As Rachel Franklin celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Sno-Cap Drive-In in North Augusta this year, one big question remains – when did the restaurant actually open?
“We never knew the date it opened,” said Franklin, who, along with her husband, Kenny, has owned the West Avenue restaurant since 1996. “We know the first one opened in Aiken in 1964.”
An exhibit focusing on the business’ history will run from June 30-Sept. 12 at the Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta. A timeline marking important dates in the drive-in’s history, along with photo albums and other memorabilia, will be part of the exhibit, which will be on the building’s second floor.
The Franklins are the third owners of the business, and Rachel Franklin said the restaurant’s roots are likely found in Wisconsin. She said there were other Sno-Cap locations across the country.
Newspaper articles hail the opening of the Aiken Sno-Cap Drive-In, but she’s searched to no avail for something on the North Augusta opening.
One piece of memorabilia Franklin has is a Sno-Cap root beer syrup container from the 1950s. Titletown Brewing Co. in Green Bay, Wisc., still sells Sno-Cap Root Beer and its history page at www.titletownbrewing.com pays homage to “Grandma Gladys,” who owned a Sno-Cap Drive-In in Green Bay.
Franklin, who also owns and operates a bed and breakfast, has long been concerned with preserving this slice of North Augusta’s history. During her 18 years of ownership, customers have come in with tales of family outings, first dates, meals prior to North Augusta High School football games and other snippets. Some of these were written in journals during the 40th anniversary celebration. These journals will also be on display.
Always on the look-out for newspaper articles or memorabilia, Franklin said she hopes the exhibit will generate some of these items for her collection. She’s heard many stories about how customers used to drink root beer from a wax megaphone, and she’s curious about how that worked.
The exhibit is in preparation of a 10-day celebration Franklin has scheduled for August. The couple always celebrates the anniversary in August because that’s when they purchased it, she said. A highlight of the 10 days will be a customer-appreciation day on Aug. 23. She plans to have a videographer record customers’ special memories. Plans for the 10 days of Sno-Cap’s 50th in August are still in the works.
Franklin said updates can be found at the restaurant’s Facebook page or Web site, www.snocapdrivein.com .
Eventually, Franklin would like to write a book on the Sno-Cap Drive-In’s history and include other North Augusta restaurants in it.