Friday Flashback #201

Years from now, kids growing up in Westport today will look back with love on Saugatuck Sweets.

The Riverside Avenue hangout has it all: great ice cream, and plenty of other sweet treats. An inviting, we-want-you-here vibe. A plaza right on the river, with music and other entertainment. It’s a special go-to place for kids (of all ages).

Decades ago, the Ice Cream Parlor played a similar role. Pretending (in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s) to be an “old-fashioned” ice cream shop, it was known for sundaes, a “pig’s trough” (if you finished it all, you didn’t have to pay), and penny candy like dots you licked off wax paper (seriously?).

It was a family spot, somewhere to go after the movies, definitely a date destination.

The pink Ice Cream Parlor on the Post Road, painted by Gabrielle Dearborn. It’s now a non-pink office building.

The Ice Cream Parlor had 3 incarnations. It started on Main Street, on the first floor of the building The Brownstone recently vacated (next to what’s now Savvy + Grace and the former Tavern on Main restaurant — back then, Chez Pierre).

The Ice Cream Parlor moved to the north end of Compo Shopping Center (now Cohen’s Fashion Optical). The final spot was on the Post Road just east of Colonial Green; it’s now a real estate office, opposite Quality Towing & Auto Repair.

In 1955, Seventeen Magazine used the first location for a photo shoot. I’m not sure what the story was. But these images — sent along by Brenda Pool — are either very iconic, or very ironic.

(Photos/Dennis Warsaw)

16 responses to “Friday Flashback #201

  1. What memories

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. I used to go to the ice cream parlor on dates in the 70’s. We all loved it.
    They also had machines one could look at old 3D postcards. The ice cream was delicious and the candies terrific. Eventualy they had a room downstairs
    with some sort of entertainment as well. Fond memories. It would be wonderful to replicate!!!

  3. Love their delicious ice cream and sweet staff!
    The penny candy reminds me of being little and simpler times. The coconut and coffee ice cream is the absolute best. Can never chose so I get both.

    • Mary Schmerker

      When I see a comment from you I always remember my Friend Julie Cook who married another friend, Tom Cahill. Any chance you are related? Julie lived on South Compo and after Bedford Jr. High went to St Agnus ( I think that was the school) in Stamford. Tom lived off Clinton Ave. on Fillow Street. Just curious. All great memories from the late 1950’s to go with the Ice Cream Parlor.

  4. Mary Schmerker

    Of course you could buy penny candy and lick the dots off a piece of paper. You could also buy candy cigarettes, white sugar with a red tip.
    Oh wait, perhaps the candy cigarettes were from Bill’s smoke shop.
    Great memories. Thanks.

  5. Emily Mikesell

    The Ice Cream Parlor! Loved that place. Were there machines showing “silent movies”, really like glorified flip books? For the price of a fancy gumball? I’m talking mid-‘70s. But am maybe confusing it with the also beloved, more exotic ( all the way in West Redding!) Country Emporium. It was always hard to choose between a Dillyburger and pancakes…
    Anyway, both places had excellent penny candy.
    And I miss them both! Thanks for the reminder.:)

  6. Eugenie Schomer

    Dan, thank you for bringing back the Ice Cream Parlor!
    My husband David and I often laugh about the edible wax lips and long fingernails, the vampire teeth and tiny wax soda bottles filled with colored sugar water, the candy necklaces you could eat off the string – OMG!
    We both remember the tile floor, the marble counter with authentic wrought-iron stools, the giant rainbow lollipops, the glass jars filled with Mary Janes and jaw breakers. It was like stepping into a movie set. Was there a bead curtain in the back?
    As a kid in the ’60s, I first came to Westport from Manhattan when my parents rented a house at Old Mill Beach. One of our neighbors was Bob Beach, the owner of the Ice Cream Parlor, who lived in the back house on the Mill Pond behind Darren McGavin. His cottage was like a mini version of the store – lots of red velvet, leopard skin pillows, shag rugs – we thought it was the height of sophistication!
    It’s all gone now, but nice to know we can still remember!

  7. Wasn’t that hippie clothing store, The Rage, below the parlor, with its entrance in the back? Bell bottoms, incense, tie dye.

  8. Dan, I think Buffalo Clothier was where Tiffany’s is now.

  9. Was Bunyans below the Ice Cream Parlor? I’m talking 43 years ago or so. I must be getting old, but I remember that bar underneath an ice cream parlor and all the young kids would go there. I remember one had to park in the back and enter through a back door. Does this sound right?

  10. Charles Taylor

    I remember if your name was in the paper for Staples football you got a free ice cream sundae

  11. I remember going to the Old
    Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor in
    1956 with my uncle. While there
    I accidentally bumped into a lady.
    After excusing myself I found out
    that it was Elizebeth Taylor (with
    Mike Todd glowering at me)

    • She lived at 175 Long Lots Rd. I went there trick or treating in 1958. Sometime after, Harry Reasoner lived in that house.

  12. Gina Dowd LeBlanc

    OMG! I grew up and still live in Westport. I loved The Ice Cream Parlor and the model on the right is my mother, Marjorie Bonar Dowd!! ( She was later a Westport Librarian!)
    Those photos were hanging in the Ice Cream Parlor and on the pink menu!!! I tried to buy them when it was closing but whoever I asked said they couldn’t sell them. I would love copies of them if possible! My mom and Dad, local artist Victor Dowd both passed in 2010. Thank you for sharing this! ( Thank you , Renee!!!)

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