and syrups but this list is a little more lenient.
Potwin Drug in Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Park in Topeka is the oldest (1902) working soda fountain. The most recently opened soda shops are found at Ray's Pharmacy in Quinter and Soda n' Suds in Canton.
Ball Brothers Drug in Atchison has a loud 1950s red-and-white tile counter while Cardinal Drug in Chanute has Coca Cola memorabilia throughout the store. Cornerstone Coffee Haus in Seneca has the only double horseshoe fountain.
An ice-cream eating, Green River drinking journey around the state would offer 38 different styles. Here's a list:
ABILENE, Bankes Drug, 304 N. Broadway. 785.263.4330. Open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Though the spigots are not working, this 1920s seven-stool soda fountain has a round mirror and 1972 Formica counter top.
ANTHONY, Irwin-Potter Drug, 203 W. Main. 620.842.5119. Open Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m. This U-shaped bar with eleven stools and Formica counter was built in 1968.
ARKANSAS CITY, Graves Drug, 212 S. Summit. 620.442.2300. Open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
ATCHISON, Ball Brothers Drug, 504 Commercial. 913.367.0332. Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. A 1950s fountain has a red-and-white tile counter.
ATCHISON, Reynolds Drug, 701 Commercial. 913.367.4113. Open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. The soda fountain has been recently renovated.
CANTON, Soda n' Suds, 116 S. Main. 620.350.8006. Open Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday 4-8 p.m. This newly-opened 1939 soda fountain has seven stools.
CHANUTE, Cardinal Drug Store,103 E. Main. 620.431.9150. Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
CHETOPA, Riggs Drug, 426 Maple. 620.236.7272. Open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
CIMARRON, Clark Pharmacy, 101 S. Main. 620.855.2242. Open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The 1920s tile-counter soda fountain has gleaming silver spigots.
COUNCIL GROVE, Aldrich Apothecary, 115 W. Main. 620.767.6731. Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-noon. A tile-and-marble counter 1920s soda fountain has six swivel stools and working chrome spigots.
GARDEN CITY, Traditions Soda & Sandwich, 121 Grant Ave. 620.275.1998. Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. A 1950s sign says three dips of ice cream was 24 cents.
GARDNER, Gardner Pharmacy, 131 E. Main. 913.856.8106. Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The owner built the back bar with mirror and marble counter but the fountain still has the original freezer, spigots, syrup rail and sinks.
GLASCO, Hodge Podge, 113 E. Main. 785.568.2542. Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-noon. This six-stool counter has a back bar and mirror – and friendly people, too!
HAMILTON, Holmes Sundry, 101 E. Main. 620.678.3341. Open Monday-Friday 6 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 6 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 7 a.m.-2 p.m. The 1920s soda fountain has a marble base, stools, original syrup pumps and water spigots.
HAYS, Soda Shoppe, 800 Main inside Northwestern Office Supply Store. 785.625.7323. Open Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. A seven-stool counter.
HERINGTON, Boelling Pharmacy, 2 W. Main. 785.258.3703. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-1 p.m. The soda fountain dates back to the 1910-1915 era with back bar, mirror, brass rail, and six stools, however, the spigots are no longer used.
HOLTON, Koger Variety, 417 New York. 785.364.4587. Open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sunday 12-4 p.m. Built in the 1920s, the fountain still has the original tile counter, five stools and mirror. Though used for an office area, you can order ice cream here.
HOWARD, Batson's Drug, 102 N. Wabash. 620.374.2265. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Rebuilt in 1953. Back bar, mirrors, 8 stools, speckled Formica top, spigots not working.
HUTCHINSON, Fraese Drug, 100 N. Main. 620.662.4477. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday 8:30-10:30 a.m. The fountain has 16 stools though the spigots are not hooked up.
INDEPENDENCE, The American Soda Fountain and Sandwich Shoppe, 205 N. Penn. 620.331.0604. Open Monday-Saturday 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Fifteen stools and a 1970s juke box!
JOHNSON, The Old Store, 112 S. Main Street. 620.492.1478. Open Monday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. This 1950s Stanley Knight soda fountain is showcased in an original 1920 oak back bar.
LEAVENWORTH, The Corner Pharmacy, 429 Delaware. 913.682.1602. Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. This Victorian era replication soda fountain has a handmade mahogany bar, faux marble countertop, and 15 swivel, bentwood mahogany fountain stools.
NORWICH, Redz, downtown. 620.478.2401. Open Tuesday-Wednesday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. The soda fountain most recently came from Sawyer.
OSKALOOSA, Parker's Pharmacy, 321 Jefferson. 785.863.2200. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Built in the 1950s, this fountain has nine stools.
OTTAWA: Allegre Pharmacy, 304 S. Main. 785.242.3092. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Though first installed in 1901, the equipment has changed. It's a grand twelve stool counter but spigots are not in use.
Pharmacy, 414 Main.
785.754.3312. Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-noon.
The back bar in this 13-stool fountain dates back to 1904 but the metal
parts to 1948. There's even a brass rail to rest your feet.
SABETHA, Sabetha Healthmart Pharmacy, 934 Main. 785.284.3414. Open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m-1 p.m
SENECA, Cornerstone Coffee Haus, 5th and Main. 785.294.0924. Open Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-5 p.m; Friday-Saturday 7 a.m.-10 p.m. This is the only 1950s double horseshoe counter in the state!
SENECA, Rogers & Son Electric, Inc., 418 Main. 785.336.6505. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
TOPEKA, Potwin Drug Store (within Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site), 124 NW Fillmore. 785.368.3888. Open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 12-4 p.m. Built in 1902, this rich-looking soda fountain has a dark green marble top and mirror.
WAKEENEY, Gibson Health Mart, N. Main. 785.743.5753. Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. It's a nine stool counter.
WESTMORELAND, Hoffman Pharmacy, 402 Main. 785.457.3611. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m-12 p.m. An original 1950s style Formica countertop, the fountain has swivel stools and authentic booths.
WICHITA, Jimmie's Diner, 3111 N. Rock Road. 316.636.1818. Open Monday-Thursday 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Sunday 5:30 a.m.-midnight. A classic 1950s diner.
WICHITA, Old Mill Tasty Shop, 604 E. Douglas. 316.264.6500. Open Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Built in the late 1920s, this twenty-five foot marble counter with eleven stools, a wooden back bar, and brass foot rails is a dandy.
A steady stream of customers will be incentive to keep these soda fountains churning out the good times!