A new book about popular 1970s LP records features a couple of my photos

orVinyl-Dialogues-cover

Mike Morsch has written a new book that was published this past Spring by Biblio Publishing out of Columbus, Ohio. The book is entitled “The Vinyl Dialogues” and features a whole slew of stories behind some memorable LP record albums from the 1970s as told by the artists who recorded them. Artists like Doug Clifford, the drummer for Creedence Clearwater Revival (and now of Creedence Clearwater Revisted) talking about the band’s “Cosmo’s Factory” album, or Dino Danelli of The Rascals (formerly Young Rascals) talking about the very last album the band produced… “Search and Nearness” and even Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong (Cheech & Chong) talking about their album “Los Cochinos” which featured the hit song “Basketball Jones”, among many others. But the part of the book that especially interested me was the chapter on Daryl Hall & John Oates “Abandoned Luncheonette” album from 1973. Mike ended up using 2 of my circa 1982 photos as well as a scan of the postcard of the Rosedale Diner, the diner that became the Abandoned Luncheonette!

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Mike Morsch at an author’s event held at Burlington By The Book
on a recent trip to Burlington, Iowa (photo courtesy of Mike Morsch)

An experienced journalist, for over 36 years – humor columnist and writer, currently residing in Montgomeryville, PA, Mike Morsch is also the author of the book, “Dancing in My Underwear: The Soundtrack of My Life”. He was the executive editor of Montgomery Newspapers (2003-2013) where his award-winning humor column “Outta Leftfield” has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, the Suburban Newspapers of America and the Philadelphia Press Association. I first heard of Mike Morsch back in February of 2013  thru a piece he wrote about the 40th Anniversary of the release of Daryl Hall & John Oates LP record album “Abandoned Luncheonette”. He actually told the story of the creation of the album as well as Hall & Oates association with the former Rosedale Diner that was depicted on the album cover. The link to that article is here… http://montgomerynews.com/articles/2013/02/13/entertainment/doc511a77017c794300082354.txt?viewmode=fullstory.  I found out in researching for that piece, Mike found my blog post from August 2010 (co-written with Matt Simmons) that told about the album cover from the Rosedale Diner’s point of reference, find it here at… https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/the-story-of-the-the-abandoned-luncheonette-aka-the-rosedale-diner/.

When I contacted Mike back then about his piece he said that our blog post was very useful in helping him track down dates so that he had an idea when he went to the local newspaper in Pottstown to research its archives”. He went on to sayIt was a thorough piece and that we had done a lot of good legwork on it” (mostly Matt IMHO).  I subsequently wrote about his piece here at Diner Hotline… https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/finally-the-abandoned-luncheonette-from-hall-oates-point-of-view/. Morsch also wrote a companion piece that appeared in a prominent music magazine around the same time. He sent me this message with a link…Larry: Here is the second H&O story, which was just put online by American Songwriter magazine: http://www.americansongwriter.com/2013/02/hall-oates/ “. These 2 articles basically became the catalyst for Mike writing his book, The Vinyl Dialogues!

What lead Mike in this direction was his love of popular music. Like a lot of us, he grew up listening to music, originally through exposure to his parent’s record collection and/or radio listening preferences. Usually by the time you are into your early “teens” you develop your own likes and preferences apart from your parents and more in tune with what your generation is currently listening to, and Mike was no exception to this. As he goes on to say in his introduction… “When I was a kid growing up in Central Illinois, my folks had a record collection that consisted of popular music from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s. I played those vinyl albums – Elvis, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Association and many more – so much so I wore them out. By the time the 1970s rolled around and I was in high school, I was more into eight-track tapes, cassettes, big bushy sideburns and bell-bottomed pants”. (“Seventies suave” indeed.) He goes on to say that he “still did not have his own record collection!”

