37 years down the road…

It is still hard to even wrap my brain around the fact that I took my very first “Diner” photograph 37 years ago on November 29, 1980! Although my interest in Diners goes back to the 1950s when I was around 5 or 6 years old, the groundwork for this first “Diner” photo op was a few months in the making. I had purchased a used 35mm camera in the summer of 1980 and started taking some scenic photos after being inspired by my pal Steve Repucci.

bypass-diner_11-29-1980
The Bypass Diner, Herr Street in Harrisburg, PA. The first “Diner”
photograph featuring my blue 1979 Chevy Van parked in front!

To backtrack a little, Steve and I crossed paths after I had started a new job in September of 1976 at Analogic Corporation in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Steve had been employed there since 1974. We became acquainted through our shared employment between 1976 and all thru 1977, but did not socialize much outside of work until June 24, 1978, when we had gone on a camping trip to the Lake George, NY area for a weekend.

After that weekend, we became fast friends and I soon learned of Steve’s passion for 35mm photography! At that time I had always had a Kodak Instamatic camera around just for taking snapshots. I was not an avid photographer at all. But seeing some of the photos that Steve shot inspired me to look at photography seriously as a new hobby.

In April of 1979, another critical high point came when I purchased my first brand-new vehicle, a 1979 Chevy Van. From 1971 until that April, I had always owned used vehicles which got me around adequately enough, but there was always that looming cloud of possible mechanical problems which could hinder long distance travel. In purchasing the new van, this cloud had finally dissipated! In fact during that year, Steve and I had started our weekly Sunday morning short road trips, usually stopping for breakfast at local diners. This got our heads wrapped around the idea of tailoring the Sunday morning ride destinations either driving to already known diners to just flat out exploring to find new places to have breakfast.

So with the purchase of the new van in 1979, this allowed me the opportunity to increase the scope of my traveling. And then with the subsequent purchase of my first 35mm camera, the stage was set that lead me to that first “Diner” photo! September of 1980, Steve had realized his plans of moving to Harrisburg, PA for a change of scene. A good friend of his from the U.S. Air Force, Ed Womer, lived there and gave Steve the incentive to relocate.

I was one of the people who helped in getting Steve moved (owning a van back then, I was always being asked to help people move). So this was my first time traveling to Pennsylvania. On that initial trip, I noticed a few diners while I was there, although I do not recall eating in any on that trip. It was the next time down over the long Thanksgiving Day weekend when I took that first shot of the Bypass Diner which was a mile or so from where Steve and Ed had their shared apartment. Nowadays, the Bypass Diner still exists although it has been operated as the American Dream Diner for many years.

Now that 37 years have elapsed and I have photographed over 860 diners in that time. I can’t help but think back on this personal trip, especially since I have been scanning all my slides and photos in earnest for the last 2 and 1/2 years, (I stopped using 35mm film and went fully digital in 2008). With this scanning project, I am building up my digital archive of photos. It seems that whenever I scan any particular photo, be that of a diner or any other miscellaneous subject, I tend to relive those days.

But really, it all started when I was a kid, living in Medford, Massachusetts. My dad Sebastian “Sam” Cultrera loved diners and was the guy who first told me about them. He brought me out to breakfast to places like the Star Lite Diner, on Mystic Ave. in Medford…

Star-5
The one and only photo of the Star Lite Diner known to exist.
This is my colorized version (using Photoshop).

The Star Lite was fairly close to my family’s meat market and I also used to ride the delivery bike from the store down to the diner for lunch. I recall playing tunes on the juke box and kibitzing with the owner Jim and his son Richie. They closed for their usual 2 week vacation in the summer of 1968 but unfortunately never reopened. The diner reportedly was moved to a salvage yard in nearby Chelsea, Massachusetts.

starlt3
My large scale scratch-built model of the Star Lite Diner.

We also frequented Bobbie’s Diner, also located on Mystic Ave. in Medford. My dad actually supplied hamburger meat and Italian Sausage to Bobbie’s Diner from our family meat market, the Blue Eagle Market.

Bobbie's-new-scan
My one and only photo of Bobbie’s Diner, not long before it
was demolished.

Bobbie's-2_July-1981
I was driving by one morning and saw that the diner had been
dismantled and placed in a dumpster.

