American Roadside and other things

Thanks to Ron Dylewski of The American Roadside http://www.theamericanroadside.com/  for mentioning this blog. We may be doing some cross-overs in the near future. You may also see this blog mentioned in Roadsideonline http://www.roadsideonline.com/index.php coming up as well as Roadsidefans yahoo groups http://groups.yahoo.com/group/roadsidefans/ too! We visited Don’s Diner in Plainville, MA as I stated I would the other day. It was a nice morning drive and I got to photograph the old gas station down the street from the diner near the Plainville/Attleboro town line on Rte. 1A. This place is a one of a kind octagonal building that has not sold gasoline for a while but is still owned by a local oil company. I will upload a photo soon. Had a very filling breakfast at Don’s although none of the Perreault family were in attendance. We strolled around the Wrentham Village Premium Outlet Mall just to check it out, it is huge!!! There wasn’t much open at 8:00 am except the restaurants attached to the complex. I noticed driving back up Rte. 1A the former Karol’s, an old roadside bar (in Walpole near the Norwood line) that had been closed for years reopened as some sort of restaurant. But more importantly the old Krueger Ale neon sign that used to hang off the building was gone. I’m glad I photographed that a few years ago!

Notes from the Hotline

My buddy Steve Repucci recently took a trip out to Kansas for the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) race finals, where he crewed for our friend Ed Womer who races Formula V.
On the way out to Kansas, Steve stopped at The Red Rose Diner in Towanda, PA and met my old friend Gordon Tindall. Steve then went on to Columbus, Ohio to stay the night at his wife Mary Lou’s niece’s house. While in Columbus he saw 2 Valentine diners and the one on Countrywide Blvd. looks to be in danger of demolition.

I contacted Steve Harwin of Diversified Diners (Cleveland, OH) and let him know about the Valentine. He actually got back to me within a few days and said he knew of the diner and had been in contact with the owners within the last year but they were not sure what they were going to do with the diner. He said he really could not do anything about it right now because he just moved the former Venus Diner from Gibsonia, PA to his yard to start restoration for resale and did not have the room for any other diner right now. Here is a link to a Randy Flowerday photo of the Venus at Ron Saari’s Dinercity website  http://www.dinercity.com/paDiner/venusExtM.jpg
If that link does not get you there try  http://www.dinercity.com/paDiner/westPA.html  and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Ironically, David Hebb from Cambridge, Mass. also took a Pennsylvania trip and saw the Venus Diner ready for its move to Cleveland.

Don’s Diner

I am going to visit Don’s Diner in Plainville, Mass. this weekend. As the weather does not look too good for Saturday, Denise (my wife) and I are going to go down on Sunday morning for breakfast. This is a diner I’ve only eaten at a handful of times over the years and I want to remedy this! It was a beautiful 1950’s vintage stainless steel Mountain View Diner when I first photographed it in 1981. Since around 1991 or so the exterior has been covered with a mansard roof and vinyl siding but leaving the interior virtually all original. I have to say personally I have never seen the need to do this to a vintage diner, but again I am not the owner so I won’t second guess their decision.

Speaking of the owners, I have been in touch recently with Phyllis Perreault whose father-in-law was the 1st “Don” of Don’s Diner. He bought the original diner in 1936 when it was called Alicia’s Diner. A 9-stool Worcester Lunch Car with no booths, he renamed it Don’s and operated this diner until a fire claimed it circa 1961. The family then bought the former Mancini’s Service Diner  a 1946 vintage Worcester and moved it from Providence to replace the old diner. This diner was again replaced with the current Mountain View in 1969. This diner was formerly the Minute Man Diner and was located on Rte. 1 in Attleboro. They have a nice website (which was designed by Phyllis’ son Don) where you can see some pictures of the diner  and some other info. You can find it at   http://donsdiner.com

Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting down to the diner on Sunday, although Phyllis will not be there so it looks like I’ll get to meet her on the next visit!