Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Peter Pan Ice Cream Store

Recently, we posted a photograph on facebook of a Newton Peter Pan Ice Cream Store.  The questions and memories that resulted encouraged us to look into this Harvey County business. One goal was to see where these stores were actually located and how many were there?
Peter Pan located at 1326 N.Main
(corner of 13th & Main), Newton
ca. 1969-1977
Our photo technician, Linda Koppes, searched our photo archives for any photo related to Peter Pan Ice Cream and then she scoured the City Directories for locations and dates. I did a bit of background research into the business and discovered that a popular business today has a direct connection to the Peter Pan Stores of the 1960s and 70s.

100 Block North Main, Newton, August 1968
The Hotel Meridian (two story brick building in the photo) was located at 123 N. Main and housed a Peter Pan Ice Cream Store on the street level from approximately 1956 to 1966.  Other businesses from south to north included the Gail Ward Used Car lot (117); Russell's Furniture (121); Peter Pan Ice Cream Store (123); Meridian Hotel (123 1/2); Miller's Sinclair Service Station (127).  Signs for the Meridian Hotel and Coca Cola are visible on the north wall of the building.  These buildings were town down in approximately 1970.

From 1973 to 1979 a Peter Pan Ice Cream Store was located at 127 N. Main.  In 1980, it became the Pancake Hut and then in 1984 the Dairy Queen.  The Dairy Queen was torn down this August. 

In addition, there was a store located in the Pop Shoppe at 104 W. 1st.
104 W. 1st
Peter Pan Ice Cream Store
ca. 1967-1971
Peter Pan Ice Cream Stores were a Kansas creation.  In 1933, Henry H. Braum started a small butter processing plant in a converted house in Emporia,KS.  Gradually, this business grew. In 1952, Bill, a son, developed a chain of retail ice cream stores in Kansas named Peter Pan.

 In 1967, the 61 Peter Pan Ice Cream Stores were sold to a large wholesaler.  The sale did not 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. Bill moved the business to Oklahoma City, OK and in 1968 opened the first Braum's Ice Cream & Dairy Store.  Today the Braum family owns and operates nearly 300 stores located in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas including one here in Newton.

Where did the name Peter Pan come from?
 Braum got the name 'Peter Pan' after the Emporia Park. 

Postcard of Peter Pan Park, Emporia

How the park got it's name is also interesting.  Mary White, the young daughter of Emporia's William Allen White died of injuries sustained while horse-back riding.  White writes an editorial about her life and funeral.  In the article, White refers to his daughter as a "Peter Pan", a girl who did not want to grow up. The article was widely published.  Contributions were given to the White family in Mary's honor.  The Whites decide to use the money to build a park in Emporia.  The Park was named the Peter Pan Park after the young, energetic Mary White.

You can read the story of Mary White in a book written by museum volunteer and former board member, Bev Buller.  The book is available in the museum gift shop.


  1. I remember the Peter Pan ice cream stores in Eureka, Emporia and EL Dorado.

  2. I as well was a devoted customer of Peter Pan Ice Cream in Yates Center, KS 66783. And when going into the Braums Ice Cream and Dairy Store, still you feel the feeling of the Peter Pan Store.

    1. Ted, I remember that one. We had one in Iola, too. You're right about Braum's stores having a similar feel to them. The originals were considerably more scaled down from the Braum's we have today, though.

  3. In the mid to late 1950's there was a Peter Pan store in the 200 block of West 6th street in Newton, across the street from the YMCA.

  4. Back in the late 50's and early 60's it was such a treat to go to the Peter Pan ice cream store and get a 19¢ cone of four large scoops of ice cream, each one a different flavor, if you liked.

  5. For 19¢ you could get a cone with four large scoops of ice cream, each one a different flavor, if you desired.

  6. For 19¢ you could get a cone with four large scoops of ice cream, each one a different flavor, if you desired.

  7. We had one on State Street (back then, it was U.S. Hwy 169) in Iola, KS. I'm not sure when it closed down, but it was operating as late as the early 70's. I loved it, lots of bulk flavors to choose from for cones, plus the 1/2 gallon boxes to take home. Mostly, I remember how wonderful it was to walk into the store on a hot summer day and it was nice and cold inside (of course!), and it always smelled like I had just poked my nose into a box of ice cream. Peter Pan Ice Cream Stores are a cherished part of my childhood memories. Thanks, Mr. Braum!!!

  8. My mom and her parents were from Emporia Kansas. I grew up in southern Ca. We spent every summer going to Emporia and eastern Ok for my dad's side of the family. My Great Grandma McCray would take us to Peter Pan Park and then for ice cream at Peter Pan Ice Cream Parlor. I went from 1984-2012 without a trip to Emporia. All of my mom's family is gone. In 2013 my husband and I took my dad home for a family reunion. We went to Wichita to pick up his sister and drove to Emporia on our way to eastern Ok. Drove by the old homesteads of my great grandparents. Then Peter Pan Park, and of course Peter Pan Ice Cream, to find out it wasn't there anymore. It made me sad, felt like a part of my childhood had been taken away. They had the best ice cream! Thank God for good memories!!!

  9. We had at least one in Wichita; crunchy peppermint flavor was my favorite

  10. The Wichita Peter Pan was at 18th and Hillside. Our dorm Cafeteria at WSU served a big Fried Chicken Dinner at noon, but nothing in the evening on Sundays. A soda or Ice cream at Peter Pan was often our Sunday evening Supper since it was only a few blocks to walk from Brennan Hall!

  11. There was one around 37th North and Arkansas back in the 60s
    In Wichita Kansas

  12. Back in the 60s, there was one at Zoo Blvd & Central in Wichita. We use to walk there in the summer for a treat. I believe the building is still there.

  13. There was a Peter Pan store on Main St. in Council Grove Ks. It was very popular spot. Miss the good old days. Danny W.