Abandoned Luncheonettes

As I have stated recently, some of my favorite photos have been of “Closed” and/or “Abandoned” Diners! I have found quite a few over the years and I would like to share with my readers some of these. In fact I am contemplating possibly having a calendar made with some of these photos in the future.

The Abandoned Luncheonette, aka the Rosedale Diner
Kennilworth, PA

Of course the inspiration for all “Abandoned” Diner photos for me was the Cover photo of Daryl Hall & John Oates 1973 LP record album entitled Abandoned Luncheonette! The photo was of the former Rosedale Diner that operated in Pottstown,PA from around 1950 until the mid 1960’s. Here is  the shot from their album, which was recorded for Atlantic Records…

Here is my shot which everyone will recognize from my header at the top of my blog page. I shot this in 1982, around 9 years after the album came out.

Right after I started this blog I promised I would expand upon the story I originally wrote in 1991 for Randy Garbin’s Roadside Magazine on finding this diner. The piece was part of his “Diner Hunting” section he ran back in the early days of Roadside. I am still planning the update with a lot more background info on the diner including vintage photos from back when it operated. Hopefully I’ll find the time in the near future to do this story justice.

Murphy’s Diner – Haverhill, Mass.

One of the Abandoned diners I have previously mentioned in 2 posts was Murphy’s Diner, see last post and also this link to the earlier one…. https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/murphys-diner-lives-on/. This was one of my earliest “Abandoned” diners. A 1950 vintage Jerry O’Mahony diner.

The Rainbow Vet Diner – Hooksett, NH

This diner was moved from Manchester, NH into the woods just off the Rte. 28 Bypass in Hooksett, NH. This single-ended Sterling Streamliner was obviously there a while before I got to take this shot. There was almost nothing left of it. I photographed it on December 5, 1981. It lasted a few more years but was eventually demolished. 

Kingsley’s Diner – Mansfield, Mass.

This small Worcester Lunch Car was rotting away in someones back yard when I shot this in August of 1981. Probably long-gone by now.

“Closed” Diner – Webster, Mass.

This is another old Worcester Car that was demolished not long after I shot this photo. I believe the building behind it (kitchen?) still exists but there is another small building where the diner is that was operating as a barbershop. This was right near the Webster – Dudley town line. Barry Henley informed me this was possibly called Ben’s Diner when it operated.

Gateway Diner – Phillipsburg, NJ

On my way back from Harrisburg, PA in early 1981, I was travelling along Rte. 22. Right after you crossed the state line from Easton, PA to Phillipsburg, NJ, this was on the west side of the road. I took this shot from the median strip. This diner was one of the first transported to England (circa 1982). It remained in storage for years there but is now in the Netherlands after operating for a short time in Germany. See Roadside Online… http://www.roadsideonline.com/component/content/article/57-diner-finder-updates/6652-gateway-diner-moves-to-the-netherlands

Topper’s Diner – Dalton, PA

This diner actually operated somewhere nearby to this location before it was moved here. I do not know what happened, it was set-up on a foundation but the installation was never completed for whatever reasons. It was a good-sized diner that had a large kitchen (factory-built) as well as a large addition behind that section. I shot this July 16, 1984. A very late model O’Mahony diner.

Mac’s Diner – Boston, Mass.

Here is one wreck of a diner! My friend Becky Haletky said this old Worcester Lunch Car was actually in operation not long before I shot this in early 1981. Hard to believe! This was located on Columbus Avenue in the South End section of Boston, just off Massachusetts Avenue.

Midway Diner – Shrewsbury, Mass.

This was a “double-diner” made up of Worcester Lunch Car No. 636 on the left and Worcester Lunch Car No. 666 on the far right. No. 636 was originally Park’s Diner in Worcester and No. 666 was McDermott’s (Al Mac?) Warren Diner in Warren, RI first. I believe 666 had a fire and Worcester Lunch Car brought it back to the factory and fixed it back up to become a diningroom to 636 when it was moved from Worcester to Shrewsbury. These diners were separated within a couple of years of when I took this photo in 1981. 636 is currently in Vermont and 666 is in Andover, Mass. They are both in private hands and not operating.

(I’m not sure about this one) Diner? – Liverpool, PA

On a road trip down Rte. 11 (from Scranton to Harrisburg, PA) in March of 1990, we came across this little building. With its rounded corner posts and metal window frames, not to mention its oversized (almost cove style) overhang, I had to believe this was built by a diner manufacturer. Do not know anything about this other than it was filled with trash and other junk.

Monarch Diner – North Berwick, Maine

This was the former Monarch Diner that operated in Dover, NH. It was part of the chain run by the DeCola brothers based in Waltham, Mass. This diner was moved out of Dover to downtown North Berwick where it operated for a number of years under different owners (& different names) before being put into storage here, It currently is in another storage yard in Salisbury, Mass. (where the Miss Newport/Miss Mendon was being stored).

