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. ┬áIt 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!

Letterman’s Diner- Kutztown, PA

We stopped here this morning for a second breakfast, a “short” stack of pancakes and a side of bacon for me, an order of eggs, bacon, homefries for my dad. My short stack turned out to be two excellent pancakes the size of platters, which even I couldn’t finish. The bacon was tasty, the coffee fresh, and the grillmanship exciting.

Outside view of the diner. Though an angled front facade has been added, the complete barrel roof is still visible. You can see where the original front sliding door once was.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Inside view of the diner. Lots of later changes, but the tile work on the counter, the ceiling and the vent hood are original.

Photobucket

It looks from this period photo, taken after the move, that a white painted flat ceiling was added, preserving the original wood barrel roofed ceiling underneath.
Photobucket

Original window at the front of the diner. The other window has been removed to make way for a larger front door.

Photobucket

The ceiling of the diner has this design painted where the seam trim of the ceiling (now missing) meet.
Photobucket

Dan’s Diner of Spencertown, NY- same design.
Photobucket

Vent hood
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

The owners of the diner say that this is the nation’s oldest Silk City, built in the very early 1930s. Can anyone confirm Silk City as the builder?

Manufacturer of the diner has been confirmed as a O’Mahony.

Compare to this interior photo of Dan’s Diner of Spencertown, NY. Same vent hood, same sliding door (though the Kutztown one’s is gone, it’s visible in the old photos, and the doublewide delete on the wall), and the same ornamentation on the ceiling
Photobucket


Letterman’s Diner @ Dine Indie

Letterman’s Diner MySpace