Diners from my youth, part 2

Back in early November, I wrote about “Diners from my youth”. I mentioned all the diners I remember from my hometown of Medford, Mass, from the 1950’s and 60’s. In this post I am going to expand upon this subject and show images of those diners, but also of all the diners that I know were located in Medford through the years.

Carroll’s Colonial Dining Car

A month and a half ago I showed some pictures and shared some info on Medford’s longest running diner, Carroll’s Diner. So I won’t get into that except to show the exterior and interior postcards that they put out after the last version of the diner was installed. This was a 1961 vintage Swingle “Colonial” style, made up in an “L” shape with corner entryway.

Carroll’s Colonial Dining Car, exterior view circa 1962 post card

Carroll’s Colonial Dining Car, interior view circa 1962 post card

Bobbie’s Diner (originally Jack’s Diner)

Another diner I knew fairly well was located down the street from Carroll’s. It was called Bobbie’s Diner, a 1925 vintage Jerry O’Mahony diner located at 33 Mystic Avenue. It was at that location from the early 1950’s until it was torn down in the early 1980’s. Here is my one and only shot of it before it was dismantled and placed in a dumpster.

Bobbie’s Diner, copyright 1981, by Larry Cultrera

This same diner had been at another location in Medford for a number of years prior to World War II.
It was in the Haines Square section of Medford and operated as Jack’s Diner. Here is a shot of it when it was being moved into storage right before the war.

Jack’s Diner being moved from 1st location to storage, early 1940’s

Riverside Diner

Ironically Medford had another O’Mahony diner from the same vintage known as the Riverside Diner. This diner created quite a stir in 1948 when developers were creating the Medford Square Shopping area. The developers were the Mugar family, owners of Star Markets (a super market chain). Apparently, the businesses that were located on the section of Riverside Avenue in Medford Square that was being developed were given eviction notices a year or 2 before. The developers started enforcing the evictions in the summer of 1948. The Riverside Diner was located partially on city owned land and the rest of it was on a parcel that was owned by the developer.

According to reports from the Medford Mercury newspaper, the owner of the diner was holding out for some money because he had some debt. Basically he resisted the eviction. It went before the Board of Aldermen at one point when the developer fenced in their part of the diner. The Aldermen voted to be hands-off because they felt the problem was between the diner owner and the developer and they were not going to get into the middle of it. Anyway, by the end of August, 1948 the situation was resolved and the diner closed, which I believe at that point it was torn down. Here is a shot from my collection of the old Riverside Diner.

Riverside Diner, circa 1948

Star Lite Diner

The diner I frequented the most (besides Carroll’s) was the Star Lite Diner, Worcester Lunch Car #817. It was located further down Mystic Avenue from Bobbie’s, close to the town line with Somerville. It was installed in 1948 and closed abruptly in 1968. The reports are that the owners may have lost the business through gambling (unsubstantiated). It was removed from it’s site, possibly to a salvage yard in Chelsea never to operate again.

After I started photographing diners in the early 1980’s, I began my search for a photo of this diner, looking through newspaper microfilm and historical societies in Medford and Worcester without any luck. Finally in late 1991, a photo surfaced in a sponsor booklet put out by the Medford Police Relief Association with some old photos found in of all places, the Medford Police Headquarters. These photos were part of traffic studies done periodically over the years. Here is the photo of the Star Lite Diner right after installation in December of 1948.

Star Lite Diner, WLC # 817, December, 1948

Howard Rust’s Radamat

There were 2 unique diners for this area located in Medford from the late 40’s into the 1970’s. Built by Valentine Manufacturing Company out of Wichita, Kansas, they were part of a short lived chain called Howard Rust’s Radamat. From what I can tell there were supposed to be upwards of a dozen or more of these proposed for the immediate area but only 2 were known to actually exist.  One was located on the corner of Riverside Avenue and River Street in Medford Square, diagonally across from the Riverside Diner. This one lasted until circa 1959 or 60 when a professional building was built on the site. It last operated as the Humpty Dumpty Diner. The other was on Boston Avenue near Tufts University and had several names prior to being torn down by the early 1970’s. A very rare post card exists of the Medford Square diner. Steve Lintner, a diner buff from New Jersey sent a color xerox of it to me years ago and I identified it a year or so after I got it as being the one from the Square.

Howard Rust’s Radamat postcard circa 1950

Sherwood’s Diner

Another Worcester Diner (#755) was located briefly in Medford, circa 1940. It was called Sherwood’s Diner and it was located in the Wellington Circle area of Medford. The word is it was taken back by the Worcester Lunch Car Company after a couple of years and it then replaced another diner in Worcester. It operated until the early 70’s when the area it was in was developed for other uses. It went into storage briefly and then was moved to Route 12 in Auburn and was used as an Ice Cream stand for a short period. It is currently being rehabbed in Rhode Island for possible future use. Here is a shot of it from the 1980’s in Auburn.

Sherwood’s Diner, early to mid 1980’s, by Larry Cultrera

Misc. Medford Diners

I have found evidence of other diners located in Medford over the years. My dad use to tell me of a small diner that was located across Main Street from the Blue Eagle Market (our family business from 1932 to 1970). I cannot remember what it might have been called but my friend Steve Repucci came up with an old photograph that shows just a small piece of it. The photo was taken from the middle of Main Street at the intersection of Harvard Street looking south. The main focus was on the trolley that was in the shot.


If we look closer as we do in the following photo, just above the girl’s head and just below the “bowling” sign, you can see a little of the diner’s sign and a couple of windows of the diner sitting end-wise from the street. It is very frustrating but this is the only image I have found that sort of shows it was there.

Finally, here are 2 shots from the Tufts University archives showing a very small Worcester Lunch Car next door to Curtis Hall on the corner of Boston Avenue and College Avenue. The first photo taken from a distance shows the wagon with a bright paint job.

The second photo, a close up shows it with the paint worn off.