Depot Diner – Booth Bay, Maine

This little Worcester Lunch Car had originally operated in downtown Booth Bay prior to being moved to the Booth Bay Narrow Gauge Railroad site where it operated as a concession stand. In fact I knew of this diner’s existence by viewing an old slide that Dick Gutman had shot when it was still operating. Denise and I were spending a weekend in Booth Bay in 1992 when I tried to see if I could locate it. I realized the likely spot was the Narrow Gauge Railroad. When we went in we saw a small building that said it was the Depot Diner but it was built on-site. So I thought the diner was gone. We made it up to the back of the place where they had a large building housing a vintage car collection. I spoke with the older gentleman who was manning the info desk there and mentioned the old diner. He confirmed that the small building out front had replaced the diner. I asked if it was torn down and he said… oh no, they dragged it up into the woods adjacent to where we were and pointed in the direction of where it was. I ran back to my car and grabbed my camera and trekked into the woods to take some photos.

Glenwood Diner – Auburn, Mass.

This monitor-roofed Worcester Lunch Car was located at the Auburn – Worcester town line on Rte. 12. It was previously located on Rte. 20 in Shrewsbury. The Edgemere Diner took its place there. I photographed it on September 26, 1981 and by sometime in 1982, it was gone.

Abandoned Silk City diner – Berlin, NY

This was located in a field off Rte. 22 in Berlin, NY. I photographed it a couple of times, the first being on July 20, 1983. As far as I know, it was still there in 1992.

Miss Jersey City Diner – Jersey City, NJ

This was closed and vandalized across from a large public housing project in Jersey City, photo was taken November, 1984. It is a rare model Silk City diner. I know of only 2 others, the West Shore Diner in Lemoyne, PA and another diner that operated as Gordy’s Diner in Casselton, ND. (Gordy’s is currently in storage somewhere in Montana). I assume the Miss Jersey City has gone to “Diner Heaven”.

Kenny’s Diner – Haverhill, Mass.

This Worcester Lunch Car has been closed more than it has been open since the early 1980’s. I first photographed it in 1981. It has operated breifly as Alley Oop’s Diner in the mid-to-late 1980’s and as the Lindsay Rose Diner in the early 1990’s.

Bob’s Diner – Ashland, Mass.

Bob’s Diner had operated in  East Bridgewater, Mass. from 1933 (original name – Brady’s Diner) until 1978 when it was moved to this storage site in Ashland. It was rehabbed in the late 1980’s by Tim Hanna of Ken’s Steak House. He operated it for a couple of years as Timmy’s Diner. Currently in storage. Worcester Lunch Car No. 711.

Hodgins Diner – York Beach, Maine

This was one of the oldest Worcester Lunch Cars in existence according to Richard Gutman’s “Worcester Lunch Car Company” book. It basically rotted away. Luckily, Dave Waller salvaged some key pieces from this before it totally collapsed. In all my years going up to York, I never recall this open for business.

Ray’s Diner – Fitchburg, Mass.

This 1950’s vintage Fodero diner was sitting in a farmyard when I photographed it on August 4, 1994. It formerly operated at a site on River Street in Fitchburg. I was told it had become either a lounge or nightclub, (hence, the remnants of black paint on the stainless steel skin) before being moved here sometime in the 1960’s. There was little or no back wall or interior and it was being used to store lumber and various junk.

Steve’s Diner – Clinton, Mass.

This old Worcester Lunch Car  had the remnants of 2 signs on the roof. The one on the top layer said Steve’s Diner and the bottom layer said Turini’s Diner. I believe Lou Turini of Lou’s Diner (also of Clinton) had operated out of this diner before moving to the current one that has his name. This photo was also shot in 1981 and the diner was gone within a couple of years. A small park is now on this location.

Vree’s Sterling Diner – Saugus, MA

This was a modified Sterling Diner (non-streamlined) that was located on the Lynn Marsh Road (Rte. 107) near the Lynn / Saugus townline. It had larger windows installed sometime in the 1960’s and the end-roof overhangs were chopped off. The addition on the right had more counter seating as well as booth service. It had not been open for business since 1970 or so. This photo was shot within a year of its demolition (2004). If you look at the 3 windows on the extreme left, you can see that they are pretty well distorted due to walls bowing out causing the roof to collapse.

48 thoughts on “Abandoned Luncheonettes

  1. Interesting article on abandoned diners, Larry.

    I grew up in York Beach and remember the diner there being open in the 60’s. I had the paper route around the Nubble and used to stop on my way.

    Oddly enough, Tom Hodgins just passed away this week


    The obit references Pappy’s Diner which I don’t recall being the name, but Tom certainly ran the diner in question.

