Wow ~ Eye-catching decor, inviting smiles and public eateries make for some great images, and for some great history, too. The chrome and ceramic tile, and strong colors of the 50s have remained hallmarks of the public food-counter to this day, but "soda-fountains" are a thing of the past.
Sometimes, the story behind the soda fountain turns a fun photograph into a significant historical artifact. This picture of "Greenwald's Soda Fountain," taken in the 1930s, was in the Western History photo collection, filed with "Soda fountains," and the title was written on the back. It was chosen for digitization because of its strong visual impact, and because it had at least a shred of evidence, in having a title.
Fully ten years after being made available online, the image was found by the Archivist for the Mattel Toy Company, who contacted us through the "comments" feature on the record in our Digital Collections.
Here is Mr. Morey's comment:
..."Founder of Mattel Toy Company – Ruth Handler - grew up in Denver, lived with her sister and brother-in-law (Sarah and Louie Greenwald) and worked in the Greenwald Soda Fountain during her high school years in the 1930s. In examining this photo from your digital collection, I can confirm with 100% certainty that Ruth Handler is the middle person (3rd from the right) in the photo. Because of her notoriety as the woman founder of the largest toy company in the world, you may want to add this information to the tag lines of this photo for the benefit of future researchers. This is a very rare photo for that and other reasons." [Bill Morey - Archivist / Records Director, Mattel Toy Company]."
THIS is the kind of crowd-sourced magic that can happen in the digital universe. This photo went from being a stock image to being a crucial piece of the puzzle in the life of a noted Coloradan, all through collaboration in the virtual world. The appropriate information has been added to the metadata for the image, and to the historical record.
"Wow Photo Wednesday" celebrates photographs in the Denver Public Library's Digital Collections that have "The Wow Factor" and that highlight the myriad delightful nuggets in our database.
That is definitely a WOW crowd-source moment! Amazing!
Thanks, Craig - yes, it's happening more and more now!
Wonderful photos and stories Randel. I grew up enjoying soda fountains in the 50's and 60's. My favorite drink, in a cone shaped paper cup, was a "chocolate cherry phosphate" served in a heavy cone holder.
My understanding is that drug stores had soda fountains to make the medicine of the time palatable.
That's pretty amazing. You never know who may be waiting to be discovered in these photos. I guess they all had to start somewhere. Maybe a young Douglas Fairbanks is out there somewhere as well... at a soda fountain nonetheless! :O
The Dutch Mill employees don't look too happy about their outfits. But maybe that's just me. Maybe they'll chime in too about them. :)