Photo Friday: Drink Man!

17 May

The hot weather of summer has officially arrived in Tucson as our first day of 2013 with triple digit temperatures is upon us. This naturally gets one wondering how earlier residents of the Old Pueblo managed to stay cool on scorching summer days. Well, this wonderful photo from our portrait files helps answer that very question! For this installment of Photo Friday I am sharing this wonderful image of a street beverage vendor with you. According to information included with the photograph, this image of Juan Velasquez was taken on the streets of Tucson in about 1901. He is seen posing with a small tray balanced on his head. The tray holds a bucket of ice and bottles of flavored syrup which he used for making “helados”, the flavored snow-cone like drinks he sold. Juanito (as he was known) walked through the Barrio Viejo of Tucson calling out “Helados!” and when customers appeared he would stop, chop up some ice and cover it with whatever fruit flavored syrup they selected. Strawberry and lemon are said to have been favorites. According to three 1973 articles in the Tucson Citizen about the “Drink Man” written by Don Schellie, customers had to provide their own glasses and the cost for one of these delicious helados was 5 cents. You can read these articles in our clip books (a series of biographical clippings collected by AHS staff about residents of southern Arizona)—just look under “Drink Man” to learn more. You can see the photograph by requesting photo file Portrait—Velasquez, Juan (#2052). As always, if you are interested in obtaining a copy of this photograph or permission to publish it, contact us at ahsref@azhs.gov. And the next time you just have to treat yourself to one of the many options for icy, fruit-flavored drinks available around town this summer, remember that you are carrying on a Tucson tradition! Stay cool!

Portrait--Velasquez, Juan_2052. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this photograph or permission to publish it, contact us at ahsref@azhs.gov.

Portrait–Velasquez, Juan_2052. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this photograph or permission to publish it, contact us at ahsref@azhs.gov.

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