I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Seale-Lily Ice Cream

I don’t normally think of ice cream during the depths of winter that we’ve been experiencing the last couple of days, but I have been surprised to realize, looking at Facebook, that to many not-quite-right people, snow means making ice cream. Seeing all their pictures reminded me that I had come across a picture of my own recently, not a great picture, I admit, but a rare view of a locally famous ice cream parlor in Jackson, the Seale-Lily Ice Cream Store. Seale-Lily had several ice cream shops at its height in the 1950s, and I’ve received numerous requests for a good view of the drive-in located on Triangle Drive on the north side of Fondren and adjacent to the GI Subdivision, but this is the best one I’ve come across.

Clarion-Ledger, August 31, 1952, p. 2:9

In case you can’t read the small print:


Above is a night picture of Seale-Lily’s Drive-In Ice Cream Store located in North Jackson. The store is air-conditioned and seats about 40 or more people. Here you can enjoy dressed up dishes of Seale-Lily ice cream in sundaes, sodas, banana splits, and the famous Orange Chill. There is a window at the front of the building. You can drive up to this window and get quick service on all ice cream servings available at this store. Parking space is provided all the way around the building. About 25 cars can park on the black-top grounds. It’s easy to drive in–easy to drive out. The map shows the exact location of the storeon Triangle Drive.

Sadly, the Seale-Lily is long gone, replaced by either a Dryvit-clad dry cleaners or a Car Care Clinic, depending on where exactly it was located.

See more drive-ins . . .

Categories: Architectural Research, Demolition/Abandonment, Jackson


18 replies

  1. Snow ice-cream, once a winter in Seymour, Texas. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The small single-serving wax cup of Seale-Lily vanilla ice cream and flat wooden “spoon” are a treasured memory. Delightful post—thank you.


  3. Great post. It looks like the Seale-Lily Drive-In was where the current-day Car Care Clinic building is.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for overlaying the Sanborn map over a modern aerial–very cool! I didn’t even look for a Sanborn to answer the question because in my head I “knew” the Sanborn coverage didn’t extend this far. Yet another example of how thinking we know something that we don’t can get us into trouble.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome. The Sanborn maps that contain multiple columns are always a bit wacky to use. Luckily, I think Jackson is the only city in Mississippi to have more than one volume, and it’s only for the 1962 maps


  4. The Seale-Lily drive-in was located just north of the present cleaners location. At the time of S-L, the cleaners was a wonderful hardware store (Batson’s) and there was a gas station (Sinclair, I believe) between S-L and the railroad crossing, then known as Tripp’s Crossing. The washateria across the street was originally one of the many Tote-Sum (“tote some of everything”) stores in Jackson. They were convenience stores with ‘car hop service’ to your car.

    Seale-Lily’s drive up window probably preceded the many hamburger joint windows of today.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. There’s no one who screamed louder for Seale-Lily ice cream than Woody Assaff–Peach was his favorite. . Woody was from McComb, but had cousins in Hattiesburg. I suspect that he may have been introduced to Seale-Lily at Jack Seale’s ice cream Parlor on South Main, across from Tatum’s Wilmutt Gas and Skeetz’s Shoe Repair. I would walk down the 100 yards down Newman street from my grandfather’s Burkett Sheet Metal Wks. in the summers that I worked in the shop. My favorite was pine apple MALT. It was served in a frosted soda glass and the remaining malt liquid in the stainless steel mixing cup was enough to fill the soda glass again. It was placed on the counter.. I learned in later years that the “frosted” effect was achieved by keeping the soda glasses in a freezer–not cooler–and when it it was removed from the freezer the soda jerk would spray water from an atomizer onto the glass. Then he would place the glass on the counter and pour from the mixing cup.
    The downtown location was abandoned in the early 1960s and relocated out close to Kamper Park next to Sunflower after the new owners Buster and Ann Seale Britt took over..

    When parts of Hattiesburg started “going South,” I saw workers removing the porcelain 2ft.x2ft. panels that
    fronted the parlor. Half of the original panels had been removed either by vandals or were lost due to bonding agents failing. It appeared that roofing pitch was used to attach these heavy panels which weighed #25 each. There was no attempt to safely remove the panels and the sidewalk was littered with broken shards. I was able to purchase three panels that were not damaged. As I recall, the interior décor was as impressive as any that that I now see on e-Bay. I don’t recall New York Chocolate Egg Cream Soda on the menu in Hattiesburg, however..


  6. The Seale-Lily ice cream store was indeed located where Car Care Clinic is now. I have fond memories of going there in the early 60’s with my parents for banana splits. My parents sold many of those wax cups with the wooden spoons at the concession stand they operated at the State Board of Health building across from the University Hospital. Happy childhood memories of Seale-Lily.