Bobbie's-3_July-1981
The next day it was almost completely gone…

Later, when I became friends with David Hebb, he gave me one of his definitive photos of Bobbie’s Diner for my collection…

Bobbie's-Diner_David-Hebb-photo
David Hebb’s photo of Bobbie’s Diner from circa 1980 or so.

I have since learned a bit of the history of this diner and that it was located prior to World War II in Haines Square a commercial center just off the Fellsway in Medford.
It was originally known as Jack’s Diner. The family that owned it moved it in the early 1940s to the yard adjacent to their home for a few years before relocating it to Mystic Avenue where it again operated as Jack’s before being sold.

Jack's
Jack’s Diner being moved from Haines Square.

The last diner to operate in Medford was Carroll’s Colonial Dining Car, a circa 1961 vintage Swingle Diner. This replaced 2 earlier diners at its location on Main Street. I recall my family going for breakfast on Easter morning after church for a couple of years when this diner was brand new. Later, after graduating from high school, Carroll’s became the go-to hang out for my friends and I for quite a few years.

car2-82a
A night-time photo I shot in the winter of 1982

Carrolls-8-83
Carroll’s Diner, from a photo I shot in 1983.

Carroll’s closed in 1986 and was demolished to make way for a new office building. More recently the Carroll family opened a new restaurant a couple of blocks away just off Medford Square called Carroll’s Bar & Grill.

Carroll's-10_5-2-2012
Carroll’s Bar & Grill on Main Street in Medford Square.
May 5, 2012 photo by Larry Cultrera

When I started this trip 37 years ago, little did I know that it would eventually lead to me writing this blog as well as 2 books. I want to give a shout-out to all the friends I have made during this journey, chief among them, Richard J.S. Gutman, John Baeder, David Hebb and all the diner owners I have come to know personally. I wonder what the next decade or two might have in store???

 

 

Advertisements

Today marks 36 years since shooting my first “Diner” photograph!

November 29, 1980 is a very significant date in my life. I was visiting my pal Steve Repucci in Harrisburg, PA on the long Thanksgiving Day weekend. We had moved Steve down to Harrisburg on the previous Labor Day Weekend, which happened to be my first trip to that city and Pennsylvania as well. On the previous visit I noticed there were quite a few diners although I do not recall eating at one then. So this Thanksgiving trip was purely more of a pleasure trip. We arrived on the Friday after Thanksgiving (November 28th) and probably mellowed out after the 8 (or more) hour trip, which had been very tiring due to the heavy fog we encountered on I-81 between Scranton and Harrisburg. The next morning we drove over to the Bypass Diner which was fairly close to where Steve lived. I am not sure when I actually took this first tentative photo of the diner but am inclined to think it was after we had breakfast.

bypass-diner_11-29-1980
The Bypass Diner, Herr Street, Harrisburg, PA
November 29, 1980 photo by Larry Cultrera

With this one photo, I started a 36 year trek that has continued for many miles and quite a few vehicles. In the process, I have made countless friends along the way and by my estimate photographed over 860 diners! This process eventually included the creation of my long running regular column for the Society for Commercial Archeology Journal magazine (Diner Hotline) and this blog of the same name after I retired the column. The blog led me to the authoring of my two books… Classic Diners of Massachusetts and New Hampshire Diners, Classic Granite State Eateries, both published by The History Press.  I am currently attempting to scan all the 35mm prints and slides of diners I shot from November of 1980 until 2008 when I stopped using 35mm film and went totally digital with the purchase of my Pentax digital SLR.

Marking 35 years of documenting Diners!

bypass
The very first photo I ever shot of a diner… The Bypass Diner of Harrisburg, PA
(now known as the American Dream Diner).
November 29, 1980 photo by Larry Cultrera

