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!

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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.

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Photo courtesy Susan Holly Nichols
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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

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The Lemoyne Diner, Lemoyne, PA

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.  photo lemoyne-Copy-Copy.jpg
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The Club Diner – Harrisburg, PA

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. photo clubdiner-Copy-Copy.jpg

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The City Line Diner, Harrisburg, PA

 

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 diner was replaced in 1956 with Mountain View no.478. It was demolished in 1981. photo cityline-Copy2-Copy.jpg

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The Capitol Diner, Harrisburg, PA

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.

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