Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Tropical Freeze

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 12:39 PM

be6f/1246557101-tropicalfreezeroof60.jpg Even my team of psychiatrists has a hard time explaining my obsession with the Tropical Freeze, the frozen custard joint that stood at the southwest corner of Poplar and White Station in the 1960s. It was quite a place, with a thatched roof, a miniature dancing hula girl in the window, great neon signs, a shell-lined fountain in the parking lot, and a cluster of fake palm trees on the roof, illuminated by colored spotlights. A Starbucks stands on the site today.

And yet, I have never found a decent photograph of such an unusual business. Some years ago, I managed to find a nice color image of a group of White Station students sitting in their cars in the Tropical Freeze parking lot. That showed the fountain pretty well, but the photographer was aiming his camera away from the building itself, so that's all you saw.

More recently, I've pored over, under, and through other yearbooks, and managed to turn up a few other images. One of them (above) shows a group of White Station students in 1960, standing on the roof of the Tropical Freeze. That would be Poplar in the background. It's so frustrating that so little of the building is shown — just the trunks of the fake palm trees, and — barely visible behind the fellow on the right — a portion of the neon sign.

And below is a really cool photo of the TF at night. See what I mean about the cool neon? I think this came from a St. Agnes yearbook, or maybe it was Hutchison; I just can't remember. It's hard to tell, but the girls seem to be standing on a low wall that would have run along Poplar. Or maybe it's just the sidewalk. This would have been a great image if: 1) it was in color, and 2) the photographer had bothered to FOCUS HIS CAMERA. Good grief!

So my quest continues. Look through your yearbooks, photo albums, and scrapbooks, everyone. Surely there is a photo of the Tropical Freeze — somewhere.

6ab2/1246557408-tropicalfreeze1960.jpg

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