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Dixie Soda Fountain Co.: 1928

Dixie Soda Fountain Co.: 1928

Washington, D.C., circa 1928. "Dixie Soda Fountain Company. People's Drug Store No. 40." National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.


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Savory Weiner Roaster

The great hot dog vendor on the counter is a late 1920s or early '30s Savory Weiner Roaster (Model A) made by Savory Inc. of Newark, NJ

I have one (non-working) that I display in my soda fountain at work. My top sign is different than the wonderful globe in your picture.

I received a copy of a 1933 brochure from the manufacturer several years ago (they were still in business), which I've included here. Also, attached is image of my actual unit.

Ice Cream Shake

My folks, who were teenagers in the 1950s, called shakes with ice cream ice cream shakes, without ice cream was milkshakes.

When I was about 14 I was underweight and our doctor prescribed that I drink a regular milkshake with an egg every day. That lasted about two weeks.

[And look at you now. - Dave]

People's Drug No. 40

According to an ad in the February 5, 1928, Washington Post, Page M12, Store No. 40 was at 1 Dupont Circle.

People's Warehouse

The People's Drug Store warehouse was in the triangle formed by New York and Florida avenues and North Capitol Street N.E. That would probably explain the address on the goods. The location is now home to the headquarters of XM Satelite Radio.

Egg Cream

We don't have egg creams on the left coast here, but I remember reading about them in a story when I was a little girl. I didn't know what an egg cream was, but I thought it sounded nasty.

So why do they call them egg creams if they contain no eggs?

[Wikipedia: Egg Cream. - Dave]

Egg Cream

When I was a kid in Brooklyn an Egg Cream was favorite of mine at the local fountain/candy/cigarette store in Flatbush. As I recall it was a shot of chocolate syrup, a dash of milk followed by filling the glass with seltzer water (or maybe club soda?). I can still taste those things.

Re: "Yeasty" by mrs_djs

A MILLION thanks for that James Lileks commentary. It is great fun and will keep me from doing any work at all this afternoon. You made my day. Live long and prosper.


For 'Older than Yoda' and anyone else who could use a good laugh...

Check out the always hilarious James Lileks' commentary on an old Fleischmann's Yeast ad.


Sorry to distract from the confectionery discussion, but is that some sort of radiator running up the wall at the back of the room to the right? Never seen one like that.

Eggs and yeast

This may not be too enlightening, but I put it out there for your advisement. I did see the recipe for the egg milkshake someone posted and it may have been like an eggnog, but in the northeast, there was a very popular refreshment called an "egg cream" which had no eggs at all in it. By the fifties, they were calling this a "VP" or a "CP" which meant a vanilla plain or a chocolate plain. It was similar to the liquid in an ice cream soda but did not have any icecream at all (thus plain) and was cheap, anywhere from a nickel to a dime. When I was a tot the teenage boy next door had extremely severe acne and his mom and doctor made him drink yeast dissolved in water every day although it did not seem to help his face clear up. Maybe it was a "health thing" in the old days? Even today some people drink fermented mushroom juice and other unimaginable concoctions. I'm just sayin'...for your consideration. Wish I was there.


In 1957 I ordered a vanilla milkshake at the lunch counter at Boston's Logan Airport. What I got was shook up milk. When I complained to the waitress that there was no ice cream in it, she advised me in a rather blunt way that if I wanted a Frappe I should have ordered one!

Re: Vanilla Ice

When I was a kid, Vanilla Ice was a rapper. I think your vanilla ice was probably preferable, Jim!

Re: Stenciled Text

Good detective work on that stenciled address! Note that the box of Campfire Marshmallows has "40" marked in grease pencil. Perhaps packages were delivered to the main People's Drug for inventory control and distributed from there to the branch stores? There is some kind of paper item behind the Hygienol Picture Puffs that has People's Drug on it, but I can't make out an address.

Salt Water Taffy

Do I see a box of Fralinger's Taffy in the glass cabinet? They still are the best!