  7. from snowbound upstate ny (near rochester), i’m sorry to see the deep south suffering from more ‘winter whites’. at the moment, our temps here have been in the teens for days, and, at nights, they are near zero. there is about 3′ of snow everywhere, and there are piles up to 20′ feet when snowplows have ‘left their work’.

    very much enjoyed the post, with ‘viewer comments’, on seale-lily ice cream shops. mr gentry’s comments brought back many memories since I am a native of hattiesburg. my first home there was on near-by short bay street, a very short walk from that flourishing (and varied) 1940s/50s business district on south main street between the railroad tracks and (long) bay street. (everyone in hattiesburg paid their utility bills at wilmut oil and gas–a handsome building— and many folks had their shoes and leather items repaired at mr skeetz’s shoe shop–there was even a sr and jr…)

    i had many an ice cream item in seale-lily store as a child–the effect was ‘moderne’ rather than art deco (cream, pink, pale green?), to be architecturally fussy–and, even when my family moved in 1954 to the neighborhood now called ‘the oaks’, we would often ‘go across town’ to get ice cream at seale-lily.

    i also spent time in front of the blue ribbon bakery (next door to seale-lily) watching their cake decorator ‘par excellence’, helen (was it culpepper? i am straining my memory) practicing her craft. i suspect mr gentry remembers this establishment.

    of course, i remember the britts, but i didn’t know mrs britt was a seale; was the seale-lily store in hattiesburg the ‘first’ in this chain? did the britts buy the business from mrs britt’s seale family? jack seale (mentioned by mr gentry)? and, where, other than jackson, were other branches? wnen might the hattiesburg store have opened?

    and, yes, i do remember mr woody assaf—met him on several occasions. wasn’t his family from lebanon or syria?

    finally, sadly, i never knew of the pineapple (ice cream) malts which mr gentry mentioned; i know i would have enjoyed such! wish i had the makings for an attempted copy right now, even in this cold!


    • Ed~
      How are you related to Helen Polk Clark who died with her two children on 16DEC1960 as the result of the mid-air collision and crash between the TWA and United Air Lines planes over NYC? At sometime we must have crossed paths in South Hattiesburg and beyond.


      • hey, thomas—i have been thinking the same thing! tried to find out a bit about you on net— i am 70, and are you 77? course, know burkett’s metalworking, etc— helen polk clark berlind was my mother’s first cousin–so i was her third cousin— my grandfather, e. c. polk, was her mother’s(helen polk [dr richard] brother— my father had hospital pharmacy on hall ave– my mother was martha polk douglas— be in touch——————-


        • 77 yo, yes. My aunt, Mary Lois Burkett, was Richard and Helen Polk father’s nurse .until his untimely death–at a medical convention, I think. I had my mouth “mopped with mercuric chloride” by Dr. Clark on many occasions. My aunt celebrated her 104th birthday last week, being of sound mind but hard of hearing, and spends her days puling weeds from her daylily beds.


  8. https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsI enjoyed all the comments about “Seal-Lily Ice Cream”. I understand the “Frondren” connection also. However they had an “ice cream parlor” at he main facility in the corner of Griffith and N. Farish and across from Poindexter Park on West Capitol. Regards, Buzz Barnett


  9. to comment further about ice cream in the wintertime, north and south, when i moved up north in 1976, rochester had one of the snowiest winters on record–and, folks around here were amazed at my stories of ‘making snow cream’ on the few occasions in hattiesburg in the 1940s/50s/60s when there was enough snow on the ground to gather and bring inside and ‘doctor’— heavy cream, sugar, flavoring, sometimes food color. i attempted to do that here and was told that the snow was ‘too polluted’ to use for such a dish. and, now, all these years later, i’ll bet the snow outside here right now is even more polluted! but, yes, i do think of snow cream when it snows here for the first time each season!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I worked at the Seale Lily shop next to Batsons hardware from 1971 until 1974. I was 13 when I started ! I remember that there were wooden slat floors behind the counter. We scrubbed and bleached them weekly. The manager’s name was Mattie Myers. She was very strict with all the kids that worked there, but we knew she liked all of us. The shakes and malts were very good. I had several school buddies that worked there. The cones were 10,15, and 25 cents. Shakes were 35,45, and 55 cents !


  11. I saw a truck today in Florida unrelated to seal Lily ice cream. Nevertheless it brought up the memory. I knew Jack seal personally as a child . He was a member of bethel Baptist Church in Jackson Mississippi. I remember him as being direct and straight and to the point. He also seemed to be a kind person. By the way Bethel Baptist church never lacked for ice cream. His wife, Miss Dolly was also a friend of our family and an elegant person elegant person.


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