English Diner No. 1 – Salisbury, MD

 

Thompson’s Diner opened in 1929 at 209 East Main Street, Salisbury, Maryland. The barrel roofed diner was bought by Jack English in either 1934 or 1936, depending on the source, and was the first of what was to be a diner empire on the Eastern Shore.

According to a 1967 article in the Salisbury Daily Times, “Mr. English, a Riverton farm boy who attended business college here by hose and buggy. . . worked in canneries, for Victor Talking Machine in Camden, NJ, and starting as an order boy for the American Stores Co. he became manager of the Philadelphia store, later becoming general manager of the New Jersey Area.

In the 1930s, the old 36 barrel roof was traded in on a large L-shaped double monitor roof graft, then again for an L shaped c.1947 O’Mahony “arrow” style diner. With its dining room addition, this diner sat 200. The diner survived long enough to make it into the guide in the back of Richard Gutman’s “American Diner Then and Now”, but has since been replaced with a mansard roofed brick office.  It appears that part of the dining room or kitchen still stands. photo EastMain.jpgA big thanks to Ed Engel for bringing the 1960s article to my attention. I’ve been searching for info to fill the gaps on the English Diner chain for years!

Delaware Diner, c.1976

 

Here’s a vintage slide from my collection. I don’t know the location of the diner, but there are some clues in the photo I’m working off of. First is the sign that says “Delaware SPCA”. That places the diner somewhere in Delaware. There is a sign that says “Bay Bridge, Rt 13 – 301″.  These two roads, both routes to the bridge, come close to each other near Newark, DE. The photo is 1970s, evidenced by both the cars, and the presence of the reproduction Liberty Bell on the back of the truck. Near the diner, there is a motel, a Shell station and a Gulf station.   Anyone remember this stretch of road or have any ideas? photo delaware.jpg

Paramount Diner Interior – NJ

Another old photo from my collection. This came from a lot of photos from a postcard company. It has the file number on the print, and on the back, but no location, name or caption.  There’s Taylor pork roll on the menu board, so a New Jersey location is a safe bet.  photo Image13-Copy-Copy.jpg

The Riverview Diner – Harrisburg, PA

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.

 photo riverviewpc.jpg

Photo courtesy Susan Holly Nichols
 photo 5057475950_1f35485f56_o.jpg

The Handy Diner – Harrisburg, PA

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.

The DeLite/Deluxe Diner – Harrisburg, PA

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.
 photo brill19291-Copy.jpg

Porter’s Diner – Harrisburg, PA

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

 photo porters-Copy-Copy.jpg photo porters-Copy2-Copy.jpg