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.
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.
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
The ByPass Diner opened in Harrisburg in 1939. It was a converted Brill trolley, formerly Hershey Transit No. 8. It was purchased from Brill for $5500 by David L. Cronin and H.P. Collins. Was the diner wing of Brill ever converting old trolleys, or did they simply broker the sale? I’ve never heard of them doing either. The old trolley was replaced in 1953 by a shiny new DeRaffele Diner, placed slightly differently on the lot (1933 Herr St, whereas the trolley was at 1951 Herr- the difference can be seen in the photos). That diner still operates as the American Dream Diner.
The Club Diner was built by the Jerry O’Mahony Dining Car Company and opened on May 22, 1939. Its original owner was Harry H. Schell. The Club Diner is still in business, at 319 S 17th St, Harrisburg, PA. I’ve driven by several times, but never been inside, so I’m unclear whether the current diner is a greatly remodeled O’Mahony Monarch, or if it’s a later replacement. If anyone has interior shots, I’d love to see them.
The City Line Diner was located at 1946 Paxton Street, Harrisburg, PA. It was built by the Jerry O’Mahony Dining Car Company, and opened on October 25, 1940. It was originally owned by C.H. Wertz Jr. The diner sat 36, 22 at stools, and another 24 at six booths. It was painted the usual 1930s-1940s color scheme of white and green.
According to an article from the opening, at the time of its construction, this was one of the widest diners in Pennsylvania, which necessitated that its transport from New Jersey be entirely by truck, instead of the usual rail transport. Police had to close roads for its transportation, as it took up both lanes of the two lane highways upon which it traveled.
The Capitol Diner, located at 615 N. Cameron Street, in the shadow of the State Street Bridge, opened on October 2, 1940. It sat on a 10,000 square foot lot, roughly where the Goodwill donation is currently. The diner was built by the Jerry O’Mahony company of Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was originally owned by James S. Banford and Richard K. Enders. It had a brown paint scheme and sat 25, 17 at the counter and 8 at four deuce tables.
By the summer or 1941, directories list the lot as the site of a used car dealership, which it would remain for decades. It is unclear what became of the diner.
Despite generally crappy weather, my dad and his friend Steve Rogers, of http://lookingtowardportugal.blogspot.com/, went on a roadtrip from Washington DC to Harrisburg PA.
The West Shore Diner- Lemoyne, PA.
The West Shore is the earliest surviving Silk City diner, and so far as I can tell, the only surviving example of this model, with the demolition of the Miss Jersey City in the 1980s.
More photos of the West Shore can be found here and here.
Please note the narrow width of the diner, combined with the more extreme angles to the ceiling. It’s difficult to tell how much is original to the diner- interiorwise I would say not terribly much, but what is there is old enough to have a character of its own. I would have loved to have seen this diner when she was new.
Steve with an enormous, incredibly inexpensive plate of cream chipped beef
Wonderful WPA-era frieze of livestock on the side of the building in which the bison auction was held.
This was just a picture stop, but it has a nice neon.
State Street Bridge
The eagles were carved by one of my ancestors, Ira A. Correll, who also carved the “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother” at Boystown, NE in addition to many many more sculptures. Unfortunately, the bulk of his work was never signed, so it is difficult to track down.
American Dream Diner
Just down from Wolfe’s
Photos we took in 2006, during the installation of the then newly restored Tom Sawyer Diner. In the two and a half years since these pictures were taken, the Tom Sawyer housed a diner, a party bar, a Asian/ Mediterranean fusion restaurant called Konnichiwa, and a Mexican cantina.
The Tom Sawyer, a 1962 DeRaffele was originally located in Allentown, PA.
There are plans to replace the diner with an 18 story business complex.
Business owners take high-rise-development plan in stride
Tom Sawyer Diner- RIP 2006-2008
I hit this one up on a Harrisburg area road trip a few years back. It was built in 1953 by DeRaffele, and was previouly named the By-pass Diner. It’s a truly beautiful old place, with broad turquoise striping and gleaming stainless. It’s still very original, as you can see from the pictures. As of a couple years ago, the food and service matched the quality of the architecture. If you’re ever in the Harrisburg area, this one’s a must see.
The American Dream Diner is located at:
1933 Herr St
Harrisburg, PA 17103