Well, it’s Thanksgiving weekend, 2015. This means I am marking 35 years of documenting Diners with my photographs! The date of the first diner photograph I shot was November 29, 1980 when I was 27 years old. What led me up to that point started when I was very young, probably when I was around 5 or 6 years old. I was very observant as a child whenever my parents would be driving around our hometown of Medford, Massachusetts as well as the Greater Boston area, I noticed the different buildings and signs located along the roadside, whether it was in the city or out in the more rural areas. I certainly knew some things by sight such as Howard Johnson’s Restaurants with their cupolas and bright orange roofs (The Landmark for Hungry Americans, like the commercials said). Gas stations also stood out but what really ended up catching my eye was the abundance of these small buildings that looked somewhat like railroad cars. In fact I distinctly recall driving down Mystic Avenue in Medford with my dad and I asked him about this bright blue building sporting a rounded roof set back from the street. I asked him what the place was, remarking that it looked like a railroad car. Dad said that it was a diner, a type of restaurant that was built in a factory and was in fact designed to look like a railroad car. I later learned that the diner in question was in fact Worcester Lunch Car No. 817, the Star Lite Diner. This diner was delivered to its site at 383 Mystic Avenue on November 9, 1948. Its only owner operator was James S. Theodore (I knew him as Jim). I recall both Jim and his son Richie running the place when I first started going there with my dad and brothers when I was around 12 years old. In the summer of 1968 I recall the diner closed for their usual 2 week vacation and unfortunately never reopened! I was totally disappointed by this situation! I know the diner stayed closed for a short while and then was moved. I never exactly knew what happened but the rumor is that it was brought to a scrap-yard in nearby Chelsea, Mass. and to my knowledge was never put back into service!

Star-4
The Star Lite Diner, 383 Mystic Avenue, Medford, Massachusetts
December , 1948 photo courtesy of the Medford Police Dept. archives

I always noticed diners in my later travels and in fact continued to visit some including the Victoria Diner in Boston and Carroll’s Diner in Medford. In fact I used to hang-out at Carroll’s with a bunch of my friends in the early to mid 1970s. Both Carroll’s and the Victoria were more modern diners (in fact the most modern in the Boston area). Both of them were built by Swingle Diner Company out of Middlesex, NJ.

Carrolls-8-83
Carroll’s Diner, Medford, Mass. – August, 1983 photo by Larry Cultrera

victoria4
Victoria Diner, Boston, Mass. – July, 2004 photo by Larry Cultrera

Carroll’s closed in 1986 and was torn down in June of 1987 but the Victoria Diner is still operating!
Since 1980 I have personally photographed approximately 851 Diners! Not all are classic factory-built diners though. When I first started, I was sort of what I call a “Diner-Snob”. I only wanted to photograph the older ones that dated from the 1920s thru the 1950s or 60s. I know I may have passed up quite a few newer ones in my travels but that changed over time. I now document non-factory-built diners (built on-site) as well as the prefab ones! In fact, the last “new ” diner photo I shot recently was of a place I have been a patron of for quite a few years, The Hammersmith Family Restaurant in my current hometown of Saugus.

Hammersmith-2
Hammersmith Family Restaurant, Saugus, Mass.
April 22, 2015 photo by Larry Cultrera

Hammermith is not diner-like in appearance and the place never had a counter or stools but the food, service and friendly atmosphere is very much like any local diner and has become a favorite stop for both myself and my wife Denise! Anyway, sometimes I cannot believe it has been 35 years since that first photo of the Bypass Diner! On my bucket list is a road-trip back to H’burg to visit friends and some of the diners I was going to back in the 1980s, hopefully on a Thanksgiving weekend again!

32nd Anniversary of documenting diners

Today, November 29th marks the day, 32 years ago I took this photo of the Bypass Diner
in Harrisburg, PA. So, as of today I have photographed approximately 830 different diners
since that fateful day. It of course ultimately lead me to do countless slide presentations as
well as many interviews for newspapers and magazines, not to mention the TV shows like
Chronicle (Channel 5, in Boston) and CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt. I cannot
ignore that this blog is a direct result as well as the publishing of my book last year
(Classic Diners of Massachusetts).

So far it has been a pretty wild ride!

Memorial Day roadtrip – 1982

1982 was a pivotal year in my life, some really good things along with one huge event. That huge event happened in January of that year when my dad Sam died suddenly at the young age of 59 (the age I currently am now). In retrospect I must have been unconsciously trying to get things going in a positive direction after my dad’s passing.

So in February of 1982, I  started a temp job at Megapulse Corp. in Bedford, Mass. (a job that would become a permanent position and last 5 years). This was to this day one of the best jobs I have had due in part to the lasting friendships I had made there. Even after a layoff in 1987, I kept my bridges intact with Megapulse which eventually lead to another stint with the company from 1991 to 1995.

