Over 100 years ago, ice cream sandwiches first appeared on the streets of New York, but if then were now, we might not have this delicious summer icon to celebrate National Ice Cream Sandwich Day*.

The origin story of ice cream sandwiches seem to be traced back to a street vendor in New York City. Check out this classic from the New York Tribune on July 22, 1900:

Image provided by: Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Here’s the text:

“The ice cream sandwich man, who sells quarter-inch layers of alleged ice cream between tiny slabs of water wafers, did a big business during the hot spell and his field of operation was within the district inhabited by the Nordic enclaves, and his pushcart was elaborately decorated with signs in runic characters. He made the sandwiches quickly in a tin mold, and was kept so busy that he could not make change, but insisted on receiving the actual price for each ice cream sandwich — 1 cent.”

Via Shorpy.com, we find a photo of a horse-drawn cart offering ice cream sandwiches for one cent on the New Jersey Shore “circa 1905”. Not quite the attire you’d find on the Jersey Shore today:


Both of these blasts from the ice cream sandwich’s past tell the same story: deliciousness brought to the American people by small businesses creating new products that make our lives better. It’s a story repeated thousands of times every day throughout America’s history, but is it still possible today?

After all, we live in a time when even the youngest entrepreneurs can’t even catch a break without being shut down:

Texas sisters Andria, 8, and Zoey Green, 7, wanted to raise about $100 to take their dad to Splash Kingdom as a Father’s Day present, so they set up a traditional neighborhood lemonade stand.

According to ABC affiliate KLTV, about an hour later and after a $25 profit, Overton police showed up and shut the lemonade stand down because the Green sisters did not have a “Peddler’s Permit,” which comes with a $150 fee.

And while the city agreed to waive the $150 permit fee for the Green sisters, they found out they also need approval from the health department.

The Green sisters aren’t alone. When a lemonade stand has to close up shop for not having the right permits, are we really still a nation that respects the entrepreneurial drive and creativity that brought us the ice cream sandwich? What delightful treats will we be denied without the freedom to invent and create that we once had?

It’s a question we’ll have to munch on.

So celebrate while you can: grab an ice cream sandwich, share your thoughts on Facebook, and learn more about the damage regulations do to the American Dream.

*P.S. Careful tweeting about #NationalIceCreamSandwichDay — after that monster hashtag, you’ll only have 112 characters left on Twitter, so eat fast and tweet brief!

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