I’ve been looking now for about two years for an abandoned Silk City diner that is supposedly in storage somewhere outside Livingston. There was a photo on flickr (now gone) of it sticking out behind some trees, and almost no context. Livingston’s a network of ranches and winding dirt roads. You could look for a long time and I have. But hey, it’s gotten me onto those roads, and into some unusual places. Like behind the abandoned Melody on the road to Gardner, with this vintage trailer back behind as what I presume is part of the kitchen.
I just got back from a couple of days in South Dakota, hunting for vintage clothing for my store, Vintage Haberdashers, and seeing the sights. SoDak is a land of stunning natural beauty and wonderfully old fashioned tourist traps. These roadside destinations were populated by an amazing array of characters, re-purposed department store mannequins, aging wax figures, secondhand animatronics, and statuary.
510 Main St, Wall, SD 57790
Pioneer Auto Museum
503 5th St, Murdo, SD 57559
Interstate 90, Midland, SD 57552
Here’s another shot from my collection. It’s by the same photographer as yesterday’s post, and like the other picture, was taken from a moving car and developed in February of 1969. Captioned Newark, NJ, although Kevin Patrick has corrected the photographer’s location, with the address 156 Spring Street, Elizabeth, NJ.
Even though the Garden State was only about 20 years old when this picture was taken (the equivalent of a diner built in the mid 1990s today), it’s seen better days, with broken and boarded windows throughout.
Halifax, Nova Scotia based artist Agela Carlsen is taking a six month roadtrip tour of the United States. She’s traveling around in “The Barter Van” and the trip is, as she puts it ” all about art, traveling and the vandwelling lifestyle”.
In Halifax, we were acquaintances. I liked her art, and we lived a few blocks apart and would run into each other on the street. I moved back from Halifax to Maryland a few months ago and couple of weeks ago, Angela sold her worldly possessions and moved into her big white Dodge, headed South. You can, and should, read about her adventures so far on her blog, The Barter Van.
Long story short, I invited her down to scenic Maryland to explore DC, Baltimore and the sights in between.
We had breakfast Tuesday at the Sunshine Store in Sunshine, MD. I’ve posted about it before, it’s close to the house and a true hidden roadside gem. Located in the back of an old gas station/general store, the Sunshine serves up some of the best breakfasts and burgers going. It’s small, just a couple stools and two old kitchen tables inside, and driving buy, unless you knew, you’d never give it a second glance. But boy, does it have great food, people and heaps of character. Angela tried scrapple for the first time and was very polite about it.
We took the metro to downtown Washington DC to do see the sights, starting with the Museum of Natural History.
Here’s one of the butterflies from their current exhibit. Such beautiful colors in the butterflies. You enter as tour groups to the butterfly chamber, filled with hundreds of butterflies. We couldn’t believe how quickly many of the people cycle through. Why is everyone always in such a hurry?
We had lunch at Lincoln’s Waffle Shop. Chicken and waffles, a Salmoln Cake and waffles, and a great chat with the son of the owners, who has been working there since ’95. We lamented the passing of the former location, a couple doors down the block, now sitting gutted and vacant.
We had a fantastic time, and between Halifax, art and Americana had a lot to discuss. You couldn’t ask for a better houseguest or a more fun traveler. Her next leg of the trip is to MO to catch up with Rt. 66 to start the great trek westward. Check in with her site for her progress, and if anyone has any suggestions, comments, or would like to help her out by bartering or donating to her trip, she’d love to hear from you.
Haussner’s opened in 1926 and served its last meal in 1999. My matchbook from it advertises its Bavarian Rathskeller and Haussner’s Bavarian Orchestra. The restaurant was famous for its art collection, which sold at auction after the restaurant closed for ten million dollars. As luck would have it, I spent the day a block down from Haussner’s at the Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival, so I took some pictures of the building.
Some recent additions to my collection. These photos were taken in 1965. There used to be quite a few trolley conversions in the mid atlantic (and elsewhere), but they just didn’t hold up as well as factory built diners. By the time they came into service as diners, most had served a full lifetime of service on the roads, so the condition was obviously not as good as a factory built diner. It took work, money and some jerry-rigging to change them over from transportation to food service. But they could be picked up and converted on the cheap, so they were a good way to get into the business. It seems most owners traded up to a proper factory built diner, or to a on-site construction once they had earned enough money to do so, so the trolleys didn’t survive very well.