The Auburn Heritage Association will commemorate two of the most beloved sites in Auburn's history on Sunday when it installs a historic marker that celebrates the iconic Sani-Freeze and Luckie Meagher's Kindergarten.
The primary focus of the marker is on the Meagher family. In the late 1930s, Clyde "Red" Meagher established the Doll House, a restaurant that offered sandwiches and hot dogs, that will be featured prominently on one side of the marker with a vintage photo.
The Doll House eventually turned into Sani-Freeze, or The Flush, which became a favorite haunt of Auburn University students and alumni.
"People, of course, remember the upside-down banana splits and going there, some of them for their first dates, and going after exams in the middle of the night to get ice cream, so there’s a lot of good memories about the Sani-Freeze," said Mary Norman, president of the Auburn Heritage Association. "We just felt as though it was important for us to honor this family and to let a lot of people know, at least, where the Sani-Freeze used to be."
In 1993, Sani-Freeze moved out of its original location on East Glenn Avenue before closing for good in the early 2000s.
The other side of the historic marker will commemorate another beloved Auburn figure, Luckie Meagher.
"We are actually commemorating Luckie Meagher, who was a very loved kindergarten teacher here in Auburn. We have a picture of her and one of her classes on one side of the marker and we’ve got a picture of Red and his staff at the Doll House on the other side of the marker," said Norman. "One of the main reasons why we are honoring Luckie is because Luckie recognized with some of her pupils that they could not hear. So she went to some people at Auburn University and said, ‘Is there anything you can help us with?’ And she is basically responsible for the Speech and Hearing Clinic being started at Auburn University, and so we are honoring her for that as well."
The Auburn Heritage Association tried to place the marker as close to the original location of the Sani-Freeze as possible, but had to find a different spot for it in front of the Berney Office Solutions building on the corner of North College Street and Glenn Avenue.
"Unfortunately, we couldn’t put it anywhere on Glenn because there was no right of way and there’s not even a little spot of grass to put it," said Norman, who added that the process of getting the marker installed has taken at least two years.
The ceremony dedicating the historic marker will take place on Sunday, starting at 2:30 p.m. on the corner of North College and Glenn. Seating will be available. A raffle will also be held.
"We have a replica. Red Meagher made little kindergarten chairs for Luckie’s students, and we will have a replica of that chair that we will be raffling off," she said.
Norman lamented how much Auburn history has been lost over the years and how important it is that it is not forgotten.
"The thing is that we’re losing so much. Unfortunately, they’re going to make the announcement tonight as to whether they’re going to move the Cullars House, and then of course the Sani-Freeze is gone. We felt as though, as least where the Sani-Freeze was concerned, it was so much of a part of people’s lives back then that we feel it’s important for it to be remembered," said Norman before Tuesday's vote, which was not approved, by the City Council to spend city funds to move and save the Cullars house. "Of course, Mayor (Ron) Anders is going to be there. He was in one of the last classes of Luckie Meagher’s kindergarten class, so you have a lot of people in town who still remember her very fondly. So we just felt as though for future generations, they needed to know who these two people were."