    I’ll also email you a photo of an abandoned diner just south of Albany that I found last fall.


    • My father owned a Diner by they Fire station in York Beach in the 1940’s and I often wondered what happened to it. It was near where you go into the Animal Farm now. I have one pic from a newspaper and they were also trying to find out some thing about it. A Mr. Thurston ran it for him.

      • That is interesting!

        I grew up in the York Beach fire station (late 1950’s thru the 60’s) and I have no recollection of a diner then.

        The Laughton’s owned the skating rink and the arcade at Short Sands and lived at the end of Broadway on the Nubble. Any relation?

        My mother lived at the Laughton’s on Broadway in the 30’s or 40’s, too.

        I’ll ask around when I get a chance to see if I can find out more. The photo from the paper would be very helpful.


  2. Several notes:

    I think the roof overhang on the Liverpool, PA diner was added later. This design makes it kind of look like an ice cream stand.

    The Berlin, NY Silk City was still around last I knew (might actually be in Petersburg) in a slightly different location, even worse shape, being used for storage.

    The “abandoned diner south of Albany” Ted Boardman mentioned is probably the Bridge Diner, the most original existing Bixler.

    Other abandoneds worth mentioning: the Rhinebeck Diner, in storage in Wappingers Falls, NY, and a Silk City (Birdseye twin) in Phoenicia, NY (Mike Engle took me to both of these.)

    And no longer there: the Paramount in Cambridge, NY that sat in sections, demonstrating the split construction method.

  3. Could you please forward your contact information i am intrested in the location and owner of the The Abandoned Luncheonette, aka the Rosedale Diner in Kennilworth, PA. We’re a Silk City diner in Philadelphia. silkcityphilly.com

  4. Looks like diner obituaries! FYI, The Glenwood Diner that you show in Auburn is #668 and was first known as the “Marie Theresa Diner” in Arlington and delivered the week of 7/24/30. It was reposessed and sold to a man named Jones as the Edgemere in 1935. I always wondered what happened to the original Edgemere, but it lasted longer than most.

  5. In case you aren’t aware too. Kingsley’s Diner is #601. I did a lot of snooping around in Mansfield and got a lot of hollow promises about getting an image of the diner when functioning. I had also been led to believe that it met it’s end in 1970. This diner replaced an American Eagle Cafe that had been at Main St. It was displaced in 1956 due to road construction and moved to 42-44 Chauncy St. extension.

  6. I saw a small Worcester Car around Middleborough, Kingston, Fall river area in MA area last year 2009. It was in a business parking lot up on blocks with a tarp over the roof.
    Have you heard of this one?
    I’m hunting on Google earth but cant spot its location. I was on business and wrote it down but have lost the info.
    A friend may be interested in it for a weekend business in NH.


  7. I would really like to get a photo of the old ‘Ray’s Diner” that was located on River Street, in Fitchburg. I got the one you took of it sitting in some farmyard. Would you happen to know of someone that has one when it was in it’s prime, in the 60s.

    • Myself, I would like to know more about Ray Beaulieau, the Ray of Ray’s Diners. he seemed to have his hand in quite a number of diners in the Fitchburg/Leominster area. Not sure, but he may have had some sort of chain but I haven’t been able to find much about Mr. Beaulieau.

      • Ray Beaulieu was my father in law, to my knowledge he only owned and operated Ray’s Diner on River St in Fitchburg, however I have seen in many of the historical diner car sites that he ran one in Gardner? That would be news to us. Most research of Ray and his diner leads us to fights, illegal gambling and a few fires. But I do not believe that he had any sort of diner chains.

      • Could it be another person with the name Ray Beaulieu? According to Richard Gutman’s Worcester Lunch Car Company book (Images of America) a person named Ray Beaulieu ran the former Gardner Diner for 4 years starting in 1956.

  8. I am interested in any information regarding the Bridge Diner. This diner was located on Davol Street in Fall River at the intersection with Brightman Street at the easterly end of the Brightman Street Bridge. Any info about when it closed and what happened to it? I can find info regarding Al Mac’s Diner which was located down the Street from the Bridge Diner. I believe it was sometimes called Russ McDermott’s Bridge Diner. (Not to be confused with Al McDermott’s Al Mac’s Diner).

    • John, I am sorry but I have never heard of that particular diner. Maybe someone else has and will see this and leave a comment. I sent you an email as well. Hope the info turns up.

    • I am also looking for info on the bridge diner. I remember eating there but can’t quite remember what it looked like. My friend met his wife there in the early 50s. She has recently passed away and he would like to find a picture of it. He thinks it might have been called Murphy’s Bridge diner.
      Have you tried http://history.utah.gov/about_us/board/documents/NR0906At.pdf
      Read history of the OMahony dining car #1107 section 8 pg5 #37

      • Bill, I’m not sure why you used that link other than the diner that is mentioned was formerly Al Mac’s Diner of Fall River. After it stopped being Al Mac’s it went to Middletown, RI to become Tommy’s Deluxe Diner. After its long stint in Rhode Island it was trucked out to its current location in Utah for a complete frame-up restoration…. the best I have ever seen.

