As I am wont to do, I initiated a Google search on my name one day this past April and found it associated with an interesting research document. This document titled Post World War II Automobile Era Roadside Architecture in NH was prepared by Lisa Mausolf, a Preservation Consultant, under contract for Cumberland Farms (a New England Convenience store and gas station chain) as mitigation for the removal of Earl’s (Martin’s) Drive-In at 2 Flat Rock Bridge Road in Rochester, New Hampshire.

Cover of research document by Lisa Mausolf

Being curious as to why my name would come up in association with this document (although I had my suspicions), I started reading and found out that my New Hampshire Diners, Classic Granite State Eateries book was used as a reference on diners located in New Hampshire! Fair enough! I actually read the whole piece and was impressed with Lisa Mausolf’s research. In fact I believe this would actually make a decent “Coffee Table” book. As I read through, I found some interesting facts as well as corroboration of one or two things I had come across in years past, checking out roadside stuff in the Granite State.

One of the pieces of corroboration I discovered was about a former Drive-In Restaurant I learned about circa 1995 in Keene, New Hampshire. At that time it was operated as Gary’s Remember Then Drive-In. Located on Marlboro Street a few blocks off of Main Street, Gary’s was certainly a throw back with Car-Hop service. Denise & I went there at least three times after hearing about it. I spoke with the owner Gary once and told him how much I liked the place. He informed me that it was a former Dog N’ Suds Root Beer Drive-In. I was kind of puzzled about this surprising information as I had thought the Dog N’ Suds chain never made it this far east from its Mid-West roots. I did not contradict him but remained skeptical.

Gary’s Remember Then Drive-In, Keene, NH
August, 1995 photo by Larry Cultrera
Gary’s Remember Then Drive-In, Keene, NH
August, 1995 photo by Larry Cultrera

Well, in reading Lisa Mausolf’s research I noticed she included a newspaper ad from the mid-1960s for the Dog N’Suds in Keene, New Hampshire! Corroboration big time !!!!

Unfortunately, Gary’s only lasted a relatively short time as on a subsequent visit to Keene, possibly within 10 years after I first heard about it, I drove down Marlboro Street and found the building almost unrecognizable and operating as a Suzuki Auto Dealership. A more recent Google search has confirmed even the Suzuki dealership is long-gone and there is a Kickboxing School now in the building.

A Google Street View image of Kickboxing Keene.

The second piece of info I found of interest was the fact that the place I knew as Poor Pierre’s Restaurant in Nashua was originally opened circa 1967 as Mr. Hot Dog. The building itself looks to have been of on-site construction but may have been built as possibly either part of a chain of restaurants or at the very least marketed as a commercial structure for various uses.

Poor Pierre’s Restaurant, 303 Main Street in Nashua now closed permanently.
March 1, 2020 photo by Larry Cultrera

There is another building of the same design in Concord, New Hampshire that has housed other businesses in the past including restaurants, now currently operating as a Men’s Wearhouse store. As Ms. Mausolf states in her research, although the two buildings were built using a similar design, it is not actually known if they were related business -wise, or like I mentioned above, just offered to entrepreneurs as a viable commercial building.

Google Street View of the Men’s Wearhouse, Storrs Street in Concord, NH

In closing, I enjoyed reading this research report and have downloaded a pdf to keep as a reference. You can access the document at this link…. https://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/publications/documents/roadside_architecture.pdf

2 thoughts on “An interesting research document on Roadside Architecture in New Hampshire…

  1. Larry, I remember meeting you and your wife at Gary’s way back in the 90’s. You showed me your model of the Star Lite Diner. It was the coolest thing. Very detailed. After retiring, I made a Model of the Moran square. Not nearly as detailed but the new owner liked it. Now living in Central Florida where there are few diners. I did visit one on Palatka. Angels Dinning Car. Not sure of the manufacturer. Bet top dollar you know right off the bat. Also made a few O scale kits of 1941 Worcester diner if anyone may be interested.
    Miss New England
    Vic

    • Hi Vic, I believe Angel’s in Palatka is not a factory built diner. Possibly a trolley conversion from the photos I have seen

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