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Ode to the ice cream truck (or wagon)


A Summer Scene In The Streets Of New York -- The Ice-Cream Man., Digital ID 806182, New York Public LibraryOne of my favorite ways to cool down during the summer months is a visit to good old Mr. Softie. My favorite ice cream truck is usually parked on Sixth Avenue and 41st street. What I like best about this particular ice cream truck is that it's jingle-free; I suppose that's because we all know he'll be there for the day.

While enjoying my weekly ice cream I began thinking about the history of ice cream trucks. Does any one know when ice cream trucks started circulating through the city? The image above was published in 1885. Much earlier than I expected! I searched the America's Historical Newspaper database and found the earliest mention of an ice cream wagon was in 1878, oddly, in a dismal report on yellow fever in New Orleans (the chief police at the time ordered bells removed from ice cream wagons to avoid disturbing the ill). I was not able to find much published on ice cream trucks themselves but did find lots on the history of ice cream such as Chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla : a history of American ice cream, Ice cream for all and The Great American ice cream book.

Skimming through Ice cream for all I found one reference to ice cream vendors dating their presence on city streets back to the 1820's. Wow, that's almost 200 years ago! Let's celebrate by visiting our neighborhood ice cream truck.


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