Former 9 & 20 Diner moves to Museum

The diner that operated as the Countryside Diner in Schodack, NY has been closed for a few years. More recently it had been reported that the diner was up on blocks and ready to move. In the past week or so the news came out that it has finally been moved.

9 & 20 Diner, copyright photo circa August 1981 by Larry Cultrera

I first came across this diner in an early diner hunting trip that was unfortunately left out of the diner log, (I had just started the log 7-28-1981). According to my earliest shots of this diner (above & below), I had been there in August 0f 1981. Anyway, it was operating as the 9 & 20 Diner which was appropriate considering its location at the junction of Rte’s 9 & 20 near Castleton on Hudson, south of Albany. Later in the 1980’s it was renamed the Countryside Diner but according to my notes it may have actually gone back to the 9 & 20 name by 2004.

9 & 20 Diner, copyright photo circa August 1981 by Larry Cultrera

I have read several news pieces as well as being alerted by Glenn Wells through the RoadsideFans yahoo group on the diners recent move. Here is the Albany Times Union story from Sunday May 31, 2009 telling the story…..

Diner moves to Duanesburg museum

Diner is addition to Duanesburg museum
By PAUL NELSON, Staff writer
First published in print: Sunday, May 31, 2009
DUANESBURG — With its peeling paint, the rusty old stainless steel and porcelain diner on Joseph Merli’s five-acre property on Route 20 might be mistaken for an eyesore. But to Merli, the 40-by-14 foot eatery he acquired from the village for $1 fits perfectly into his 1940s-themed Canal Street Station Village Museum.
Joseph J. Merli stands inside a vintage 1941 diner that once stood at
Route 9 and 20 in Rensselaer County. It will be incorporated into
Merli’s Canal Street Station Village museum in Duanesburg.
(John Carl D’Annibale / Times Union)

Renamed the Miss New York Central Diner, the structure will go nicely, he said, in front of the General Store at what will be the intersection of Market and Canal Streets, next to a charcoal gray restored locomotive. Before that happens, he and friends will spend at least a year refurbishing the former Country Side Diner, once a popular gathering place along Routes 9 and 20, Schodack.

Some of the bigger projects will include adding a complete kitchen with an old monitor-top General Electric refrigerator, steel cabinets and washbasin sinks. The renovations will be in sync with the time period. “I feel like I’m putting something back in America, representing the craftsman, and a time gone by that a lot of people remember,” said Merli, 58, a carriage builder by trade. The diner closed about four years ago and was removed to make way for a new diner, Merli said.

He credits Lucia Heavy Haulers and Becker Recovery in Schenectady with helping him transport the 10-ton structure to its new home on a flatbed truck on a trailer. The eatery stands on wooden blocks and features 15 bar stools and six booth seats. “This would be a typical diner you would find by the train station,” he said. It was manufactured by Paterson Vehicle, the same New Jersey company, that made the Miss Albany Diner on Broadway, Merli noted.

This vintage 1941 diner will be incorporated into the Canal Street
Station Village Museum in Duanesburg. It was last in service at
Routes 9 and 20 in Schodack. (John Carl D’Annibale / Times Union)

His diner will mostly be open for re-enactments and special seasonal events like farmers’ markets and car shows, he said. “It’s not going to be an everyday diner,” Merli added. “This is to leave behind for people to see when they drive through Route 20.” He says the roadway is a historic American highway.

Merli lives on the property with his girlfriend, Marilyn Miles. The village already includes a sparkling General Store where you can buy everything from textiles to bolts to penny candy. Nearby is an antique yard art 1947 Oldsmobile 98 that Merli said was typical of the kind of car you would see parked in front of a diner. “I’ve just always liked that time period,” he said.