English Diner No. 1 – Salisbury, MD

 

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. ┬áIt appears that part of the dining room or kitchen still stands. photo EastMain.jpgA 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!

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Eastern Shore – Delaware and Maryland

These pics were sent to me by my friend, Susan Hormuth from a trip she took on the Eastern Shore in April of 1980. I’ll get text up later today.

Tom’s Diner. Route 50?- Easton, MD. Here are some more pictures, taken by Larry Cultrera, of Tom’s, taken about a year after these. Larry’s pictures are the only reference I can find to this one. I assume it must have closed a while ago for that to be the case.
I’ve tried locating the site by looking for the radio towers shown in the background. Rt 50 splits- 50 goes to the East of Easton, 322 (the Easton Parkway) goes to the west. The WEMD radio towers off the Easton parkway seem to look about the same, but the area has grown- all suburban houses and big box stores. If this is the right area, there’s no trace.
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How about that groovy plastic sign over the vestibule? And the freestanding neon’s pretty spectacular.
Green flexglas, stacked roof. Double-wide with factory kitchen and dining room.
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We think this Mountain View was somewhere between Salisbury and Assateague Island. The newspaper box is for a Delaware newspaper, but that would fit that location.
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Diner in Bridgeville, DE. It’s still there and looks to be in about the same shape as it was then. Here’s a picture taken two days ago by Randy Garbin. Here’s a post, with interior pictures, from when it was still operating back in 2005. It’s currently for sale. Call 302-628-8467.
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English’s Diner- Salisbury, Maryland
Here’s a shot of what it looked like when it closed.

I’m not positive which diner these interior shots go with. Anyone recognize it? Want to hazard a guess based on manufacturer and size?
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