Where Can You Get an Iron Port, Phosphate, or Suicide?
Today it would be difficult, but in 1946 you could have ordered one of these soft drinks at a soda fountain. Vernal’s most popular soda fountain was part of Vernal Drug which was located in the building across the street. At the marble counter, soda jerks mixed a variety of soft drinks and ice cream delights. A popular treat was cherry phosphate (cherry syrup, soda water, and citric acid); you could also order a cherry or vanilla Coke. Vernal was one of the few places you could find “Iron Port,” an old fashioned ice cream soda. If you wanted chocolate ice cream, you would ask for a “dip of mud;” a chocolate cone was called a “black stick;” a “houseboat” was the common term for a banana split. In the 1950s the soda fountain was a focal point where young people gathered after school or with a date.
The soda fountain hosted its first customer in 1900 when Vernal Drug opened its doors. The drugstore relocated several times, but in 1917 it found a permanent home. In 1960 the drugstore expanded into the Vogue Theater building. In 1991 Vernal Drug closed after 91 years in service, giving way to discount store pharmacies and the changing tastes of youth. So today you can’t get a “suicide” (a squirt of everything in the soda fountain) in Vernal.
This is #6 of the 21 stop history walking tour in downtown Vernal, Utah. See the other stops on this page:
This marker is located across the street from and about the building at 23 East Main Street in Vernal, Utah.