Another trip back to the early 1980’s

As the cartoon character Mister Peabody used to say….. Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to the early 1980’s. Yes, I’m taking another trip back in time to show some photos of diners I documented back then. First up is a diner that is still going strong in Highspire, PA, a small town adjacent to Harrisburg.

Highspire Diner, 2nd Street, Highspire, PA

Highspire Diner, that’s Homer Alverado the owner at the time out in front,
photo circa March, 1982 by Larry Cultrera

Highspire Diner, photo circa March, 1982 by Larry Cultrera

This wonderful example of an early 1950 vintage Silk City Diner is almost pristine, even today! I believe the signage has changed since 1982, I especially like the word “Highspire” arched over the word “Diner” on the Coke sign. You don’t see that often but I believe it was unique to that area as I recall seeing other Coke signs down there with a similar lettering style.

Magnolia Diner, Rte. 40, Joppa, MD

Magnolia Diner, May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

Magnolia Diner, May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

This Mountain View Diner with unique “squared-off” corners was closed at the time of these photos. I am not sure it ever opened for business again. Not even sure it still exists. (I’m am sure Spencer Stewart might be able to enlighten us on the current status of this place). Later on that day, I photographed the Hightstown Diner (see below). Also Steve Repucci and I stopped in New York City and connected with John Baeder for the first face-to-face meeting we ever had with him. He was in the middle of a marathon rewrite for his Gas, Food and Lodging book that weekend. He took a quick break to come and meet us.

Colonial Diner, Main Street, Brockton, Mass.

Colonial Diner, early 1980’s photo by Larry Cultrera

Colonial Diner, early 1980’s photo by Larry Cultrera

The Colonial Diner was the last diner in downtown Brockton. It was a large Sterling Diner with monitor roof and stained glass windows (like Worcester Lunch Cars of similar vinatge). According to my notes it was torn down by 1993.

Forest Diner, Rte. 20, Auburn, Mass.

Forest Diner, early 1980’s photo by Larry Cultrera

Forest Diner, early 1980’s photo by Larry Cultrera

This diner originally operated as the Casu Diner in Turners Falls, Mass. It was moved to its second location in Auburn a few years later and operated as Lavalle’s Diner. I believe that location was taken by eminent domain possibly for I-290 (where it crossed Rte. 20) and the diner was then moved to this location adjacent to the Forest Motel. It was again sold in the late 1980’s and eventually made its way to Colchester, VT to become Libby’s Blue Line Diner. It is Worcester Lunch Car No. 838.

Cable Car Diner, Bank Street, Attleboro, Mass.

Cable Car Diner, Sept. 14, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera

Cable Car Diner, Sept. 14, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera

In the early 1980’s, Attleboro had 4 diners in the downtown area. This 1930’s Worcester Lunch Car had operated as Barney’s Diner prior to my first visit. This rare diner had a mirror-image back-bar to the normal Worcester configuration. the grill and refrigerator as well as the rest of the set-up was on the right end instead of the left. So the “blank” panel adjacent to the window (above the sign) is the location of the refrigerator. This diner was closed and moved in the late 1980’s.

Franklin Cafe, Mill Street, Attleboro, Mass.

Franklin Cafe, Sept. 14, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera

Franklin Cafe, Sept. 14, 1981 photo by Larry Cultrera

Here is another of the 4 Attleboro diners. This diner was originally called the Franklin Diner and was operated by the Morin family who currently run Morin’s Restaurant around the corner from this place. This was the only one of the 4 diners that was closed when I first visited the town. It was torn down by the late 1980’s.

Hightstown Diner, Mercer Street, Hightstown, NJ

Hightstown Diner, May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

Hightstown Diner, May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

The Hightstown Diner looks to be a 1950’s Kullman Diner in these photos. But in actuality, this is a 1940’s streamlined DeRaffele Diner that Kullman retooled in the 1950’s or early 60’s. The sign on the roof is noteworthy and can even be seen in a postcard image of the diner with its 1940’s appearance. The diner has since been stuccoed over and had a mansard added.

I was contacted by Terry Parliaros, one of the owners in the last couple of years and we had a couple of emails and possibly phone conversations if I recall. I sent him scans of these 2 images as well as 2 different postcards I have in the collection, 1 of the first incarnation, a 1930’s vintage barrel roofed Tierney Diner and the 1940’s vintage DeRaffele.

Since then I almost forgot about this incident until this week when I got a nice surprise in the mail. Terry sent along a newly created multi-page laminated menu (as well as a take out version) accompanied with a thank you note for sending the photos. I want to extend my thanks to Terry for sending these along and hope to take him up on his offer to visit the diner the next time I am down that way!  Here is a link to their website…., for some reason their Home Page is not working but the rest of the site is ok.

8 thoughts on “Another trip back to the early 1980’s

  1. Keep ’em coming, Larry. Love these.

    At the highspire, both the neon and plastic coke signs are still on the diner’s property, shoved down a narrow alley, rotting away. I’ve got some pics of them, I’ll see if I can find them.

    The Magnolia diner was closed in 1976 and never reopened. It was covered over sometime later with siding and was used as the office of the junkyard which surrounded it. It was demolished in 2009.

  2. Here’s what I’ve got on the magnolia from a Baltimore Sun article from 1982.

    “Saddest of all is the abandoned Magnola Diner father east on Route 40. A late forties or early fifties Mountain View, it closed six years ago when the owners retired. Specials, among them charcoal steaks, are still posted on the windows. The menu board is still inside and dishes are stacked on the counter as if awaiting phantom customers. But the scene in front tells another story. Tall grass and vines grow right up to the edge of the diner. It’s ringed by junk cars. The lofty electric sign in front is dimmed and its paint is flaking.”

    Here’s the full article:

    And here are some pics of the diner before its demolition. They’re from:, but on the site, they’re reduced, so I’m posting the image links as well so they’re a bit bigger.

  3. We used to live in Highspire, PA and when my mom would visit, she, my daughter and I would go to Highspire Diner almost every day . The waitress, Carol LOVED my daughter. Have a picture of Carol holding her somewhere. That would have been in Fall 1988 or 89.

    We also lived in Hightstown, NJ – don’t think I’ve even eaten at the diner though, but I know where it is.

    • Hi Amy, thanks for your memories about the Highspire Diner. I personally am glad that the diner is still operating. Hopefully I will be able to revisit it someday myself as the Harrisburg area is a favorite of mine!

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