Stenciled text

My best guess:
1?08 FIRST ST NE (maybe 1608 or 1808)

Hot Doggity

After a closer look at that meat cabinet I'm starting to wonder if it's an early version of the hot dog and sausage rotisserie that lives at the local Stop-N-Rob.
When I examine the full size picture it looks to me like the hot dogs are in little racks on a roller chain and there is a nickel plated motor on the far side to drive it. Add a little electric heat and you're in business.

Ice Cream

When I was a kid way back when, milkshakes were usually made with something called a milkshake base, sort of like a vanilla ice. If you wanted real ice cream instead, you had to fork over an extra nickel.

Yeast Milkshake

I think a yeast milkshake is a malted milkshake.

My mother made egg milkshakes when we didn't have ice cream. It is basically eggnog without alcohol.

Yeast Milkshake

I love looking at the products in these pictures! The Hygienol Picture Puffs interested me, as I've seen ads for their powder puffs but can't recall ever seeing them called "picture puffs".

I can't quite wrap my head around the idea of a yeast milk shake, and I don't recommend searching for it online unless you have safe search on. Just a helpful hint.

Peoples Drug #40?

Oh Dave, how I do love the flattery.... but alas, "Peoples Drug Store No. 40" is proving elusive. How does one determine the location of one store in forty based on advertisements in the Washington Post? My cursory searches so far suggest that this riddle cannot be easily solved. I have not yet given up though. -PER

[I looked too. The ads do mention stores by number ("On sale at Store No. 7") but so far, no 40. - Dave]

[Update: There's an address stenciled on this crate but I can't quite make it out. Anyone at the NRO or NSA on lunch break? Little help please. - Dave]

Egg Milk Shake

Egg Milk Shake?!? I found references and a few recipes. Like this one.

Sold by the Inch

Check out that cool contraption from Loffler Meat Co. on the counter. It looks like sausages are wound inside on a rotisserie shelf. I wonder if they sold it a link at a time or if the sausage was one continuous piece and sold by the inch? If the sausage had no casing it wouldn’t have to be twisted into links. I love old displays like this…it looks like the globe atop is lit from within and that the cabinet is made of enameled nickel…probably weighed a ton.

Goober Pea

I'll take two of those!

My time machine better have passenger seats, because I'm bringing those soda jerks back with me!

Don't forget the ice cream!

This place certainly would be worth stopping by--all kinds of delectable treats! Not to mention the very handsome young man behind the counter--alas, I fear I was born about 80 years too late for him.

The sign for a milkshake "with ice cream" is interesting--I suppose given the name, it makes sense that milkshakes were just flavored milk at one point and not the thick concoctions they are today. Happy thought, whoever came upon the idea of adding ice cream (I'm glad the milkshake with egg didn't last though.)

Wonder what the guy crouching on the right is up to? It seems a strange position to be in, but I suppose he was just examining some of the other wares on that counter. (Or he was camera shy!)

Location location location?

Does anyone know where this was?

[I'll bet PER is out researching this right now. - Dave]

Soda Fountain

No cherry or celery phosphate. (Just egg phosphate. Sounds yucky.) A favorite treat when on an outing in San Francisco with Grandma in the late 1930s was a cherry or celery phosphate. Notice the Campfire Marshmallows. They don't taste like that any more.

Sweet Display

Campfire still is in the Marshmallow business, but now from Illinois. Whitman's candies should be in a lot more Shorpies, the brand has been out there since 1842. Half-pound Hershey and Nestle bars for only 25 cents?


What caught my eye were the ladder trucks atop the display cases. (Well, after the cases and the counter, of course.) Today those toys would be worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Steve Miller
Someplace near the crossroads of America

Soda Jerks

Wow. If you looked in the encyclopedia for "soda jerk," you would expect to see this photo. What a perfect example. It would sure be a treat to visit this soda fountain. First thing I would try is a yeast milkshake. Never had one of those.

Two peas in a pod....

These two guys behind the counter must be twins.

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