Fall won’t officially arrive until September 22nd, but this Labor Day weekend is considered the last unofficial weekend of summer. This is also the last weekend of the season for the Monona County Historical Museum in Onawa, the home of the Eskimo Pie. Virginia Johnson, co-president of the musuem, says local candy shop owner Christian Nelson created the popular snack about 85 years ago.Johnson says the story goes that a boy came into the shop and was trying to decide whether to spend his nickel on chocolate candy or on ice cream. While waiting for the boy’s order, Nelson accidentally dropped a scoop of ice cream into the chocolate syrup he used for hot fudge — and that was the inspiration for the I-Scream Bar, which he later called the Eskimo Pie. Nelson teamed up with another man who’s name is now legendary in chocolates — Russell Stover — to market the ice cream concoction. Johnson says it took a little work to merge the frozen ice cream with the warm chocolate, using cocoa butter as an adhesive. Nelson eventually built a machine to crank out more of the chocolate-coated vanilla ice cream squares.In the early 1920s, production of Eskimo Pies reached four-million — every day. The museum is open today (Saturday) and Sunday from 1 PM to 4:30 PM. It’s usually open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. For more information, call (712) 423-1801 or surf to “www.onawa.com”.
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