The banana split is a classic dessert that millions of Americans have been enjoying for over a century. The question of who invented it is a subject of debate. Two towns claim that their residents created the delicious treat around the same time.
In the early 20th century, soda fountains competed with each other to produce the best desserts and attract the most customers. That competitive nature led workers at pharmacies to experiment with different types of ice cream and toppings to create treats that would draw in crowds.
In the summer of 1904, David Strickler, a druggist apprentice who worked at Tassell Pharmacy in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, split a banana lengthwise, put the halves in a dish, added three scoops of ice cream, and topped it with marshmallows, pineapple, nuts, syrups, and cherries. He called his invention a “banana split sundae.” Stickler designed long, narrow “banana boat” dishes to serve his banana splits. They quickly caught on with local college students.
The town of Latrobe is proud of its reputation as the birthplace of the banana split and held a 100th anniversary celebration in 2004. Banners downtown and the local Elks Club pins feature pictures of banana splits.
Residents of Wilmington, Ohio claim that their town is the actual birthplace of the banana split. On a winter day in 1907 when business was slow, Ernest R. Hazard, owner of The Café, held a contest in which he and his employees created new desserts to appeal to young people. Hazard’s recipe included a sliced banana, three scoops of ice cream, chocolate syrup, strawberry jam, pineapple, nuts, whipped cream and cherries. He called it a “banana split.” A Banana Split Festival has been held every June since 1995 to honor Hazard and his invention.
The two towns have agreed to disagree about who invented the banana split first. You can get delicious ice cream today at your local Praline’s. Bring your family and try some of our freshly made ice cream and dozens of toppings. We also have seasonal flavors available for the holidays. Come to Praline’s today.