Jersey Junction old fashioned ice cream parlor was established in October of 1963 by Doris “Chris” VanAllsburg. Our shop is located in the heart of East Grand Rapids, nestled within beautiful Gaslight Village. The word “Jersey” originated from VanAllsburg’s father, who told her that Jersey cows produced the best milk and hence the best ice cream. The word “Junction” means a place where roads come together. Today, Jersey Junction is still a place for family and friends to come together and enjoy the best ice cream in town.
Gaslight Village is the area that was once the home to Ramona Park, a popular amusement park in operation from the late 1800’s to the early 1950’s. Jersey Junction is decorated with many old photos of Ramona Park.
Doris “Chris” VanAllsburg is the mother of author Chris VanAllsburg, who wrote and illustrated many children’s books including the Polar Express. When the movie premiered in Grand Rapids, Chris donated an autographed model of the Polar Express, displayed in the dining room of our shop. Another model of the Polar Express can be seen running along the ceiling of our shop.
Doris VanAllsburg was the first female City Commissioner in East Grand Rapids. In an effort to revitalize the business district, she introduced the name Gaslight Village and had 40 gaslight lamps installed in the area. Today, thanks to the efforts of Mari & Dave Beswick, the last functional original gaslight is still lit on the deck of Jersey Junction.
The extraordinary employees of Jersey Junction have gone through several changes to the work attire throughout the years. Framed and hanging on our wall is one of the original smocks worn at Jersey in the 1960’s, graciously donated by Mary Olivarez who is a former employee of Jersey herself.
See our model of Jersey Junction in our dining room. Complete with working lights and a train, just like the original. The display also explains the origin of the name ‘Jersey Junction’.
Our old fashioned school benches contain years of history, decorated with names of countless patrons that have come through the doors of Jersey to enjoy a treat. Feel free to sign your name on the bench. Please be respectful. No profanity or carving on the benches!!!