Detroit Soda Fountain

by Darcy O'Neil on December 2012

This photo is a great example of what a classic soda fountain / pharmacy looked like around 1910. The picture was taken by the Detroit Publishing Company around 1910, but no information was provided on where it was taken, though it assumed to be in Detroit. Sandy Levine of The Oakland bar in Detroit suggested that it looks similar to the space of the Harlequin Cafe in Detroit. Most soda fountains were very professional looking and classy places that would be fitting of the medical profession.

Detroit Soda Fountain 1900s

A zoomed in view of the back bar shows lots of tincture/bitter bottles and a big bowl of soda syrup. It was common practice to ladle the syrup into the glass.

bitter bottles

If you look closely you can see 3 apparitions in the picture. A floating head looking in the bowl (left), a soda jerk with a bow tie (right corner) and portly guy (left-center). I assume these were caused by the long exposure time required by the camera, not ghosts.

Soda Fountain Apperitions