Some new acquisitions for the collection

I recently got a couple of additions to my collection. One item was a matchbook cover for a diner I used to frequent in the 1980’s and 90’s. The matchbook dates back to when it was operated under its original name. The other item was a photo of the very first Sterling Streamliner built by J.B. Judkins Company of Merrimac, Mass.

Fasano’s Diner matchbook cover


As the matchbook cover says, this diner was located in South Braintree, Mass. It was a 1964 vintage Fodero “colonial style” diner with large windows, a small stainless steel overhanging roof trim or parapet and perma-stone faced exterior. The interior featured a terrazzo floor, imatation wooden ceiling beams and a lot of wood grain formica.

By the time I started frequenting it in the early 1980’s it had become the Olympian Diner. This diner closed in the late 1990’s and was bought back by the original owners and moved into storage. Although they were thinking of finding a new operating loctaion for it, their plans did not come to fruition and sometime in the last few years it was resold and moved to another storage site near the New Hampshire border.

Olympian Diner, circa 1990’s prior to move.

Olympian Diner in storage, peeking out from behind the former Monarch Diner that operated in Dover, NH and Berwick, Maine.

Old photo of Yankee Flyer Diner


I also just got an interesting 1940’s vintage black & white photo of the Yankee Flyer Diner formerly of Nashua, NH. This photo was shot by someone named Yann DePierrefeu. According to what I have learned, Mr. DePierrefeu was fairly well educated and married into wealth. From what I was told, he basically was a man of leisure and galavanted around shooting photographs of anything that interested him. I’m told he was especially fond of railroad depots and documented quite a few of them with his photographs.

The photo of the Yankee Flyer Diner looks to be from the early 1940’s as the diner had a site-built entryway which did not come with the building when it left the J.B. Judkins Company in 1939.  This diner was the first streamliner model out of the Judkins factory and it was bought to replace a 1930 vintage Worcester Lunch Car that was previously on the site.

Here is a matchbook cover I got within the last few years showing this double-ended streamliner.

In Nashua the memory of this diner is still very strong even though it has been gone since the 1960’s I believe. Back about 15 years ago, a mural was painted on a blank wall that faced a municipal parking lot in downtown Nashua depicting the local landmark, ironically not far from where it operated.

Yankee Flyer mural in downtown Nashua, NH

Local Roadside Memories slide presentation


This is a busy year for me as far as slide presentations are concerned. In fact I have an unprecedented total of 3  scheduled for 2009! The first scheduled show is my Local Roadside Memories Powerpoint presentation, next month.

This is going to be for the Medford (Massachusetts) Historical Society. I just checked their website and it is a good thing I did. I thought the presentation was going to be at their headquarters on Governors Avenue but it turns out the venue is actually around the corner at the Medford Public Library on High Street. This presentation features  slides of various objects from my collection of memorabilia, vintage postcards and photos as well as my own photographs taken over the last 29 years. It could almost be called a travelogue of my adventures (or misadventures).

The presentation will be March 18, 2009 at 7:00 pm at the Medford Public Library, 111 High Street, Medford, Mass. (just to be clear, the Historical Society will hold a short business meeting before I start my presentation). For more info and a map you can go to the Medford Historical Society’s events page on their website

This same presentation will be shown at the Lynnfield (Mass.) Historical Society in May. I also have a new Powerpoint version of my Diner history slide show in the works which will be shown at the Somerville Museum for Historic Somerville (Mass.) in June. I will post the times, dates and addresses for these in the future.

Please visit my Tommy James page

I just started a new page to this blog which has nothing to do with diners or the roadside related places I usually write about. This  page is about one of my other long-time passions, Tommy James & the Shondells. I am a regular contributor to the Tommy James message board at his website and a bunch of us are advocating for Tommy and the band to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. So please check out this page (at the base of my Header) and help us get Tommy into the RRHOF!

New film about John Baeder coincides with the Retrospective Exhibition of his paintings

L-R, Filmmaker Curt Hahn, John Baeder and Kevin Grogan.
Grogan is the director of Atlanta’s Morris Art Museum and was instrumental in obtaining the grant money to finance the documentary.

Pleasant Journeys and Good Eats Along the Way is the retrospective exhibition of John Baeder’s wonderful paintings. Primarily featuring diners, John also points his lens/canvas at Taco trucks, hot dog wagons and other unique or everyday subjects that capture his muse. This retrospective has been shown at various galleries (including ones in Atlanta, Nashville, etc).

Now, to accompany the exhibit, a new documentary film has been made and will have it’s Premiere screening this coming Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 3:00 pm at the Tennessee State Museum. The Museum is located in Downtown Nashville at 5th Avenue & Deaderick Street You can call for directions  at 615-741-2692. Admission is free. The screening will be followed by a question and answer session with artist John Baeder and filmmaker Curt Hahn of Film House.

Below is a link to a small preview of the film from YouTube. I tried posting this clip here and found out that embedding of the image was disabled at the film maker’s request so check out this link to view it as well as 2 others.

This just added (2-23-09), here is a link to Curt Hahn’s Film House website where you can also view clips of the documentary as well as buy the DVD and posters of 3 of John’s paintings…

Star Diner finally reopens in Rumford, RI


I, like a lot of other people had seen recent mentions in the news of the rumored reopening of the Star Diner in Rumford, RI. This diner, 0riginally known as Keenan’s Diner is a 1950’s vintage DeRaffele diner that had operated for years (since the early 60’s I believe) as the China Star Restaurant. The diner was altered very little by the people running it as a Chinese restaurant. It retained most of it’s originality both inside and out. It was bought by the brother and sister team of Quentin Sanford and Bethany Sanford Smith a number of years ago and went through a minor restoration to be readied for a reopening, which unfortunately was delayed for quite some time.

Glenn Wells of RoadsideFans saw the aforementioned newspaper article and posted it on his Yahoo Groups messageboard. The article told about an independent movie being filmed at the diner recently and buried toward the end of the piece was the blurb that the diner was reopening.

I immediately heard from Paula Walsh who had emailed both myself and Gary Thomas asking what we knew. I told her she knew as much as I did. Well it looks like Paula did some investigating and emailed me yesterday that the diner is indeed open now. This diner is about the most pristine example of a DeRaffele diner of this vintage, probably rivaling the American Dream Diner in Harrisburg, PA (the first diner I ever shot a photo of)

Paula says the diner’s operating hours are as follows…

Monday – Wednesday: 6:00am to 2:00pm

Thursday – Saturday: 6:00am to 8:00pm

Sunday: 6:00am to 1:00pm

You can find this diner located at 140 Newport Avenue (Route 1A),
Rumford, RI, just south of Pawtucket. Phone number is 401-434-8899