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.
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.
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.A 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!
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
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.
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.
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.