Author Event at Somerville Public Library, Saturday 10 am


Postard from my collection of the Somerville Public Library

I am looking forward to my second “Author Event” this coming Saturday November 19th to be held at the central branch of the Somerville Public Library located at 79 Highland Avenue in Somerville, Mass. This will be the first talk of the new “Meet, Mingle and Read” a Director’s Feature at the library and is held in conjunction with The Harvard COOP Bookstore, who will be providing copies of the book for purchase. Not only will I be signing copies of Classic Diners of Massachusetts but I will also have a short slide presentation.

On another note, the first “Author Event” at Tatnuck Bookseller in Westborough was really great! We sold quite a few books and saw some old and new friends in the bargain! Rich Beaubien, Denise J.R. Bass and Paula Walsh (all mentioned in my acknowledgements in the book) came by as well as Mike O’Connor (owner of Worcester Lunch Car No. 705) and John Harmon, former owner/operator of Lulu’s Diner in Malden.

Also, Phil Robbins, who lives in the Westborough area attended. Phil has been to 2 of my recent slide presentations and it was no surprise to see him at this event. I want to thank Rick Gemme for coming by. Rick is the great nephew of the late Charles Gemme, the vice president and superintendent of the Worcester Lunch Car Company. Charlie had a hand in the design of virtually every diner that came out of that factory.

I would like to thank the management at Tatnuck Bookseller, they have a really nice store and it made for a pleasant experience. Alex (not sure if he was the assistant manager) was very helpful and I would highly recommend a visit to this store if you are ever in the area. They have a huge selection of gifts, books and a nice cafe.


At Tatnuck Bookseller Gift Gallery and Cafe, pictured left to right
(front) Rick Gemme and Denise Bass (back) Phil Robbins, Mike O’Connor, Paula Walsh and Larry Cultrera, Photo by Denise Cultrera

Notes from the Hotline, 9-5-2011

Diners of Pennsylvania, Second Edition


Diners of Pennsylvania Front Cover, Second Edition

I got my official copy of Diners of Pennsylvania back in March. I have also been meaning to mention something here about this book but the writing of my own book, Classic Diners of Massachusetts for “The History Press” sort of took priority. I actually read this new version prior to publication (and prior to receiving my hardcopy) as I was privileged to be one of the people to write a blurb for the back cover. This book, published by “Stackpole Books” out of Mechanicsburg, PA is the latest in this series that the publisher initiated with the first edition (of Diners of Pennsylvania) back in 1999.

Back then co-authors Brian Butko and Kevin Patrick did an outstanding job. In fact, I will say it was groundbreaking in the compilation of information along with the photos and maps that accompanied the text, (as I said in my blurb on the back cover) making it a benchmark for all the other books that followed it!  Thanks to the combined effort of Butko, Patrick and editor Kyle Weaver (the 3rd co-author for this new edition), this updated version surpasses the first remarkably without effort. It also helps that all the photos are in full color this time around, making for the finest presentation of any the publisher has done previously.

According to Brian Butko, Kyle Weaver did the “on the road” research, sometimes with other people along. Brian says; “so for example, he and I drove Western PA together. Plus I had been collecting updates along the way. Then we all proofed it together. It’s very much a 3-way effort – not that we did it all together, but our parts blend seamlessly I think”. I would have to agree with Brian, it did all blend seamlessly and it is a must for any diner afficianado’s book collection!

Peanut Mobile sighting in Boston on July 30th

Denise and I took a subway ride into Boston on July 30th and checked out the Planters Peanut Mobile at City Hall Plaza. The vehicle was on a National Tour and had stopped in Beantown that weekend!


Planters Peanut Mobile, July 30, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera


Planters Peanut Mobile, July 30, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera


Planters Peanut Mobile, July 30, 2011 photo by Larry Cultrera


Larry & Denise Cultrera with Mister Peanut, photo courtesy of
Planters Peanuts

While we were there, we walked over to an adjacent building and I finally shot the famous steaming “Teapot”….

Mike O’Connor checks in with an update on his continuing restoration of Worcester Lunch Car No. 705

Thought you might like to see how Worcester Lunch Car No. 705 is progressing, feel free to post them on your weblog! Dennis Day from Sterling, Mass. did the lettering he took his time and did a great job. We are very happy with the whole project and can’t thank Gary Thomas enough for his great work on No. 705 ! I’m planning on keeping it here on my property and enjoying it with our friends. It is a great place for car club meetings, etc. regards, Mike & Maggie Ann O’Connor


Interior of Worcester Lunch car No. 705. All the back-bar cabinetry was created by Gary Thomas. Photo courtesy of Mike O’Connor.


Exterior showing the newly painted lettering. The diner now has its original name back on it. The Park Diner was delivered to Horace Mayhew in Salem, NH on June 14, 1933. Photo courtesy of Mike O’Connor.


Maggie Ann’s The Park Diner with all the exterior lights on.
Photo courtesy of Mike O’Connor.

Latest acquisition for my Diner Postcard collection

I was checking Ebay recently and saw a postcard I did not know existed! It was a “long” postcard of the original Prospect Mountain Diner, a “double-wide” 1950 Silk City diner that was destroyed in a fire a few years ago. Located in Lake George, NY, I have memories from my teen years when my family vacationed in that resort town, in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains.
I also frequented the diner many times since then, whenever I was in Lake George. Therefore, it really saddened me when the diner burned! There were not that many examples of a double-wide Silk City to my knowledge, and this was almost pristine. Anyway, here is the postcard I purchased…..


Postcard view showing exterior of diner with an interior view of the Rickshaw Room Annex as well as the kitchen. This was a rarity, the diner served a typical comfort food menu while the annex served Chinese cuisine.