Also in that month I contacted John Baeder for the very first time as well as helped my good friend and roadtrip buddy Steve Repucci move back to Boston from a year and a half sojourn in Harrisburg, PA. In fact, it was on that trip to move Steve back that I located the “Abandoned Luncheonette” and was able to document it before it was ultimately destroyed within the next 2 years. Another landmark event happened early in 1982 when the movie “Diner” came out. I had been waiting to see what this movie was about and was certainly not disappointed. I made a mental note about the possibility of checking out Baltimore in the near future after seeing this movie.

The actual next roadtrip Steve and I went on was in March of 1982 (to Harrisburg again) where as I recall we actually took a little detour to Sussex, NJ to have breakfast at Prouts Diner, a 1940-ish Silk City diner that I had known thru a painting that John Baeder had done previously. When we got there I noticed there wasn’t any signage on the diner (that I recalled from John’s painting). I was kind of disappointed but took a couple of photos anyway. I don’t recall too much else from the March roadtrip, guess I’ll need to check the logbook when I have time.

Moving on to May, another great thing happened, my niece Katie was born on the 17th of that month, 2 years from the day that her parents (my brother Steve and sister-in-law Ann) were married. Two weeks later on May 29, 1982, Steve Repucci and I are back on the road to Harrisburg again. Just like the previous time we stopped at Prouts Diner for breakfast, where I was happy to see the signage back up after a remodeling had occurred to the building behind the diner. This remodeling had entailed installing new vinyl siding on the house as well as new roofing. This included a new roof structure that sloped down from the house and covered the raised section of the “monitor” roof of the diner. That is why the sign was removed temporarily!


Prouts Diner, Sussex, NJ  –  May 29, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Prouts Diner, Sussex, NJ  –  May 29, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

After breakfast at Prouts, we made it to Stroudsburg where I  photographed the Colonial Diner. I had seen the Colonial Diner on previous trips thru Stroudsburg and finally decided to document it. This diner it turns out was a streamlined Paramount model  not too different from Rosie’s Diner (of Bounty Paper Towel commercial fame). Unfortunately the Colonial had previously acquired a stone facade over its stainless steel exterior as well as an orange mansard roof. This remodeling was to be reversed a few years later.  I also found out that there was an addition built on to the diner by Fodero Diners. The workmanship on the addition matched exactly to what Paramount had originally done when the diner was first built.


Colonial Diner, Stroudsburg, PA  – May 29, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Colonial Diner, Stroudsburg, PA  – May 29, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

There were no other diners placed in the log book for the remainder of that day or the next after getting to Harrisburg. So on Monday morning, May 31, 1982, we started back home from Harrisburg. But instead of heading northeast we went southeast to Baltimore to see if we could find the diner from the movie “Diner”.

We got down to Baltimore and went searching for the Fells Point Diner. We found the area but no diner. We must have driven Boston Street for 2 or 3 miles and did not find it. We finally stopped and asked a couple of guys and they pointed us back from where we had come. They said the diner was not there anymore. We came across the empty lot on the harbor side of Boston Street near the intersection of Hudson Street and South Montford Avenue, that upon closer examination  was recognizable as the place where the diner was located for the movie.


The lot on Boston Street in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore
where the diner was located for the movie “Diner”
May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


This building was in at least 2 or 3 scenes in the movie as it was diagonally across the street from where the diner was located.
May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

What we later found out is that the diner was only there for the shooting of the movie. Barry Levinsion’s production company actually leased the diner (a used 1950’s Mountain View diner) from Paramount Modular Concepts (formerly Paramount Diners) of Oakland, NJ. They had the diner transported from New Jersey to the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore. When filming was complete the diner ended up back at the Paramount lot in Oakland, NJ. So needless to say we did not have breakfast at the Fells Point Diner the morning of May 31, 1982, (ironically, that diner made it back to Baltimore a year or so later and we did finally eat there).

So, having figured out that our goal for breakfast was not attainable, we started driving north on Route 40 out of Baltimore. We came across the Double-T Diner in Rosedale, MD, a diner I had known about thru a postcard I had in the collection.


Double -T Diner sign, Rosedale, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Double -T Diner, Rosedale, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Double -T Diner, Rosedale, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

After breakfast at the Double-T, we proceeded north on Route 40 and saw the closed Magnolia Diner in Joppa, MD.


Magnolia Diner, Joppa, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Magnolia Diner, Joppa, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

Before we left Maryland we found the fantastically preserved New Ideal Diner in Aberdeen.


