Recently our friends at CharlestonCurrents.com published a photograph of a faded advertisement painted on the side of an old corner grocery store at the intersection of Coming and Spring streets. They challenged readers to identify the product being promoted in the ad, which appeared to read “You’ll Enjoy Ashley Real Cream.” Having driven past this location innumerable times, I recognized the image immediately, but, having the unfair advantage of library and archival resources at my fingertips, I did not enter the contest. When the e-zine received no responses, however, I went directly to the old city directories and solved the mystery with just a bit of digging.
The Ashely Ice Cream Company appears in the Charleston city directories of 1922 through 1945. Their offices and “factory” were at 572-74 Meeting Street, but they supplied corner grocery stores throughout the town. They weren’t the only ice cream business in town, though, so the hand-painted advertisement on the side of the grocery store at the corner of Coming and Spring Street was undoubtedly part of their promotional campaign. The city directory of 1948, the next volume we have after 1945, does not include the Ashley Ice Cream Company. Rather, a new business called Swift’s Ice Cream Company is listed at that same address on Meeting Street once occupied by Ashley.
This morning, Andy Brack, publisher of CharlestonCurrents.com, told me he had spoken with former Senator Fritz Hollings last night. Upon mentioning the name of this old ice cream company, the senator immediately recalled their tasty flavors and fond memories of summer nights in Charleston with Ashley Ice Cream. Thanks, Andy!