Gone are the days when soda jerks poured sodas and made ice cream floats behind the bars of their fountains at corner drug stores. However, anyone interested in seeing a soda fountain which was used for decades on Jackson Street is invited to attend the Grand River Historical Society's Museum on Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m., for an open house.
The 16-foot long soda fountain (complete with eight stools) was originally used in Horn's Drug Store, which later became Miller's Drug Store. It was used for the last time at the Strand Hotel and is one of several new displays at the museum. Richard Smith, former owner of the Strand Hotel, donated the local artifact to the museum this year and guessed Wednesday that the fountain is at least 80 years old, if not older. "I bought it from Mr. (Jesse) Miller in the late 1970s and I decided to put it downstairs in the hotel for the kids to use after school," Smith said. He added that the fountain was used at the hotel from 1979 to 1981 alongside a pinball machine, and other games for children. Smith said that at that time, Miller worked at the hotels front desk and on Friday evenings, he often volunteered to man the fountain downstairs. "He (Miller) enjoyed the soda fountain, I think, and he had positive, upbeat way with the kids, too," Smith said.
The museum also boasts two new displays courtesy of former Chillicothean Billie Post. Museum curator Dr. Jack Neal and historical society president Dr. Frank Stark reported that Post, a 1941 Chillicothe High School graduate, had an extensive collection of model cars, airplanes and ships which have been donated to the museum. Each model car is labeled with information on the vehicles. For instance, the model of a 1941 Lincoln Continental Convertible comes with a label stating that the cost of the life-sized version was $1,858, it's weight was 3,840 pounds and 725 of them were made.