The New Ideal Diner, Aberdeen, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


The New Ideal Diner, Aberdeen, MD – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

After leaving Maryland we came across this diner located near Hares Corners and State Road, Delaware (hard to tell which town it was actually in). It was known as the Grecian Diner at this point in time and much later, my friend Spencer Stewart found out it was once part of the Hollywood Diner chain of Delaware.


Grecian Diner, State Road, DE – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Grecian Diner, State Road, DE – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

I became much more intimate with this diner years later when it was moved to Somerville, Mass., 2 and a half miles from where I was living in Medford at the time. It has been operating as Kelly’s Diner in the Ball Square neighborhood of Somerville since 1995.

After Delaware we left Route 40 and ended up on Route 130 where we saw the Deepwater Diner in Penns Grove, NJ


Deepwater Diner, Penns Grove, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Deepwater Diner, Penns Grove, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

The Deepwater Diner remained relatively untouched until recently when it was horrendously remodeled by the current owners. No accounting for taste.

Not far up the road we came across the recently closed Joe’s No. 2 Diner in Verga, NJ, a 1950’s Fodero diner. This was another diner I had a postcard of in my collection prior to seeing it.


Joe’s No. 2 Diner, Verga, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Joe’s No. 2 Diner, Verga, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

Continuing north on Route 130, we made it to Burlington and saw yet another diner I had a postcard of, the Burlington Diner.


Burlington Diner, Burlington, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Burlington Diner, Burlington, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

We also saw Irene’s Windsor Diner on Route 130, a 1939 or 40 vintage Jerry O’Mahony diner. This had previously been the Melrose Diner in Philadelphia prior to being replaced by a large custom-built Paramount diner in the mid-1950’s.


Irene’s Windsor Diner, Windsor, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Irene’s Windsor Diner, Windsor, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

We then got off of Route 130 and made it over to Hightstown to see the Hightstown Diner….


Hightstown Diner, Hightstown, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Hightstown Diner, Hightstown, NJ – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

After Hightstown we hightailed it up U.S. Rte. 1 to Route 46 to check out Rosie’s Farmland Diner in Little Ferry, NJ. Rosie’s originally was named the Silver Dollar Diner but took on the newer name after it became famous for being the backdrop  in the series of Bounty Paper Towel commercials featuring actress Nancy Walker as Rosie the waitress who was always cleaning up after her messy customers with “the quicker picker upper”.  The “Farmland” part of the name was eventually dropped and it became Rosie’s Diner. Business was pretty slow that afternoon (it was a holiday I suppose) when we stopped in.


Rosie’s Farmland Diner, Little Ferry, NJ
May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


Rosie’s Farmland Diner, Little Ferry, NJ
May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

I called John Baeder on the payphone from Rosie’s as he was in New York City doing a marathon rewrite for his soon to be published book, “Gas, Food, and Lodging” that weekend and I was hoping to finally meet him face to face.

He told me on the phone that he was really busy with the rewrite but that he may be able to break away and that I should call him when we had crossed the river and made it into the city. So off we went thru the Holland Tunnel and ended up in lower Manhattan where I photographed the Square Diner on Leonard Street.


The Square Diner, New York City – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


The Square Diner, New York City – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

We then drove uptown to see the former Kitchenette Diner that operated for years in East Cambridge, Mass. It had been moved from Cambridge to the Allston section of Boston by a man named Tony Bosco. Bosco located it next door to his “House” Restaurant and did a slight sprucing up of the diner and sold ice cream from it for a short period of time. He called it the “Diner on Wheels”, as it still had its original wagon wheel attached. Ironically, the diner got a lot of attention when he moved it which was noticed by the producers of the locally filmed movie “The Brinks Job”. They paid Bosco some decent money to have the diner moved to a vacant lot in Reading, Mass. where they set it up for one scene in the movie.

After the diner’s short stay in Allston, Bosco moved it to New York City which is where I saw it again on this Memorial Day in 1982.


The Diner on Wheels, New York City – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera


The Diner on Wheels, New York City – May 31, 1982 photo by Larry Cultrera

I called John Baeder on the phone when we got to the old Kitchenette and he did manage to Cab it over to the diner where I showed him my diner photo albums I had with me. We had a very memorable meeting and to top it off, we gave him a ride back to where he was doing the rewrite for the book. Needless to say this topped off the roadtrip weekend we had and made it back to Massachusetts that evening.

