Children's History Corner ...The history behind Sparta's sweet tooth

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:00

    Once there was a very popular place for children of Sparta to buy ice cream cones. That place was Sadie’s on Main Street, near Glen Road. When great-grandparents were young, it was their favorite spot for a special treat. They may not have hopped into the family car to get there back then, but may have walked or taken a horse and buggy ride, instead. Ask longtime residents of Sparta where the best place to buy ice cream used to be, and most would say Sadie’s. Catherine Morris, a 94-year-old resident who moved to Sparta in 1919 at age eight, remembers when her principal, Mr. Harvey S. Miller, and the teachers would give students such a treat on the last day of school. Unknown to the children, Mr. Miller would send a few boys to Sadie’s. Then he and the teachers walked all the students to the Glen. Although more than 80 years have passed since that warm summer day little Catherine sat with her classmates at the Glen, she recalls, as if it were yesterday, the excitement of seeing the boys parading up to them with metal pails just brimming over with ice cream. On her own trips to Sadie’s, she remembers her favorite cone, piled high with scoops of fresh chocolate ice cream. Ice cream cones became popular in 1904 at the St. Louis, Missouri World’s Fair. Many people claimed to be the inventor of the ice cream cone, and Italo Marchiony actually got a patent for his cone in 1903, but it was Ernest Hamwi who was most noted for inventing the cone. At the Fair, he sold waffles called “zalabia,” while the stand next to him sold ice cream in bowls. When that stand ran out of bowls, Hamwi folded his waffles into cone shapes, and put ice cream into them. It was an instant hit. He charged about five cents. Others followed, but Hamwi was king of ice cream cones at the Fair. Today, when 8-year-old Sparta resident Michael Puccio was asked recently where he likes to buy an ice cream cone, he shouted, “the Dairy Queen.” The local Sparta Dairy Queen is celebrating with the Sparta Historical Society the publication of its first article in the new Children’s History Corner by giving one free soft ice cream cone to the first 25 children bringing in a clipping of this article published in the Sparta Independent newspaper. Marjorie L. Strohsahl, Co-founder and Vice President of the Sparta Historical Society, may be reached at (973) 729-5153.