Tempest in a Sundae Dish

Like the Hatfields and the McCoys, Ohio and Pennslyvania are brewing up a feud. Is it over a shared natural resource? Highway maintenance? Nope. It’s for bragging rights over who first slit a banana lenghthwise and nestled three scoops of ice cream between the halves.

Yes, along with John Wayne, Tintin creator Hergé, and the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, the banana split is turning 100.

Or is it? This weekend, Wilmington, Ohio, holds its annual Banana Split Festival (be there or be square) celebrating the fact that it was created by E. R. Hazard in that fair city 100 years ago.

But, as NPR points out, certain things have come to light, evidence that seems to point to a pharmacy clerk in Latrobe, Pennslyvania, as the creator of the banana split. And not in 1907, but three years earlier, in 1904.

‘We’ve got clear evidence that William Strickler invented the banana split right here in the Tassell Pharmacy at 805 Ligonier St. when he was a 23-year-old clerk,’ says Joseph ‘Ice Cream Joe’ Greubel, president of the Valley Dairy restaurant chain.

Wilmington seems unconcerned that it is being challenged for the “first-ever banana split” title.

‘We think the controversy is fun,’ says Mary Gibson, owner of Gibson’s Goodies, the shop that provides the ice cream for the festival. ‘Until pretty recently, we’d never heard of the Latrobe, Pennsylvania, claim. I guess news didn’t used to travel as fast.’

Sadly, Latrobe might feel the need to steal the banana split title from Ohio. The city was recently dealt a major blow in the claim-to-fame area.

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