Roadside Wonders blog pays homage to Diner Hotline!

When I reposted my first “diner photo” last month commemorating my 30th anniversary of documenting diners with photographs, I inadvertantly inspired my new friend Wendyvee of the Roadside Wonders blog. This past Friday, Wendy and her friend John paid a visit to the American Dream Diner in Harrisburg, PA (I knew it under its original name of the Bypass Diner). They had  a couple of great meals at this well preserved DeRaffelle built diner and took a few photos. Wendy tried to duplicate the photo I took on November 29, 1980 but was not successful. John took over and actually managed to get it right.



I’m not sure how she did this little trick with the alternating photos but it
did transfer to my blog nicely!

Here is a link to Wendyvee’s Roadside Wonders post and there also is a link in my blogroll as well. Thanks go to Wendyvee for the compliments on Diner Hotline and to John Featherlin as well for paying homage to my first diner photo!
http://roadsidewonders.net/american-dream-diner/

Diner Hotline marking 30 Years of documenting Diners!

I always consider the weekend of Thanksgiving, specifically the Saturday after the Holiday, the anniversary of when I tentatively shot my first 35mm photo of a Diner. The actual date is November 29th (this coming Monday) but who’s counting? Me of course! It seems almost unbelievable that 30 years has gone by since that gray Saturday in Harrisburg, PA. I was with my brother Rick and old friend Scott Drown and we were visiting Steve Repucci whom we had helped moved to H’Burg the previous Labor Day Weekend.

The three of us had driven down from Massachusetts the day before and as I recall, our route down took us out I-90 to I-86 (a few years later I-86 was to be absorbed by I-84 in MA & CT), then I-84 all the way out to Scranton, PA, where we headed south on I-81.

I also recall the highway was shrouded in the thickest fog I have ever driven through, between Scranton and Harrisburg! I am glad it was the middle of the day, still it was one of the scariest rides I have ever been on!

Anyway, I do not recall what we did that Friday after we got down to Harrisburg but I know the next morning we drove down the street from where Steve and his room-mate Ed Womer were residing to the Bypass Diner on Herr Street (Rte. 22 bypass) in Harrisburg for breakfast. After the meal we went outside and I took out the old 35mm Mamiya camera and shot a photo from the left front of the diner.


Bypass Diner, Harrisburg, PA – Nov. 29, 1980 photo by Larry Cultrera
The diner has been operating for many years as the American Dream Diner

That is my 1979 blue Chevy Van in the parking lot. I drove that 271,000 miles between April of 1979 and December of 1988 and needless to say, a huge portion of that mileage (and time) was spent hunting Diners!

Since that day I have shot probably into the thousands of photos of diners throughout the northeast states as far down as Virginia and Tennessee, (skipped the Carolinas) and been able to document at least one in Georgia (Marietta Diner, Marietta) and then down to Florida to shoot a few more. I’ve also documented diners as far west as Ohio, Michigan and Illinois. According to my database diner log I have documented 815 diners with negative, slide and digital photography.

I have met some interesting people in the last 30 years including Richard & Kellie Gutman, John Baeder, David Hebb, Brian Butko, Randy Garbin, Glenn Wells, Mike Engle and Beth Lennon. I also want to acknowledge Diner owners who have become close friends…. Bob Fennell of the Capitol Diner,  Lynn, Mass. and Bill Nichols of the Rosebud Diner, Somerville, Mass. and Phil Paleologos of the Shawmut Diner, New Bedford, Mass.

I cannot forget to include the late Warren Jones, former owner of the Apple Tree Diner of Deham, Mass. as well as the late Owen Abdalian, former owner of the Main Street Diner of Woburn, Mass. who each passed away way too early and hold a special place in my memories.

Most of all I also want to acknowledge my wonderful wife Denise, who puts up with me, the collection of memorabilia and the obsession! Hopefully, I will continue this quest and be able to document more diners, although the long road trips have dwindled to a very few as years have gone by, and I will continue my efforts of passing along info to you my faithful readers with this blog, Diner Hotline!

Disclaimer: to be clear, this is not the 30th anniversary of the creation of Diner Hotline, just the 30th anniversary of shooting my first Diner photograph, the beginning of my efforts to document the American Diner, which of course spawned the creation of Diner Hotline in 1988 – LAC