Boyle’s Elm Tree Diner, winter 1986


Boyle’s Elm Tree Diner, February 1986 photo by Larry Cultrera

When I was looking for slides of the Park Street Diner last week, I came across some slides of Boyle’s Elm Tree Diner of Salem, Mass. I had not seen these images for some time and I decided to scan 2 of them because they were time exposures that I thought came out decently!

This diner was originally named the Pilgrim Diner and is Worcester Lunch Car No. 725. It was taken over by Don Boyle in the 1970’s I believe, and he renamed it the Elm Tree in honor of a diner his uncle formerly operated in nearby Lynn, Mass. for many years.

Boyle painted over the porcelain panels that had the word “Pilgrim” as you can see in the photos, replicating the “old english” font for the Elm Tree part and a script font for Boyle’s. The big difference was there were more words and the name had to be squeezed in to fit the space.


Boyle’s Elm Tree Diner, February 1986 photo by Larry Cultrera

The diner was almost completely original at this point in time other than the windows. I am not sure when this happened (I’m guessing 1960’s) but there had previously been jalousie windows installed to replace the double hung windows. These later windows had recently been replaced by full pane glass when I took these shots. The diner has since gone thru more changes with the removal of the orignal wooden booths and an auxiliary building was added to the back for more kitchen space. The back bar has been completely altered and the monel metal hood has been chopped back ( a real shame). The only decent thing that has happened is the original porcelain was “unpainted” so now it says “Pilgrim ” again.

I went and shot some new photos today (Sunday March 6) to show what the diner looks like today……


Pilgrim Diner, March 6, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera


Pilgrim Diner, March 6, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera

3 thoughts on “Boyle’s Elm Tree Diner, winter 1986

    • Spencer, Elizabeth’s photo is too close to see the actual roof. It is still a barrel roof but with the additions off the back there is a connection that is sort of visible from that tight angle that makes it appear different. They also extended the barrel on the left end to enclose the entrance door as a wind break.

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