Rented OV Beachwear
worn by Elias, GK, GA & Abe
The historic Wells Theater
Abe, Charlie, George & John
The Doumars Cone Plant
Wanna' know some Secrets?
Go to Part IX for the Deep Scoop!
About the Nickel Tour
|It's often forgotten that Doumar's
started out in Norfolk, at the Ocean View
Amusement Park: they were there until the devastation left by the 1933 Storm, when they relocated to their approximate
location of today. We have to look at the contributions of the Doumar family when
we think of Ocean View. Back then the Park was the most
elegant resort south of Atlantic City (Miami was inaccessible until after
'26); the park became home of Abe Doumar's first Norfolk stand. It had a
hotel, gardens, rides and a bathhouse renting 8,000 swim suits daily (left-- the brothers
Doumar in rented attire). During this period they also operated stands in New Jersey--
1914 the Coney Island and Palisades Park locations closed, and in 1920 Wildwood
followed to concentrate on Ocean View as
John Doumar ran Doumar's first soda fountain in the
historic Wells Theater from 1913 - 1920; the Wells in downtown Norfolk,
renovated nearly two decades ago is now the glorious home of the Virginia Stage Company productions, on
108 East Tazewell near the new MacArthur Center.
The Smithsonian Institution researched and enshrined the Doumars
Ice Cream Cone for what we here have always known: Abe Doumar, born 1881 in Damascus, Syria
arrived around 1895 in the U.S. and passed in 1947; introduced the cone at the 1904
Worlds Fair in St. Louis. Due to Abe's legacy, Albert Doumar
provided papers, photos and spare parts of the machinery for the Smithsonian and they have
noted that though many claim credit, there is no doubt the machine in use at Doumars
is the real deal. Albert or Thad can
be seen Mon-Sat, operating the machine today at the Monticello & 20th landmark.
The story is that at 16, when Abe was met at the dock by a recruiter, he was
given unique items to vend. In Arab robes he set up shop in one of the 22 streets of a
reproduced Jerusalem at the St. Louis Exposition. He sold
paperweights filled with water purportedly from the River Jordan. One night
he purchased a waffle, rolled it into a cone and added ice cream from a nearby stall.
Eureka and good googlie-mooglie, the ice cream cone is born! After Abe began
selling cones nightly at the St. Louis Expo, the waffle-maker gave him an iron. He
returned to New Jersey and designed a four-iron baking machine which a foundry made. He
brought his parents and three brothers to America and during the Jamestown
Exposition of 1907 opened at Ocean View Park. One day there, they sold
nearly 23 thousand cones, so Abe bought a semiautomatic 36-iron machine that produced
20 cones per minute.
Hungry? Go to OV Part VIII Ghost
(courtesy of Albert Doumar)