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Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Classic craftsman imagery in this old fashioned ice cream parlor counter tile work and cabinetry

GUEST BLOG—By Claire Bryan, San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles.

Hage’s Ice Cream parlor served happiness to many early San Diegans. As part of Hage’s Dairy, 835 K Street, the sweet shop produced and reportedly sold more than half of the ice cream consumed in San Diego between 1891 and the 1940s.

The ice cream parlor is no more, but today, the same location continues to please kids of all ages as Petco’s popular Park at the Park.

Eager to start a dairy company and having grown up on a dairy farm in Eagle, Wisconsin, Willard B. Hage moved to San Diego in 1891. According to San Diego History Center archives, Hage first began his dairy company delivering milk and butter to local homes. The dairy products business was highly successful.  For example, Hage’s averaged 3,000 pounds of butter churned daily.

Son, Willard B. Hage, Jr., in 1926, incorporated the separately owned Sanitary and Owl Ice Cream Co. into Hage’s Ice Cream Co.  Hage, Jr., was an innovative man, who ran the merged operation and loved creating his own ice cream flavors - burnt almond being his favorite. The parlor continued to thrive eventually becoming the largest independent ice cream shop on the Pacific coast.

In 1954, the company merged with Foremost Dairies of San Francisco. Hage, Jr. retired in 1961 and the business continued to thrive until a fire destroyed the operation in 1985.  It was never rebuilt.

As our historic photo shows, the original ice cream counter has classic Arts & Crafts era decorative elements such as the flower patterned frieze wallpaper, handmade artistic tile on the counter face and stylish period design in the glass of the back bar cabinets.  The Tile Heritage Foundation recently confirmed the tile on the front counter is called Calco made by California Clay Products Co, which operated in South Gate from 1923 into the early 1930s‘s.

Image courtesy: San Diego History Center
This article first appeared in the July 2011 issue of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine.

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