The College Park Little Tavern

The Little Tavern at 7413 Baltimore Ave College Park, MD, was built around 1940 (some sources say 1938, others 1941. Little Tavern Shops started their expansion into Maryland suburbs in the late 1930s), and is slated to come down very soon.

The College Park LT in the late 1940s, on the far left.
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In the 1970s. Little Tavern fed hungry Terps for more than half a century.
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After Little Tavern went out of business in the early 1990s (read about the life and death of the Little Tavern chain on some of the other posts on this blog), the building operated as a Toddle House, the Philadelphia Cheesecake Factory, Curry Express and JD’s Roadhouse Barbecue. It has been vacant nearly a decade.

As of 2011, the awning still showed signs of its stint in the early 1990s as a Toddle House. The Little Tavern’s architecture suited Toddle House, whose early buildings were a similar cottage style. Their buildings later grew- the current College Park Diner, down Rt. 1, was originally a 1960s Toddle House.
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The interior of the building suffered through the tenant changes of 1990s and 2000s, with the original tilework, custom built Monel backbar, stools and counters being replaced with whatever was cheapest from the hardware store.
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Now, with rapid development of the historic district of College Park, and ownership of the land by the University of Maryland, the historic structure will be demolished to make way for a “pocket park” with parking for food trucks.
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The Polar Bear and the Barrel – Great Falls, Montana

Polar Bear Building – 900 Central Ave W, Great Falls, MT
Currently for sale, this building appears to have last housed “Cash Converters”. What was it originally? An ice cream stand? Whatever it was, the building itself has been remodeled and covered over. It’s surprising and fortunate that the iceberg and polar bear on top has survived.

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Barrel O’Bucks
527 Central Ave W, Great Falls, MT 59404

This looks like it was originally a fully barrel shaped building which was gradually added onto over the years. The question is – what was it originally?
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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 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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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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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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