By Ernie Over, managing editor, County10.com
(Shoshoni) — A Wyoming icon that had slipped in recent years is now a part of history. The Yellowstone Drug Store, aka Yellowstone Malt Shop, aka Shoshoni Malt Shop is now a vacant building.
A pickup truck and trailer hauled off the malt shop’s furnishings and most equipment yesterday (Monday), and the sign was painted over ending an era when the store was a “must stop” whenever travelers or locals drove through Central Wyoming.
The “World Famous Malts and Shakes” that were once served up in a 1900s era building in downtown Shoshoni attracted world-wide attention through promotional efforts of the Wyoming Travel Commission and, later, the Wyoming Division of Travel and Tourism and the Wind River Visitors Council. Bright blue and white car bumper stickers promoting the famous malt stop can still be seen around the state.
But the downtown location owned by the Shoshoni Masonic Lodge was sold, and the malt shop moved to the east end of town where a succession of owners failed to regain the malt shop’s stature and popularity. Additionally, the well known “Yellowtone” name was removed from the business.
“It just wasn’t the same, it was just another malt shop,” one Shoshoni resident who did not wish to be identified said Tuesday morning after the business relocated. “Once it moved out of its downtown location in the Masonic building, it lost its appeal. It’s really sad. I’ll miss it.”
The former location of the store featured a tall tin silver colored ceiling, a classic ornate wooden soda fountain back bar with high counters and stools out front, dozens of varieties of hand packed ice creams, and a dining area featuring small glass tables with wire backed chairs. Assorted brick-a-brack and Wyoming souvenirs filled several aisles of shelves, an old time version of a modern convenience store. A hand lettered sign above the soda fountain proudly counted up how many malts had been served up that that week, month and year.
The relocated malt shop was in a former fast food restaurant building, absent of the name and ambiance that once made the downtown location special.