The Riverview Diner was located at 4105 Front Street, Harrisburg, PA. It appears to have been delivered by O’Mahony in 1946, although the diner is a prewar design and was probably placed in the early 1940s. It was owned by Davis S. Reed, who also owned the Handy Diner and the Palace Diner. The diner was removed from the site in 1990 and a Taco Bell was built in its place. The diner was restored, shipped over the Atlantic, and set up in Covent Garden, London, England as part of the Fat Boys diner chain. Here it is in that location. In 2001, it was again relocated, this time to the Bybrook Farm Garden Centre, Canterbury Road, Kennington, Ashford, Kent, UK. Pics from its current location.
The Handy Diner, 514 N. 3rd St. Harrisburg PA, was owned by Davis S. Reed and his wife, Sarah K. Reed, who also owned the Palace Diner on Second Street from 1943-1947 and the Riverview Diner at 4105 Front Street. I’m finding a lot of help wanted ads and the like for this one, but no photos or hard opening or closing dates. It was open under this name from around 1940 to 1947. If anyone has any more on this one, I’d love to see or hear it.
A Brill Steel Diner arrived in Harrisburg, PA on July 1, 1929 from the factory in Springfield, MA. Its installation was supervised by Robert H. Lewis of the J.G. Brill Co., who had been in Harrisburg on a sales trip in March of 1929. It was originally set up at 329 Walnut Street and cost $12,500. The diner was owned by Robert B. Brown of 259 Seneca Street, who had previously owned diners in Philadelphia. He operated the diner from 1929 until his suicide in 1933. His widow, Gertrude Brown, took over the diner and ran it until 1940, when the YMCA expanded their building onto the site and the diner was forced to move.
The newspapers and directories have a bit of confusion about the name. 1929, 1930, 1931 have it listed as the DeLuxe Diner. 1930 has the DeLite Diner at 239 Walnut. In 1933, the DeLite diner shows up at 325 Walnut Street, listed in the directory alongside the DeLuxe, still at 329 Walnut. Later, the DeLuxe Disappears from the listings and the DeLite begins to be listed at 329. Articles about the removal of the diner for the YMCA expansion alternately refer to it as the DeLuxe and the DeLite. “Deluxe” was a standard name for Brill Diners of the period.
Porters Diner was built by the Jerry O’Mahony Dining Car Company and opened on December 22, 1939. It was located at 3rd and North Streets. It has a blue and gray color scheme and seating for 48.
Porter also had a 1934 O’Mahony at the corner of Paxton and Cameron. That diner later became Seybold’s, then the East Shore.
A shot of the 1939 Porters can be seen here: http://beyondsecond.com/photos/view.php?id=4112
The ByPass Diner opened in Harrisburg in 1939. It was a converted Brill trolley, formerly Hershey Transit No. 8. It was purchased from Brill for $5500 by David L. Cronin and H.P. Collins. Was the diner wing of Brill ever converting old trolleys, or did they simply broker the sale? I’ve never heard of them doing either. The old trolley was replaced in 1953 by a shiny new DeRaffele Diner, placed slightly differently on the lot (1933 Herr St, whereas the trolley was at 1951 Herr- the difference can be seen in the photos). That diner still operates as the American Dream Diner.
The Lemoyne Diner opened on March 25, 1941 at the corner of Third and Market Street, Lemoyne, PA. It was built by the Jerry O’Mahony Dining Car Company and was originally owned by Robert Stanley Viguers. The diner closed in 1981. It sat “in storage” until 1990, when it was moved to Baltimore. It never opened there, and was moved to Providence, RI in 2002. It was moved to Ontario, Canada six years ago, and I haven’t heard any news of its restoration since. The Lemoyne was open for 40 years, and has been closed and traveling for 33.
The Club Diner was built by the Jerry O’Mahony Dining Car Company and opened on May 22, 1939. Its original owner was Harry H. Schell. The Club Diner is still in business, at 319 S 17th St, Harrisburg, PA. I’ve driven by several times, but never been inside, so I’m unclear whether the current diner is a greatly remodeled O’Mahony Monarch, or if it’s a later replacement. If anyone has interior shots, I’d love to see them.
The City Line Diner was located at 1946 Paxton Street, Harrisburg, PA. It was built by the Jerry O’Mahony Dining Car Company, and opened on October 25, 1940. It was originally owned by C.H. Wertz Jr. The diner sat 36, 22 at stools, and another 24 at six booths. It was painted the usual 1930s-1940s color scheme of white and green.
According to an article from the opening, at the time of its construction, this was one of the widest diners in Pennsylvania, which necessitated that its transport from New Jersey be entirely by truck, instead of the usual rail transport. Police had to close roads for its transportation, as it took up both lanes of the two lane highways upon which it traveled.
The Palace Diner opened on November 23, 1943 at 413 N. Second Street, Harrisburg, PA. It was built by the Jerry O’Mahony dining car company, who were careful to note that it was constructed entirely from pre-war materials. The diner was originally owned by David S. Reed, who at the time of this diner’s opening, had already owned 12 diners over the course of 20 years, in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In the late 1930s, Reed had managed Moore’s Diners in Reading, PA, a chain of four double Ward and Dickinson diner grafts. At the time, he also owned the Handy Diner, at 514 N. 3rd in Harrisburg.
His ownership of the palace lasted until 1947. It did a stint in 1947 as the Rose Diner, under the ownership of Rose and Frank D’Agostino. It was bought in early 1948 by Edward D. Coble, who changed the name to Coble’s Diner. There had previously been a Coble’s Diner at the corner of Front and Swatara Streets, which opened on May 11, 1940 and enlarged in October of 1941.
The Capitol Diner, located at 615 N. Cameron Street, in the shadow of the State Street Bridge, opened on October 2, 1940. It sat on a 10,000 square foot lot, roughly where the Goodwill donation is currently. The diner was built by the Jerry O’Mahony company of Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was originally owned by James S. Banford and Richard K. Enders. It had a brown paint scheme and sat 25, 17 at the counter and 8 at four deuce tables.
By the summer or 1941, directories list the lot as the site of a used car dealership, which it would remain for decades. It is unclear what became of the diner.