The Dairy Queen Story

The following story is dedicated to my friends and neighbors who like the "cone with the curl on top."
Back in 1938, soft serve ice cream was but a glimmer in the imagination of J. F. McCullough, proprietor of the Homemade Ice Cream Company in the little town of Green River, near East Moline, Illinois. He believed that the taste of ice cream improved when it was soft at 23 degrees Fahrenheit. Colder temperatures numbed the taste buds. "Wouldn't it be great," he reasoned, "if there was a freezer that could dispense semifrozen ice cream that still held its shape?" Grandpa McCullough experimented with mix formulas and his son, Alex, tinkered with ice cream freezer parts until they were convinced they were on to something. They went to Sherb Noble who owned a walk-in ice cream store in Kankakee, Illinois. They persuaded him to hold a sale called "All the Soft Ice Cream You Can Eat for Only 10 Cents!" On August 4, 1938, the day of the sale, they dished out 1,600 servings into 16 ounce cups. It was apparent that the public liked this new treat. On June 22, 1940 Mr. Noble opened the first official Dairy Queen store in Joliet, Illinois. After 3 years of military service in Europe he returned home and acquired the seven-county territory around Chicago. At one point Mr. Noble owned 35 stores. His management philosophy was: "If we run our stores 100 percent right, the guy down the street has got to give 101 percent to beat us." It was Grandpa McCullough who chose the name because he believed his soft serve was a "queen" among dairy products, the epitome of freshness and wholesomeness. In the beginning you could order any flavor as long as it was vanilla.
Malts and shakes became available in 1949. Banana splits followed in 1951. For a brief period, the "Stripenizer" machine added exciting colored strips to soft serve milk as it curled out of the spigot into cones and cups. By the mid-1950s the Dairy Queen sundae toppings had been expanded to include hot fudge, chocolate, pineapple, strawberries, and butterscotch. Today a children's birthday party is not complete without a frozen cake from Dairy Queen. I guess I'm just as guilty as my friends for liking soft ice cream. When I see a Dairy Queen Store, I will not hesitate to cross three lanes of oncoming traffic just to buy the cone with the curl on top.