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Denver, the birthplace of the ice cream soda?

A little Denver pride found while look for Denver restaurants after reading Lost Restaurants of Denver by Robert Autobee, Kristen Autobee.

Reproduced from The Denver Post, 2009.

Unlike the Denver Boot, the wheel clamp patented in 1958 by Denver Symphony Orchestra violinist Frank Marugg and the bane of parking-ticket scofflaws, the pedigree of the ice cream soda remains elusive.

But Otto P. Baur, the German-born owner of a Denver candy establishment, claimed that he introduced the world to the effervescent combination of ice cream and soda water.

In an interview published Aug. 12, 1902, in the Denver Times, Baur said, "The first ice cream soda was sold at my confectionery at 16th and Lawrence Streets where the Golden Eagle is now, and that was back in 1870."

As Baur told the story, one of his patrons routinely ordered soda and cream each morning. One day, the patron arrived before the milkman did. Baur substituted ice cream for fresh cream, and created history.

Or did he? A Philadelphia bartender also laid claim to concocting the first ice cream soda, but not until 1874.

"Does that mean Denverites were the first to enjoy an ice cream soda? Probably," says says Colorado state historian Bill Convery.

"Does that mean that America owes a debt to us for the discovery? Perhaps not. I am persuaded that Philadelphia deserves credit as the city that popularized the confection, perhaps not knowing that we had already beat them to it. Denver in 1870 had a population of 4,759. Philadelphia in 1870 had a population of 674,022, or 100 times our number. So it stands to reason that Philly's 'invention' would eclipse our prior claim." Claire Martin

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