Why do we so fondly remember David Evans Strickler, Apprentice Pharmacist at Tassel Pharmacy in Latrobe, Pennsylvania? Without this enterprising young man, we wouldn’t be celebrating


Strickler enjoyed creating ice cream sundaes at the pharmacy’s busy soda fountain, not exactly setting himself up for the Pharmacist Hall of Fame, but he had a huge following and his boss didn’t mind the sound of a ringing cash register all that much.

Old Man Tassel knew the world had no shortage of able pharmacists, but a dearth of ice cream artists.

David Strickler was a true ice cream genius, and Tassel recognized greatness when he saw it, giving him free reign to invent new and exotic sundaes for his appreciative customers. He also couldn’t help but notice that the patrons of David’s soda fountain were much healthier and happier than the patients of his pharmacy’s pills and potions.

Imagine his joy on August 25, 1904, when he witnessed the creation of the first banana split, served in a glass boat with a split banana framing mounds of ice cream, nuts, fruits, syrups and whipped cream, topped off with a Maraschino cherry, Strickler’s signature. David’s banana splits sold for a dime, double the going rate for sundaes, and they caught on instantly.

Latrobe, Pennsylvania is still not famous for anything else but The Birthplace of The Banana Split, but that’s more than enough to deserve town immortality, one would think. Has Kitty Hawk, North Carolina done a damned thing since Orville and Wilbur Wright dropped by in 1903, other than still being there?

There’s only one way to celebrate today. Do it for David Strickler, do it for Old Man Tassel, do it most of all for you. Dig in.

•Suggested activities: You have to ask?

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