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Ivar Haglund eats pancakes in Seattle waterfront syrup spill on February 6, 1947.

HistoryLink.org Essay 2507 : Printer-Friendly Format

On February 6, 1947, Ivar Haglund (1905-1985), the restaurateur famed for his escapades, folksinging, storytelling, and waterfront clam restaurant, eats pancakes out on the street in the midst of a tankcar spill of corn syrup. The photo taken of him circulates around the world and he is crowned the "Prince of Corn."

A railroad tank car at Alaskan Way and Columbia Street had ruptured a hose and more than 1,000 gallons of corn sweetener spilled onto the street. Haglund, ever the promoter of his Acres of Clams Restaurant on Pier 54 across the street, saw an opportunity. He quickly ordered a stack of pancakes and donned a pair of hip boots. When news photographers and reporters arrived at the scene, they found Haglund squatting in a lake of corn sweetener, spooning the syrup onto his breakfast pancakes.

The photo was picked up by wire services. "The Great Syrup Spill of 1947" and "the crown prince of corn" were news around the world.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 7, 1947, p. 11; Dave Stephens, Ivar: The Life and Times of Ivar Haglund (Seattle: Dunhill Publishing, 1986), 162.

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Ivar Haglund spooning syrup off the street onto pancakes, 1947
Courtesy Paul Dorpat

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