The first time I drank Green River was at my Gram's house in the 1970's. As I drank the tasty lime beverage my Aunt Mary would tell me about how she used to go to the soda fountain with her friends and how they'd order it and how it was a bigger thing when she was a kid. It was also impressed on me that it was a Chicago thing. Which it was, but she left out the rest of the story, probably because she didn't know.

Green River was invented in Davenport by candy store owner Richard C. Jones around 1916. This according to an article from Thrillist Chicago entitled "Things You Don't Know About Green River Soda".

It surprised me I hadn't heard this considering Quad Citizens are pretty proud of the fact that we have our own style pizza, invented taco pizza andhave the worlds only bi-state St. Patrick's Day parade. I mean I figured it would have been something someone would have mentioned to me when I was learning about the area.

Then again, maybe I shouldn't be surprised. The Green River Wikipedia page proclaims it's Chicago origins. As does the WIT Beverage Company's Green River website.  Plus, it wasn't until Mr. Jones sold the recipe to a Chicago brewery and prohibition was the law of the land that Green River became the second most popular beverage in the United States. So it's understandable how the origin story of Green River got lost. Here's a bit it of it from the Davenport Library:

A Davenport Daily Times article from April 10, 1920 (pg. 7) remembered those days fondly and Mr. Jones’ celebrated creation. In 1916, in was written, Mr. Jones invented “a sparkling green drink that found instant favor and which he christened ‘Green River’.

That sparkling green soda was an immediate hit and became a favorite local refreshment, the article continued. This was apparently true, as Mr. Jones sold the secret recipe in 1919 to the Schoenfhofen Co., and was able to retire from the confectionery business.

It's the part of the story, the rest of the story, that's most interesting to me. If you're so inclined you can still get a Green River from a soda fountain here in the Quad Cities at Lagomarcino's. They've had Green River on the menu since the 1920's according to the Thrillist article. That is something I'm definitely going to do!



More From US 104.9