The Camden Diner, Baltimore, MD

I just got in the negative for this photo- the Camden Diner. The diner was located at the corner of Howard and Pratt, by Camden Station. Nothing in the photo still stands, having been redeveloped for the convention center and for Camden Yards. The photo was taken on June 19, 1948. The diner doesn’t seem to have lasted long under this name, I can only find records of it as such from the late 1940s through early 1950s.
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The Mt. Penn Diner – Reading, PA

The Mt. Penn Glass Front Diner was located at the east end of the Lindbergh Viaduct in Reading, PA. It looks like it was located roughly at 2101 Howard Blvd, where Arner’s Family Restaurant is now. (A real estate listing for that restaurant can be found here). The diner is certainly an unusual one. The extreme width (for the pre-war period) is reminiscent of diners built by General and by Bixler, however the roof curvature and detailing is wrong. More than likely it was built on-site by a local contractor. I will give them credit, though, this is a well executed job if that’s what it is.

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This photo is from a menu I have in my collection dating from 1941. Some fun facts about the diner from that menu:
Do you know? That we employ 24 people in the diner, 24 hours.
Do you know? That we average over 25,000 patrons monthly.
Do you know? That this is America’s only Vitrolux Glass front diner and Pennsylvania’s Finest.
Do you know? That you have only a five (5) minute drive from the diner to the Chinese pagoda on the Sky Line Boulevard. (Dinerhunter note: It’s worth noting that they’re referring to it as a “Chinese” pagoda. Possibly to do with the Anti-Japanese sentiment of the war-time years.)

Quality food at the lowest possible price is our first consideration
We select all our employees, and instruct them to be civil, kind and thoughtful, even under the most trying circumstances.
We think you have a right to know the quality of food we are serving.

It may interest you to know: That we only use Idaho Potatoes – the world’s finest and that we served more than 60,000 pounds in 1940.
That all our french fried and julienne potatoes are cooked to order in our modern electric fryers.
That we use only the highest grade vegetable shortening for all our cooking and baking.
That in 1940 we used more than 100,000 Berks County fresh eggs, supplied by a reliable farmer. All our eggs are fried in pure dairy butter.

Do you know? That we used 6,000 pounds of creamery butter in 1940
That we served 215,000 cups of coffee the same year.
That we served 5,650 quarts of pure cream for coffee in 1940.
That we served 15,500 quarts of milk during the year 1940.

Do you know? That we grind our own hamburger fresh daily, from choice young beef rounds, and that we served more than 18 tons during 1940.
That we use Swift’s special bacon and choice beef.
That we use Heinz ketchup and tomato juice exclusively.
That we use Spanish onions- the sweetest in America.

We Do Know
That our success depends upon your satisfaction and your recommendation. . . If your food is not as you expect it to be, please oblige the management by having your waitress return same. We do appreciate your patronage.

Oriole Cafeterias – Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore’s Oriole Cafeterias still stand today, though you would probably never recognize them. Here they are, contrasted with original illustrations of the locations from 1947. The chain opened in 1922, with a fourth location at 22 Light Street. Going by city directories, this location didn’t last as long as others. The chain was defunct by 1975.

17 E. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD
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11 East North Avenue, Baltimore, MD
edit: The picture is of the Aurora Theatre. The Oriole stood directly to the left, a fragment of what remains of the building can be seen. It was originally the Peabody Theatre, which burned down in the early 1970s. More info.
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306 North Howard Street, Baltimore, MD
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Little Tavern Stools

Today was a big day for my Little Tavern collection. I picked up four new mugs, and eight stools. Three of the mugs are Jackson, one is Shenango. Four of the stools are from Washington No. 9 (1932, 5100 Georgia Ave NW) and four from Washington No. 15 (1936, 1200 Good Hope Rd SE).

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July 2012 Pennsylvania Diner Trip

The Prospect Diner has become our go to breakfast stop ever since it was taken over by Mike Conroy. It has become everything a diner should be. It’s a classic mid 1950s Kullman, a model transitioning into the space age. I think my first stop there was when I was about five years old, so you could say it’s been a tradition for a while. Every time we’ve been in, the diner is full of locals- always a good sign. The food is good, plentiful and inexpensive. I had chicken and biscuits, topped with sausage gravy. Side of (perfectly done) home fries, and coffee which, thanks to expert waitressing, never dipped beyond half empty.
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We traveled on from Columbia to Lancaster, passing the Columbia Diner, at 1725 Columbia Ave Lancaster, PA. It’s a remodeled ’50s Kullman, known as the Wheatland Diner from 1955 to 1973.
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Directly next door to the Columbia diner is this old McDonalds golden arch.
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A Frame. Bright’s Restaurant.
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Highlights of Ephrata, PA
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The main event, a meet up with Michael Engle and Glenn Wells at the Cloister Diner. The Cloister is a 1952 Silk City. It was remodeled in the 1960s. The end wall was removed to open the diner up to a dining room addition. The tile in the addition flows very nicely from the diner itself. Panels from the end wall were moved to replace the front door, which was also removed in the remodel. The original neon was kept on the roof during the remodeling, really the only hint from the exterior of what lies inside.

We were lucky enough to chat with the truly inspiring Elva Stauffer, the owner of the diner since 1972.
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Fresh homemade peach pie. It’s as good as it looks, believe me.
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With Glenn and Michael.
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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

Trolley Conversions- Maryland and Virginia

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.

Maryland
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Maryland
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Virginia
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Virginia
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