35 years later he decided to change all that when for Christmas of 2012, his wife bought him a turntable, thus facilitating the beginning in earnest of a vinyl record buying spree that continues unabated to the present! He approached this as a personal odyssey to listen to some of his favorite artist’s early work via their purest form of analog recording on vinyl records. Living in the greater Philadelphia area, Morsch had quite a few record stores to choose from to help feed his hunger for vintage LP’s. He goes on to explain that the first album he coveted was the Atlantic Records 1973 release of Daryl Hall & John Oates “Abandoned Luncheonette”! He found a pristine example early on in his search and this ultimately lead to the writing of his new book. He had so much fun writing this book that he is already lining up interviews for a second volume of The Vinyl Dialogues! The story continues…

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The Postcard image (from my collection) of the Rosedale Diner appears on
Page 105 of Mike Morsch’s “The Vinyl Dialogues”

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My 1982 exterior photo of the Abandoned Luncheonette appears on
Page 110 of Mike Morsch’s “The Vinyl Dialogues”

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My 1982 interior photo of the Abandoned Luncheonette appears on
Page 112 of Mike Morsch’s “The Vinyl Dialogues”

I highly recommend this book if your interests include 1970s popular music and how or why some of this came to fruition. It certainly is an enjoyable read! I am always happy to see my photos get published in something other than this blog or my own books, as the acknowledgement is a validation of my passion for doing  a small part in helping to document the American Roadside with my photographs.

Check out Mike’s Facebook page for the book… https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Vinyl-Dialogues/300977096732836 as well as the book’s website… http://www.vinyldialogues.com/ and even the blog… http://vinyldialogues.com/VinylDialoguesBlog/

 

 

 

The Story of the The Abandoned Luncheonette, AKA the Rosedale Diner


Daryl Hall & John Oates’ Abandoned Luncheonette,
1973 Atlantic Records Album Cover

Not long after I started the Diner Hotline Weblog, I mentioned that I would write about the “Diner in my Header” (the photo at the top of my blog), see…
https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2007/11/07/diner-in-my-header/.
I know a lot of “Diner People” were familiar with a similar image that dates back to 1973 and was the inspiration for my 1982 photo. So now I am finally going to keep my promise to my faithful readers and tell the story in its complete form, with the help of my friend Matt Simmons!

Back in 1991, I was asked by Randy Garbin of Roadside Magazine (now RoadsideOnline) to contribute a “Diner Hunting” story for the fourth issue of his fledgling publication (Roadside, Summer, 1991). At first I thought, which of the hundreds of diners I had documented up to that point in time would make a compelling enough tale for Randy’s faithful readers? Then it came to me in a New York minute (OK, a Pennsylvania minute) that it had to be the story of how I found the “ABANDONED LUNCHEONETTE” !!! The next part is basically what I wrote for Roadside, with a few new tweaks……


My recreation of the photo from the album cover, 2/26/1982

For those of you readers not familiar with it, Abandoned Luncheonette is the title song of an LP record album by recording artists Daryl Hall & John Oates, released in 1973 on the Atlantic Records label. The album cover featured a photograph of an abandoned diner. This cover had always intrigued me whenever I came across it in music stores. I used to say to myself, “Wow…what a great idea for an album cover.” Every so often, I would even hear the song on the radio, but I never paid much attention to the lyrics.

It wasn’t until November 1980, the same weekend I had taken my first photograph of a diner in Harrisburg, PA, that I actually came closer to finding the Abandoned Luncheonette. I was driving through New York City and had the radio tuned to an FM station. Between tunes, the DJ mentioned how he liked diners, which definitely got my attention, and then he played the Abandoned Luncheonette song. For the first time, I really listened to the lyrics. I couldn’t believe it – what a great tune! The words spoke to me and stirred something within me. I had to have this record. Needless to say, I bought this album – the first of around 15 albums in my collection with images of diners featured on the covers.

A year later while I was again visiting Harrisburg, I was sitting in my friend Steve Repucci’s living room, looking at a map of Pennsylvania and trying to locate a small road in the Philadelphia area. You see, there is a clue to the Abandoned Luncheonette’s location on the inner sleeve that mentions “the man on Route 724.” I knew that Daryl Hall & John Oates both were raised in the Philly area and figured that the diner may be located near there. I couldn’t find Route 724 anywhere on the map. There were just too many small roads with~3 digit designations to see it. But wouldn’t you know, the next morning while driving home on Route 222 through Reading, PA at around 4:30 a.m., I came upon the junction of Route 724. I couldn’t believe it! I pulled over and checked out the map. The road went only a few miles to the west, but went 30 or so miles to the east, towards Philadelphia. I knew this had to be the right road and decided that on my next trip, I would go exploring.

