Old Time Fountains Still Serving Sodas Around Iowa

May 14, 2015

Jane Sutter Brandt remembers when her grandfather’s soda fountain in Burlington was still serving pineapple and cottage cheese for 15 cents and a tuna sandwich for a dime. She writes about the family’s business in her new memoir Sutter’s Sodas Satisfy: a Memoir of 90 Years of Sutter Drug Company.

“Sutter drug stores were known for their sodas but also for the fitting of trusses, like a girdle for men. Back then, there was no hernia surgery, so my grandfather was known for fitting these. There was a room called the truss room,” she reminisces.

During this Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Sutter Brandt about her memoir.

Ross Blount, from Allerton, Iowa, also joins the conversation along with Annie VanHouten. Blount is president of a non-profit that now owns a vintage soda fountain, and VanHouten is the current owner of George Jay Drug Company and Hallmark Shoppe also joins the conversation, which has been in business since 1888.  

A 2014 high school volleyball photo, taken at Allerton's Old Time Soda Fountain, now a venue for community events
Credit Photo Courtesy of Allerton's Old Time Soda Fountain

Blount and a group of community members formed their non-profit to save the town’s soda fountain when the pharmacy that housed it closed. He says it’s been a nice “hometown project.”

“We have an active alumni group, and we wanted to save it. The main thing was to preserve and make it available for a community center for special occasions. Let’s just say it’s a masterpiece in progress here.”