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Opening Day at Carl’s is This Couple’s 16-Year Tradition

by | Apr 12, 2015 | Business

By Susan Larson and Robert A. Martin. Photo copyright Robert A. Martin.

With hot fudge sundaes in hand, Mandy and Eric Killmon of Spotsylvania County arrived at 8:15 a.m. Friday, Feb. 13, 2015 to be first in line for opening day at Carl’s Ice Cream in Fredericksburg, Va. For the past 16 years, the Massaponax-area couple has arrived early, only to be “second” three times.

Carl’s is named for owner Carl Sponseller, who started working in the frozen custard business in Pennsylvania in 1935, according to the National Register of Historic Places registration. He then worked for Beck’s Frozen Custard in Washington, D.C. In 1947, Carl and his wife Margaret moved to Fredericksburg, opening Carl’s Frozen Custard in an abandoned gas station and restaurant.

Carl had the current building constructed in 1953 by Ashton Skinner. It’s in the Streamline Moderne, or Art Moderne style, a late type of Art Deco architecture and design that emerged in the 1930s. Carl designed the neon sign on the roof, modeling the cone after the signature twist used to top off the custard-style soft-serve ice cream in the cones.

Carl’s is located at 2200 Princess Anne St. Be prepared before you go. The shop accepts only cash.

In 2013, Carl’s was listed on the PBS list “Readers Picks: The Best Ice Cream Shops in America.”

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