Once upon a time the actress Ruth Gordon was on the Merv Griffin show. She told the host, “One of my fondest memories was stopping in Bath, Maine, and visiting a little drugstore called Hallet’s and having the best hot fudge sundae I ever had!”

Older residents generally agree: Hallet’s had the best sundaes anywhere.

Hallet’s Drug Store was a fixture in Bath for exactly 100 years. It was established on Center Street in 1882 by Andrew Hallet, then moved to 70 Front Street a few years later. The great fire of 1894 burned the store, but they soon reopened.

It would move again in 1964, now occupying the former site of J.J. Newberry’s (currently the House of Logan.) This allowed the business to triple in size.

While the store is gone, Hallet’s clock is still one of the most cherished parts of downtown Bath. Owner Fred Cox was walking down the street in Boston in 1915 when he saw the clock with a “for sale” sign on it. He bought it and had it shipped back to Bath, where it has been keeping time for over a century.

When the store moved in 1964, the new owners were unsure of what to do with the clock. It was sold to Harry Crooker, who planned to move it to Thomas Point Beach.

After a public outcry, Crooker had the clock restored and gave it to the city of Bath on two conditions: It had to be kept in good repair, and it would revert back to the Crooker family if Bath ever decided to get rid of it.

Chances of that are probably slim. The clock was moved in front of Hallet’s new location, and it’s still there today.
Besides the great ice cream, many people have fond memories of the mahogany woodwork and the glass tables with built-in stools that swung outward. Apparently these tables had a great deal of gum stuck underneath. I wonder what happened to them?

The end of Hallet’s came in 1982 when the owners sold the soda fountain to Wellwoods in the Shaw’s shopping center and opened a pharmacy inside. The family continued to make their famous ice cream for several years and sold it to local businesses.

Given the success of the new Frosty’s Donuts in Bath, I think it’s high time that Hallet’s ice cream makes its own triumphant return.

Source: Abby True in Kaleidoscope Magazine, Morse High School.

 

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