Ben and His Oldsmobile – Livingston, MT

Here’s an interesting photo from my collection that I picked up in Gallatin Gateway last year. A bit of research reveals Livingston as the location. Looks like these folks had quite the road trip, 32,000 miles on a set of tires, down at least as far as Tijuana and back. I’d love to know the stores. Looks like about a 1925 Olds. If you have more info on the exact year and model, please let me know in the comments!

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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!

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.
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The Penn Diner – New York City

I just got this (probably) 1950s slide of New York City’s Penn Diner. It replaced an older barrel roof model, but the neon transferred. The caption on the slide is in Japanese.

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Haussner’s Baltimore

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.

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Some info about a recreation of Haussner’s which appeared in Mad Men