Gone by not forgotten: Peter Pan store had various locations in Newton

By Wendy Nugent Harvey County Now NEWTON—The magic of childhood can include seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, going to the swimming pool each summer, eating a hot dog with friends and slurping down ice cream. Peter Pan Ice Cream stores used to encompass that childhood cold-treats magic with what they sold and their name. One such store was located in several places in Newton, initially at 123 N. Main St. The two-story brick Hotel Meridian housed a Peter Pan Ice Cream Store on the ground level from around 1956 through 1966. Then, from 1973-1979, a Peter Pan Ice Cream Store was at 127 N. Main St. This is where Dairy Queen more recently was located before it was torn down in 2012 and where a bank now sets. In 1980, the location was a Pancake Hut and became Dairy Queen in 1984. At one point, there was a Peter Pan store in the former Pop Shoppe, 104 W. First. "Peter Pan Ice Cream Stores were a Kansas creation," said Kris Schmucker, curator at the Harvey County Historical Museum & Archives. "In 1933, Henry H. Braum started a small butter processing plant in a converted house in Emporia. Gradually, this business grew. In 1952, Bill, a son, developed a chain of retail ice cream stores in Kansas named Peter Pan." The name for the stores was derived from Peter Pan Park in Emporia. The park got its name after William Allen White and his wife decided to build a park with money given to them in their daughter, Mary's honor after she died. Following her funeral, White wrote in the Emporia Gazette his daughter was a "Peter Pan," who never wanted to grow up. 'The park was named the Peter Pan Park after the young, energetic Mary White," Schmucker said. Mary White died from injuries she sustained while horseback riding. The Peter Pan stores sold in 1967 to a large wholesaler and didn't include the Braum Dairy or processing plant. "As a condition of the sale, the Braums were not allowed to sell ice cream in Kansas for 10 years," Schmucker said. Peter Pan Ice Cream Store also was where the current Walgreens is located at 12th and Main streets. At the time, there was a small strip mall with a laundromat in a U-shape, Schmucker said. "That's how I remember it," she said, adding Peter Pan was north of there in that area. That building was constructed in 1973, Schmucker said. In 2016, the museum posted a photo of a Peter Pan store on Facebook, on which people posted some of their memories of Peter Pan stores in Kansas. Some wrote about getting a 19-cent four-scoop ice cream cone. Photo courtesy of Harvey County Historical Museum & Archives

By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now NEWTON—The magic of childhood can include seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, going to the swimming pool each...

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