Clayton (Clayt) Monroe Fries and Mary (Mame) Catherine Moyer
Clayt was born 28 Jan 1884 and died 19 Nov 1945.
Mame was born 8 Nov 1884 and died 22 Aug 1965.
Clayt Fries Mom and Dad started an ice cream business in 1886 in Reading on
Chestnut St. above 10th . They also made candy in the winter months. In 1926 when his
Dad retired Clayt managed the plant but sold the business to Dolly Madison Ice Cream of
Philadelphia with the proviso that he couldn’t do ice cream business for ten years.
Clayt and Mame opened the ‘Clayt Fries’ Olde Tyme Ice Cream’ company in the
Spring of 1937 at 4213 Kutztown Rd., South Temple, PA. Seven workers were
employed, with the plant foreman being LeRoy Fick, a relative to Clayt and Mame. The
plant was built in the garage and was later expanded to provide more space as needed.
The basement of the house was used for storing various supplies in production. A retail
store was established on the front porch of the house, by enclosing it for year round use.
Later, a retail store was added along the side of the plant facing the driveway and yard.
There were always tables and chairs for inside seating. They never served any hot food.
The old store on the front porch then became the office.
After a few years of operation, Clayt established the ‘Outdoor Ice Cream Garden’
in the yard across the drive. This yard area had been a rose garden with flagstone walks, a
goldfish pond and a large oak tree that was credited with being over 400 years old. Clayt
called it the ‘Wishing Oak’ and had a small cement star placed in front. A sign on the
tree said “stand on the star and make a wish”, which was done by many people, especially
the young toddlers that often came for ice cream with their parents. Clayt Fries
introduced “Lick the Paddle” night, when he would sell soft ice cream (something not
heard of in those days) direct from the freezer. It was one night a week, and the plant
crew would work all evening. The freezer would turn out in 10 quart pails, and counter
workers would line up along an open screened window. Soft ice cream was scooped into
paper plates with large serving spoons, a small wooden spoon stuck in the the mound of
ice cream, and the plate passed through the window to the customer. People would line
up almost to the street waiting to be served. It was a very popular attraction.
Compliments of George and Janice Lance of Etters, Pa.
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