DC / MD diner trip – May 24, 2009

This was my first real diner trip in a while. I met up today with Mike Engle, author of Diners of New York; the man behind NYdiners.com, and roadside buff and frequent Zippy the Pinhead contributor Ed Engel at the American City Diner, and headed out from there.

The first stop of the day was the American City Diner of 5532 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC. It’s a late ’80s Kullman, one of the early retro-styled diners, and one of the ones that did it right. For some photos as it appeared when new, click here. Since then, it’s been added on to, with a large side addition, and a front porch which obscures everything to the left of the vestibule.
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The Left side of the diner- 2009
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The left side of the diner – 1989
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The former Howard Theater. Great rusty marquis on this one.
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The now abandoned Wonderbread / Hostess Factory

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Ran into a little excitement along the way between these two stops, but all’s well that ends well.

Northeast Academy of Dance Neon sign. Look at the detail at the left hand corner of the sign.
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We hit up the Capital City Diner, which was moved here on the 20th. Watch the video of it being moved. This Silk City, formerly of Avoca New York, has made its way to the Trinidad neighborhood of Northeast DC.
Photos at its original location and some backstory can be found at :A Real Historic Diner Coming to DC!

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This next leg of the trip had some neat neon and signage

A&R Auto Parts
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Syd’s Drive In / Liquor
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Cross Roads
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Tesst theater
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Hyattsville Hardware / Franklin’s
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Calvert House
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Silver Spring’s old Canada Dry bottling plant
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A quick stop at the Silver Spring Tastee was made.

Now
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Then
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More old photos can be found here.

Then a side trip to Forest Glen, parts of which have deteriorated greatly since my last visit.
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Dinner at the Tastee Diner in Bethesda
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Then
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And the trip’s final stop at Bethesda’s former Little Tavern. A 1990 photo of it, when it was still a Little Tavern, can be found on the Diner Hotline.

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Wolfe’s Diner – Dillsburg, PA

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The outside of the diner. It appears as it did when new; a real time warp.

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Bikers at the diner

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The wonderful original neon sign. It still works. Hand painted signs advertise the $1.25 breakfast specials, Daily Specials and Lunch & Dinner.

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The original neon sign over the entrance.

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Jerry O’Mahony, Inc.
Dining Car Builders
Elizabeth, NJ

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The incredibly clean and well preserved interior of the diner.

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Sugar and Seeburg 200 Wall-o-matic. The 200 wall-matic was only made from 1955 to 1956, from what I’ve been able to find.

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“P_ _ H”

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Breakfast Specials (granted, this picture was taken three years ago or so, so prices have probably gone up) They were all ridiculously inexpensive, and what we had was excellent, and served in large portions.
#1 Two Extra large any style eggs, homefries, toast and jelly – $1.25
#2 Two Hotcakes and two strips of bacon – $1.95
#3 Cereal with milk and fruit juice – $1.25
#4 “Big Mess” – Three eggs, Homefries, onions, peppers and ham all mixed together, with toast – $3.95
Sausage Gravy and Biscuit – $2.50
Double order – $4.25
With Two eggs- $4.95

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A row of stools, terrazzo and formica

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Back-lit back painted Restrooms sign, inset into the stainless work

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Ford pickup rusting out back in the parking lot of Wolfe’s

My Art

I paint what I like.

Harold’s Furniture, Lebanon, PA.
Notice that the neon of the sign reads, “Furniture”, while the enamel reads Harolds. Photographed this one on a Lebanon diner trip. Unfortunately, most of the diners from that trip have now either been moved or are closed.

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Abandoned Silk Mill, Columbia, PA.
Saw this while driving down the highway on the way to Lancaster. Pulled off at the exit and took some quick snaps in the early morning mist. The roof’s long since caved in, and the entire thing’s fenced off. That’s probably a good idea, it looks about ready to fall down, and I’m sure there are enough people like me out there who are just curious and stupid enough to go in.
This is a fairly massive painting, done on a big piece of plywood. I finished in less than a week, working day and night at the Maryland Summer Center for the Arts at Salisbury University, to get it ready for a show.

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Abandoned Travel Trailer, Oatman, AZ
This is just outside tourist trap central, Oatman, Arizona, famous for its wild donkeys. The trailer’s an old model, filled with light wood and broken bottles.

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Music Store, Kingman, AZ
Kingman Arizona was the first stop of our Arizona trip. We stayed at a restored hotel across from the railroad tracks, owned by a French gentleman. The town’s a hotbed of neon.

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Nash, Cool Springs, AZ
A rusty old nash sitting outside the Cool Springs gas station, on the road from Kingman to Oatman, one of the most beautiful and winding stretches of road you’ll ever have the pleasure to drive.

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Gas pump detail (work in progress) Cool Springs, AZ
A detail from a large painting of a mobilgas pump at the Cool Springs Gas Station.

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Tiki
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Owl Diner – Lowell, MA
The most diner-enthusiast accommodating establishment I’ve visited. Homefries to die for. A great worcester semi-streamliner.
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Palace Diner – Maine
Hit the palace while it was closed, but took pictures, and did the drawing. The owner saw this drawing posted on Roadside, and got in touch with me about using it on their menu. Gave to go ahead, and never heard back after that.
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Diner – Winslow, AZ
Across the street from LaPosada. Closed.
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Diner – Winslow, AZ
It’s still for sale, all these years later.
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Motel- Holbrook, AZ – Painting won 2nd place at a Johns Hopkins art competition.
American Owned. Broken windows.
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Celebrating my win.
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