Classic Banana Split

The banana split is an American classic. 

Back in the early 1900s, the soda fountain business boomed. Almost every town had such a gathering place. Here in Fauquier, we had two on Main Street in Warrenton, one in Remington. Two of those counters still exist, but only the Remington Drug Co. still serves splits.

In Latrobe, Pa., (also home to Rolling Rock beer) young apprentice pharmacist named David E. Strickler created the first banana split in 1904.

Named for a banana sliced in half lengthwise, he also included single scoops of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla ice cream, three flavored toppings — chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce and crushed pineapples, whipped cream and maraschino cherries. 

Unable to find an appropriate dish, Mr. Strickler solicited a glassmaker to create the first “banana boat” for this extravagant dessert.

I had my first banana split at our eighth grade class party on the last day of school before summer vacation. The party took place at classmate Jay Ellis’ home on Black Snake Lane, just west of Warrenton. We went swimming, had a cook out and then got invited in to make our banana splits.

I vividly remember Mrs. Ellis having all of the ingredients lined up on her kitchen counter. Of course, I wasn’t sure how to go about making this incredible dessert, but she coached me through it. 

This is a great dessert for young and old. It’s just plain fun, both to create and to eat. So go out and get some ripe bananas, ice cream, sauce and nuts and have some fun on one of these hot summer days.


1 ripe banana
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
1 scoop strawberry ice cream
1 scoop chocolate ice cream
Chocolate sauce
Whipped cream
Chopped nuts
Maraschino cherries

Optional ingredients:
Crushed pineapple
Strawberry sauce


Slice the banana in half lengthwise and place in banana boat or long dish. Top with one scoop of each flavor of ice cream and then drizzle with chocolate sauce. Top with whipped cream, chopped nuts and cherries.