Please welcome the first installment of a new segment by Mike Engle!
Gordon Tindall’s Spud Boy Lunch
Wellington, Ohio 1927-2002
Storage in Gilbertsville, NY & Towanda, PA
Reopens in Lanesboro, MN May, 2012!
The Goodell diner was brought to Wellington, Ohio in the summer of 1927 by the Wellington Oil Company. One local resident believes that the diner was a used diner.
Frank Andrews was the first proprietor. Around 1929 the diner was owned by Van & Bessie Barbor. Sometime by the 1960s, Carl Ensign had control of the diner. Carl first worked at the diner as a night man in the late 1920s. By this time, the diner moved about 40 or 50 feet away from the gas station.
In later years, the diner would operate under the names Helen’s Diner, Village Diner and finally Cecil’s Trackside Diner. The diner was very pristine until the 1990s when the windows were unfortunately psysically cut out of the diner, and larger windows were added in their place. The exterior of the diner was also covered with vinyl siding and a roof was added above the diner, which, in a way, saved the roof from the elements. Unfortunately the edges of the original roof was sawed off. While this did not matter while the new roof was covering the diner, when the diner was brought to New York, the roof and the interior had become open to the elements.
By 2001, the diner became endangered. The owners of the structure wanted to demolish the diner to build a new building. Since no one wanted the diner in Wellington, I, Michael Engle paid to have the diner hauled to Gilbertsville, NY. Daniel Zilka and Toni Zeller came out from Rhode Island to help me detach the diner from the back building, without accepting any payment. Without them, the diner would not have been saved, as I did not have the ability to save the diner myself.
One thing lead to another, and a few years went by. Two changes in the location of my job made getting to Gilbertsville very difficult. Attempts to get the diner moved to where I was living were unfruitful. Thusly, I asked Gordon Tindall if he was interested in the diner and he said yes! So I gave the diner to Gordon Tindall, who was then living in Towanda, PA running the Red Rose Diner. Gordon, a true fan of the old time diners, fell in love with the diner from the day he saw it in Gilbertsville. He would work at the Red Rose Diner until 2 pm and then put in a good six hours on fixing up the diner.
The top photo is from when the diner was in Gilbertsville and the middle photo was taken about a year after Gordon got the diner, and started working his magic. Gordon got the exterior all fixed up after fixing the structure and was starting to work on the interior. While working on the interior, he hired a local retired sign painter, then 88 years old, to paint the exterior letters.
Later in 2008, the interior was starting to come into shape. Next he would tackle putting the counter back into place.
So now finally, after all the work Gordon has put into the diner, the Spud Boy Lunch will open up for business again in May of 2012. After having the diner in Minnesota for about three years, he was finally able to satisfy the officials in Minnesota. Residents in Lanesboro were initially hesitant about the diner and two pieces that would come along with the diner. But the town has warmed up and seems to be highly anticipating the diner’s opening in May. On a side note,the two pieces were the outhouse buildings Gordon and Val bought. One will house the bathroom, with real plumbing and the other will house a gift shop that will initially open on special occasions. The second is the neon sign. The sign came off a cafe and motel in Marion, MN. The sign either said Vacancy or Office, but Gordon fixed it up and had it painted as you see it in the bottom photo. Also, if you’re a fan of the 1950s television show, “Rocky Jones, Space Ranger,” you may recognize the font of the word “EAT.”
Very impressive restoration!
We have a second home in Lanesboro, Minnesota. As I walk down to the village from the top of Church, a couple of blocks from our cottage, I pass a faded blue 1951 Hudson Hornet belonging to Gordon Tindall. Today we ate at Spud Boy’s – cheeseburger, slaw, apple pie, all washed down with classic diner coffee. He does a nice job and seems to be doing well among fierce competition.
I would like to see your diner in operation – next week.
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