Untangling ice cream parlor mystery
I’m trying to remember the name of the Medford ice cream place where I worked in the summer of 1966. My father’s best friend, Wes Driscoll, had a place that sold Shaw’s ice cream on the corner of Jackson and Riverside — across the street from where Mr. Smith’s is located today. I worked there during that summer going into my junior year at Medford High School, but what was its name?
— Martin B., Medford class of 1968
Based on your memory and our trove of phone books, our best guess is that you worked at Larry’s Ice Cream, which was located at 415 N. Riverside Ave., where you’ll find Barney’s Better Burgers today.
Offering 24 ice cream flavors, Larry’s Ice Cream opened in the late 1950s and lasted through the mid-1980s, according to phone book ads from about 1966.
In a 2016 Since You Asked all about Ice Cream Palace, which preceded Mr. Smiths at 401 E. Jackson St., a reader said he loved the 3-scoop banana splits at Larry’s, saying, “They were so good, and if Mom didn’t notice, we’d lick the serving dish clean.”
Our collection of Polk directories shows that Larry’s opened about 1958, but the building went vacant in 1987. The building, which now houses Barney’s, was rebuilt from floor to ceiling in 2014 after an arson.
With all that said about Larry’s, it’s possible we’re entirely off base, because the 1966-67 Polk directory shows that Larry’s was owned by Rex Goble, not the Wes Driscoll you mention.
Rex Goble also built and owned Ice Cream Palace in 1968 — a Farrell’s-inspired ice cream parlor. By 1970, the building had been sold to former University of Oregon linebacker Dan Smith, who turned it into Mr. Smith’s Bar and Grill.
As for Wes Driscoll, it’s possible he was involved in Southern Oregon’s ice cream biz in some other fashion. We found Mr. Driscoll in the 1966-67 Polk Directory, but he was listed as a salesman for Pacific Fruit and Produce. He wasn’t listed in the 1968 edition, or any after that.
We’re confident that our readers, and their collective memory where desserts are concerned, will chime in if we ought to focus on another ice cream haunt from the past.
Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501 or by email to email@example.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.