August 25th is Banana Split Day, but Ohio’s claim to starting this dessert trend is a battle with its neighbor to the east:
In Michael Turback’s Banana Split Book, he shares:
The origin of the banana split is controversial, but most historians believe it was first created in 1904 by an optometrist in Latrobe, Pennsylvania named David “Doc” Strickler. The sundae he concocted originally cost 10 cents, twice the price of other sundaes, and caught on with students of nearby Saint Vincent College.
Wilmington, Ohio, also claims an early connection dating to 1907 when Ernest “Doc” Hazard created a dessert in hopes of attracting students from Wilmington College to his shop during the slow days of winter. The dessert he came up with was the banana split: three scoops of ice cream served between the two halves of a split banana, topped with chocolate, strawberry and pineapple sauces, whipped cream, maraschino cherries and nuts.
Most historians believe the evidence for Strickler’s 1904 debut is more convincing, and, in 2004, the National Ice Cream Retailers Association certified the city of Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split. Both towns hold an annual festival in honor of the dessert. Wilmington’s is usually the second weekend in June.
Thanks for listening!