Sunday, April 03, 2011

Item From the Past: Zaharakos

So much for March going out like a lamb. More like a walrus fresh from taking a dip under the ice, since the last days of the month were blustery, rainy and only a bit above freezing. Today, on the other hand, was downright spring-like. Windy and overcast, but not cold at all. So today's a candidate for the first day of spring.

Gozaic, created by a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is an interesting site. A little busy, but chock full of items about places worth seeing. I learned about it in my usual circuitous way. I wanted to find some updated information about a place called Zaharako's in Columbus, Indiana, a memorable ice cream parlor. In early April 2002, we had lunch and some ice cream there, and I wrote the following.

"At the end of the tour, we walked down the main shopping street and found a place I had seen from the bus, Zaharakos. It’s an ice cream parlor, first opened in 1900 and not looking much different now, tricked out with oak fixtures, an onyx soda fountain and a mahogany bar. The sandwiches were good, the lemonade better, and the ice cream best. The place also has a working Welte German pipe organ, installed in 1908."

A Gozaic blog post from last summer says: "Zaharakos has been a Columbus institution since it was opened in 1900 by three Greek brothers with the last name Zaharako. The store closed in 2004, but was restored and reopened in June 2006... There is a Tiffany-style lamp on the bar and the Welte Orchestrion, which had been removed and sold to a collector, was purchased back and returned to Zaharakos... All the ice cream is made on the premises, and the Green River Float is a bright green soda with a lemon lime flavor."

I have a postcard of the place somewhere, but couldn't find it among the stacks of cards I have around the house, so no scan of the card will appear here. Some images appear at the shop's web site, the home page of which plays "The Entertainer" upon opening. Which made me wonder: would the shop's pipe organ have played ragtime back when that music was new? Or is that more of a tribute to the fact that a lot of people remember "The Entertainer" as a mid-70s hit from a hit movie? My guess is the latter.

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