      • section 8 page 5 footnote 37 states tommy borodemos remembers the diner being moved from davol street, where I remember the bridge diner having been, about 2 blocks from where Al Macs sits today on President ave. Didn’t offer this as proof, just to think of as possibility. Mr arruda mentions possibly bought and sold by Russ McDermott not Al McDermott.

    • Hi John…what do you want to know? I used to work there many years ago. I knew most of the crew–a fascinating bunch if ever there was one!

  9. There was a “Louis’ Diner” (working) I believe, a while ago, in Concord NH.. Some apparently bought it and carted it away. I can’t understand why a town wouldn’t try to get together and save these great old relics

    • I was part of the crew that removed that diner from Concord. Nobody else stepped up and it was going to be demolished as the nearby car dealership had bought the land and wanted it gone….fast. Otherwise it faced demo. My own cousin in that area was mad at me for taking his diner away but at least it still exists. It is in Richmond, VA now to be restored and active again. but we’ll see
      The rigger said it was the heaviest diner he had moved to that time and estimated it at 56,000 lbs.
      hopefully we will be able to visit it in Richmond in the future

    • Louis Diner had the best food anywhere; it was always packed. I went there with my family every weekend for my first 10 years and loved it. Great memories and very sad they just got rid of it like it was nothing important, because it was for many.

  10. The Luncheonette on rt724 near Pottstown is a real landmark! The river is just behind it and the guy who owned it was very testy when I went into it in the late 70’s or early 80’s can’t remember. I told him to contact people in the music industry and someone would buy it. I know it’s gone now but what happened to it? I was there in 2002 and it’s a park now. Did someone buy it? Or was it demolished?

    • Huddy’s on the Rocks was my grandparents diner! I just googled it to see what came up. Also got a obit from someone who worked there. She died in ’05 at 97!

  11. I am Glenn Parker a local history writer and recently did a blog on a Worcester Lunch Car that I captured from a 1917 picture…I wrote a small blip on the car but I really don’t know a lot about it…I have a picture that I will send on-line…Any help would be appreciated…you can view my blog at Google, Glenn R. Parker, Westborough….Boston & Albany Railroad ~Lunch Car…Thanks

  12. Hi, I’m producing a story about the old Monarch Diner and was wondering if I could use some of your photos of the old diners in the story? I would give you credit of course.
    Thanks, Cindy

  13. Larry, I am glad you posted the pic of Mac’s diner in Boston (Roxbury, actually) I believe it to be Worcester #613. Originally at 232 Old Colony, it seemed to have been displaced by a liquor store about 1936. The family that bought it had a liquor business in this area before prohibition and it seems they started back up after that experiment ended. the diner seemed to have disappeared in the mid ’30s. but the diner at 742 Columbus popped up at about 1938, there never having been anything there before. same configuration as #613. you wouldn’t happen to have a shot from the right end would you? this would absolutely confirm the identity of this unit. unusual in the sense that it only had two doors, one on each end, each accessible from the patron aisle, towards the front . here is what I have on it at 742 Columbus
    1938, Pilgrim Food Corp. “rest”, Livingston worked for them. First listing for this address
    1941, Columbus Diner Inc., Harold J. Livingston.
    1942-1947, Harold’s Diner, Harold J. Livingston (Antoinette J.). a Hartland Livingston was cntrmn in 1942-1943 and he lived as the same address as Harold in 1939. Livingstons lived in Arlington, at least in the early ‘40s.
    1948-1956, Sully’s Diner, George F. Sullivan.
    1958-1981, Mac’s Diner, Edward M. Mullen.

  14. Does anyone know where the exact location was
    in Dover, N.H. for the Monarch Diner?
    My older brother would frequent Stoney’s Diner in downtown Dover. It sat pretty much next to the railroad tracks that ran through Dover.
    There was a similar diner right across the street from Stoney’s Diner on Central Ave. and I’m wondering if that was the Monarch Diner.

    • Steven, you are correct, from what I know the Monarch was diagonally across the street from Stoney’s. Did you know it is currently in Portsmouth ad Me & Ollie’s Bakery Cafe next door to Water Country?

  15. The Midway Diner looks very similar to the old Briggs Diner In Boylston (at the intersection of Rts 140 and 70). I remember it the the early 70s.

  16. i’d like an update (if any) on the Abandoned Silk City diner, located in Berlin, NY, off route 22.

    Is it still there and any new *gasp* *abandoned pics ?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s