ID these Little Taverns

I found these today in a box of other prints at an antique shop in Havre de Grace, Maryland. From the residue on the one print, it looks like they were originally from a sign company, mocking up billboards. It’s at the same time unfortunate, and extremely exciting to me that despite years of research, both archival and out on the road, these two locations are both unfamiliar to me.

There’s just enough context in them that it seems like one of you out there will be able to ID them.

The sign on the building to the left reads, “Joker’s Inn”, and it looks like the building to the left of that is a cleaners. The quality of the picture is just iffy enough that I can’t make out the street sign. It looks like a numbered street, though. The shot’s late 1960s.

EDIT: This Little Tavern has been ID’ed as Washington No. 26, Good Hope Road.

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Another one, also late ’60s, with a partial LT. With the bridge¬†and the stacks, I would think this one would be easier to ID.

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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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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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Buy ‘Em By The Bag

Little Tavern’s slogan used to be “Buy ‘Em By The Bag”.
I did, and I brought them back to the studio for some product shots. Mug is ’50s vintage.

The burgers came from the Laurel Tavern, formerly the Laurel location of the Little Tavern. They tracked down the original burger recipe and are still selling them, along with some really good fresh donuts. If you miss Little Tavern, take the trip, you won’t be disappointed. The building has lost its paneling, its neon and its interior, but they still deliver in the food department.

Laurel Tavern Donuts
115 Washington Boulevard Laurel, MD 20707

White Coffee Pot Restaurants – Baltimore, MD

This matchbook is from the Baltimore chain of White Coffee Pot restaurants. They operated in the Baltimore area from 1932 through to 1993. At one time, they had 33 locations. They’re all gone now, but at one time, they were all over Baltimore. They’ve come up a fair bit in my Little Tavern research, but I haven’t done any dedicated research into them directly as to their full history or locations.

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The Laurel Diner – Laurel, MD

The Laurel Diner opened c.1934. It originally operated in an early Silk City, with an unusual end-door setup. C. 1951/1952, this Silk City was moved to Baltimore to replace an old converted trolley diner. The Silk City was replaced with a brand new Comac Diner.

Like Outrider’s Diner, just down the road, the Laurel Diner was part diner, part bar. It looks like the Laurel also had an off-licence, as it advertised itself as a liquor store as well. It also owned a small two story brick motel, adjoining the diner.

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The diner acquired metal awnings in the 1980s. By that point, the neon “Chops” had been Changed to “Pizza”, and signage for the motel had been added. Also take note of the name change. It is still doing business as part of the local “Tastee Diner” chain. The large double signs have recently been repainted, but over the years, have lost all the sub-signage. Note the Little Tavern in the background of the night-shot.

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