Then and Now: Polar Bear Frozen Custard

THEN: Polar Bear Frozen Custard 
Central and Oliver, about 1938.

(Photographer: Edgar B. Smith, Repository: 
Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum. 


NOW: Site of the former Polar Bear Frozen Custard Stand
(Photo: D&VC)

  Wichita Once Had a Polar Bear

Wichita once had not only polar bears, but also an iceberg. as well. They could be found on the southwest corner of Central and Oliver during the 1930-40s.

At the Polar Bear Frozen Custard stand in 1938, one could buy a five-cent root beer, a sundae or malt for 15 cents, or something called a "polar whip" for a dime. Frozen custard was priced at ten cents per dish, 20 cents per pint or 40 cents for a quart.

The small building sat diagonally facing the corner and with a little imagination, resembled an iceberg. The effect was created by thick white mortar and stucco formed to resemble ice and snow.

Wichita during the era had several "folk architecture" structures including the Wishbone Building, also on East Central, and the Red Apple on North Broadway. Only the Wishbone still exists. It is owned by HPA and is available for a qualified recipent to restore.

The site of the Polar Bear Frozen Custard Stand is now occupied by a Dollar General Store.