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Eckels Ice Cream Fountain – A Vintage Sweet Spot in Mechanicsburg PA

Posted on: June 5, 2016



Mod Betty has found a new old sweet spot to share, courtesy of ardent Retro Roadmapper and swell guy Craig N, who invited us to join him at Eckels Ice Cream Fountain in downtown Mechanicsburg, PA.

Easily accessible from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Eckels is a must-stop for readers who love authentic vintage charm – with a sprinkling of Hollywood stardust added for glamour!

Eckels Ice Cream Fountain Mechanicsburg PA Retro Roadmap

Walter Eckels opened his pharmacy in 1879 and added the soda fountain in 1929, the same year as his daughter Mabelle graduated the Philadelphia Pharmacy School. Mabelle Eckels Derr (who lived to be 99!) ran the shop for decades.

Deb McCreary has owned Eckels since 2014, lovingly cleaning it up and keeping as much authentic charm as possible.

You can see what a great job she and her crew have done when comparing these vintage photos of Eckels with the scene that awaits you once you enter through the double wooden doors.

Eckels Ice Cream Fountain Mechanicsburg PA Retro Roadmap

Talk about stepping back in time!

Eckels Ice Cream Fountain Mechanicsburg PA Retro Roadmap

The 1929 soda fountain complete with original marble counter  and wooden backsplash is still there, and the ornate tin ceiling looks like a confection.

Notice the tables and chairs? They’re the same ones in the photos!

Not shown but beautiful are the stained glass windows in the front, and the cozy wooden booths alongside the front.

Eckels Ice Cream Fountain Mechanicsburg PA Retro Roadmap

Besides serving ice cream and sweets, Eckels is a great spot for a light bite, as they serve a variety of sandwiches, hotdogs / burgers and soups. Their menu is online here.

While you’re waiting for your order to be prepared, take a look in the back at the pharmacy museum they’ve assembled, as a nod to the previous history of the place:

Eckels Ice Cream Fountain Mechanicsburg PA Retro Roadmap

Speaking of history, Deb has started a wonderful tradition: Displaying a collection of Mechanicsburg High School Yearbooks- so visiting alumni can find their photo and sign it! I bet a lot of folks came here after the prom 🙂

Eckels Ice Cream Fountain Mechanicsburg PA Retro Roadmap

Don’t forget to gaze up and admire the authentic original pharmacy-inspired wallpaper – it’s gorgeous!

Eckels Ice Cream Fountain Mechanicsburg PA Retro Roadmap

While there are various vintage goods and penny candies for sale, I recommend saving room for one of their ice cream treats.

Eckels Ice Cream Fountain Mechanicsburg PA Retro Roadmap

Who can resist an ice cream sundae served in a glass tulip glass with whipped cream and a cherry?

Eckels Ice Cream Fountain Mechanicsburg PA Retro Roadmap

Here is where you may be asking – what are those photographs beneath that delicious looking sundae, Mod B?

Well here’s where the Hollywood glamour comes in.

The movie Girl Interrupted with Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie (as well as Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss and Whoopie Goldberg) was filmed here in 1999!  

Stills from the movie are on display under glass at the booths.

Eckels Ice Cream Fountain Mechanicsburg PA Retro Roadmap

Retro Roadhusband and Mod Betty attempt to recreate the scene above? Don’t I look just like Angelina Jolie? 😉

Eckels Ice Cream Fountain Mechanicsburg PA Retro Roadmap

Eckels is only closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so whether you’re local or just driving on the PATPK, take the 2.5 detour to enjoy this classic downtown soda fountain.

Thanks Craig, for sharing your favorite local spot with us! Now it’s a fave of ours too 🙂

Eckels Ice Cream Fountain Mechanicsburg PA Retro Roadmap

 

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  • Anna Borg

    LOVE that the chairs now match the chairs in the old photos! And OMG your recreation photo made me laugh out loud!

    • Mod Betty

      Thanks hon! I do my best!

    • Deb McCreary

      The chairs not only match, they are the same chairs that are in the photo. The round tables and chairs date back to 1929.

  • Deb McCreary

    Like us on facebook to get up to date information and specials. Eckels Ice Cream Fountain.

  • Deb McCreary

    Like us on facebook to get up to date information and specials. Eckels Ice Cream Fountain.

    • I’ll add the FB link to the post, Deb, thanks!

      • Deb McCreary

        Thanks, I’m trying to expand our advertising and increase our market.

      • Deb McCreary

        Thanks, I’m trying to expand our advertising and increase our market.

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