Soda fountains were very competitive in the early 1900’s. They were always trying to outdo each other, to see who had the most elaborate sundaes. The employees (also known as soda jerks) were seen by the public as masters of their craft. The soda jerk’s duties entailed making ice cream and mixing soda drinks.
David Strickler, a.k.a. Doc Strickler, has been crowned the king of the banana split dessert by Pennsylvanians and Americans alike. Strickler was attending the University of Pittsburgh at the time. Thirty miles from Pittsburgh, Strickler worked as a soda jerk for Tassell Pharmacy at 805 Ligonier Street in Latrobe. During this time, pharmacies also had soda fountains which served floats, sundaes, and different varieties of ice cream.
One day in 1904, a college student entered Tassell Pharmacy and asked Strickler for something “different.” This twenty three year old entrepreneur had many possible ingredients in front of him; all he had to do was put his imagination to work. Voila! The Banana Split was born! David Strickler continued to work at Tassell Pharmacy for many years. After mastering life as a soda jerk, he eventually bought the Pharmacy. Upon taking ownership, the location was renamed Strickler’s Pharmacy.