The signs of Butte, MT

I love Butte. It’s about 85 miles west of me, which in Montana terms is a hop skip and a jump.  Every time I go, I comb the streets and always find new and interesting things and always leave with the feeling that I’ve barely scratched the surface.  Butte is a city of hidden treasures, of tucked away secrets, of back rooms and second stories.

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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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The Summit Diner- Somerset, PA

While we’re on the topic of the Summit Diner, here are some photos, mainly of the interior, from the past six years.

July 2004- more or less as it came from the factory, with 40+ years of wear.
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Jan 2007- ceiling beams painted black, some reupholstered stools

2007- original wallpaper on far back wall. Fits with the colonial/western interior theme

2007

Jan 2008- new stools, new counters, formica replaced with diamondplate or quilted stainless, clock covered over with stainless and retro coca cola clock. Doors to kitchen replaced with stainless. Wagon wheel light fixtures replaced with stainless.

Jan 2008 – middle row of booths removed, replaced with retro boomerang formica topped tables. Back wall with original wallpaper painted over black, copies of magazines mentioning diner framed. Formica replaced with diamond plate aluminum or stainless. Woodwork painted black.

December 15, 2009

2009

More Halifax

Cousin’s Diner. Great food, nice owners, fast service, and a great looking place to boot. Certainly worth a stop if you’re ever in the area.
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Windsor Park Market. Old Pepsi and Kit Kat signs
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Armview Food Shop – Old Pepsi signs
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Old Coke Sign
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Transmission shop mural
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And, going past it today, I found that the Quincy’s neon is gone.
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Gatto Cycle Diner – Tarentum, PA

I visited this one the same day as Peppi’s, on a diner run up to Pittsburgh.  We hit it a little before the chili, which they are famous for, was ready, unfortunately, but the same day that it got a large spread in the local newspaper.

The Gatto Cycle Diner was built in 1949 by the Jerry O’Mahony Company. It is the same model as the Tastee Diner in Silver Spring, and like the Tastee, the original, matching factory kitchen, visible in the pictures of it as Digger’s, is no longer in existence. It is now attached to a Harley Davidson dealership, and is really secondary to the motorcycle shop.

It was abandoned for some time, and was in fairly poor shape by the time it was moved to Tarentum. Though it is obvious, at least to experienced eyes, that a good deal of the diner has been remodeled, it isn’t overblown, and looks essentially the part.

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Here is the diner as it was in its original location, in Butler, PA as Digger’s Diner.

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Photo Courtesy of TheAmericanRoadside

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Photo courtesy of TheAmericanRoadside

And as it was between locations.
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Olympic Confectionary – Halifax, Nova Scotia

My first lunch counter experience from my new home, and a great one at that. It’s located on Barrington St. , across the street from the train station. The two gentlemen in before us had been going to the Olympic every day for fifty years. It has been in the same family since the 1970s.

The breakfast was excellent, cooked on the small grill behind the counter, and was extremely inexpensive. The coffee was great, and was served in classic green and white diner mugs.
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March 1, 2010

The American City Diner – Washington DC

I have a couple more posts of these old slide scans to go.

The American City diner was built by Kullman in 1989, and was one of the first old style diners to be built. And it really nailed the look. Just take a look at the photos. With the exception of larger dimensions, the detailing and proportions were kept essentially the same as a ’40s model. It’s beauty was in its simplicity, the design was clean and beautiful. Based on pictures of them from when they were built, this one and the Silver Diner in Rockville are my two favorites from this era of diners.

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Photo is copyright Michael G. Stewart

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Photo is copyright Michael G. Stewart

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Photo is copyright Michael G. Stewart

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Photo is copyright Michael G. Stewart

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Photo is copyright Michael G. Stewart

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Photo is copyright Michael G. Stewart

And here’s how it looks now. An awning has been added, obscuring the roof stainless work. The roof has been painted blue and red, a signboard has been added to the vestibule. A googie-esque addition has been added to the left hand side, as has a now closed in patio seating area, entirely covering the diner to the left of the vestibule. Everything about the diner has so much added onto it that the diner that was installed in 1989 is hardly recognizable.

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