A much-loved vintage soda fountain
preserves memories of Damariscotta’s past,
but finds new purpose, too
by Todd Bross
photography by Sarah Morrill
Just a week before she died in February 2013,
Jo-Ann Jacobs sat at the counter of the last remaining pharmacy soda fountain in Maine bearing her father’s name. At one time eight Waltz drug stores thrived from Wiscasset to Searsport. The 80-year-old matriarch, who had stopped working at the original, a Damariscotta landmark, just two years prior because illness, asked co-owner Mary Kate Reny if she planned to keep the original red and cream colors.
A year earlier, the question Reny was asking herself was not about the color scheme, but whether she should save the vintage soda fountain adjacent to the Reny’s Department Store.
“We had to keep it,” says Reny. “It’s such an integral part of Damariscotta, both physically and symbolically. From poodle skirt to mini skirt generations grew up here, brought their families in. Days spent shopping in town would end here with an egg cream or milk shake. It was a destination, something special to be shared, passed down to their kids like was passed onto them by their parents or grandparents. To simply throw that all away …” More