On February 26, 1982, I returned to Pennsylvania with Steve’s brother Scott to help get Steve moved back to Boston. Since we had some time to kill on the trip down, we bypassed through Reading and headed down Route 724. We had traveled about 20 miles or so to the east into the outskirts of Pottstown (actually Kenilworth, PA) when there it was – the Abandoned Luncheonette – sitting about 25 feet off the side of the road. This was really exciting, almost like finding the Holy Grail. It was still recognizable and looked very similar to the album cover, albeit with nine years worth of over-grown foliage. Luckily, it was the middle of winter, and I was able to duplicate the album cover photo without the bushes and trees getting in the way.


Photo of me in front of the diner,  shot by Scott Repucci 2/26/1982


Scott Repucci inside the Abandoned Luncheonette, 2/26/1982


Left – front view of the Abandoned Luncheonette, 2/26/1982

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Interior shot of the Abandoned Luncheonette, 2/26/1982


Right –  front view of the Abandoned Luncheonette, 2/26/1982


Left – side view of the Abandoned Luncheonette, 2/26/1982


Another interior shot of the Abandoned Luncheonette, 2/26/1982

I have since found out the diner was formerly the Rosedale Diner, operated for years at the corner of High Street and Rosedale Drive in Pottstown. The diner was probably moved sometime in the early 1970’s to Route 724, but was never put back into service. It was certainly in sad shape when I found it and on a subsequent visit April 3, 1983, it was completely unrecognizable having had all of its stainless steel exterior stripped away. In fact, The Man on Rte. 724 himself (Bill Faulk) asked us to leave the premises.


Front view of diner completely stripped, 4/3/1983

Although it’s a shame this diner met with an untimely death, I feel lucky that I was able to find it with the slimmest of clues and document it prior to it becoming almost completely unrecognizable. Now if I could only get the original Rosedale Diner linen postcard into my collection!


Rosedale Diner postcard from my collection

Well, since I wrote that story in 1991, I was able to obtain a copy of the Rosedale Diner postcard for the collection (thanks Art Goody!). Also, within the last 5 years or so, I have become acquainted with some key people who were able to impart some more facts and info on the Abandoned Luncheonette. One of the facts I had wrong in the earlier story was when I guessed the time period the diner got moved to its final resting place. Not sometime in the early 1970’s as I surmised, but actually in 1965.

One of the people that I have managed to make contact with was Susan Norman of the Pottstown, PA area. She was able to give me some first-hand info on the diner and its history. Susan is good friends with Cindy Faulk Baker. In fact they have known each other most of their lives. Cindy is the daughter of Bill Faulk who was the owner and operator of the Rosedale Diner. In my correspondence with Susan, she was able to fill me in on some of the facts about the diner and also put me in touch with Cindy. In fact, Susan sent a nice little “care” package to me with some photos as well as an old menu cover from the Rosedale Diner, which I greatly appreciated!


Rosedale Diner menu cover courtesy of Susan Norman

Ironically, not too long after I started corresponding with Susan, Brian Butko put me in touch with Matt Simmons, around the time I started this blog in 2007. Matt was himself trying to find info on The Abandoned Luncheonette. Matt is from the Detroit, MI area and is a big fan of  Daryl Hall & John Oates’ early music. He was trying to piece together info on his favorite album cover from H&O and Brian knew that had been a passion of mine for a while. So thus began a trading of info back and forth between Matt and myself.

In the mean time, it was brought to my attention by Susan Norman that Bill Faulk passed away on November 6, 2007, (I wrote about it in the blog) and within the same week a drinking glass with the Rosedale Diner logo silk screened on it went up for auction on ebay. What a coincidence! I immediately bid on it and was determined to get it for the collection. I watched over the auction for the last hour or so of bidding and managed to squeak by in the last 2 minutes for the winning bid!


front of Rosedale Diner drinking glass w/logo


Back of Rosedale Diner drinking glass

Since then, I have continued to post all sorts of “Diner related” posts as well as other roadside topics in the almost 3 intervening years. In the back of my mind, the story of the Abandoned Luncheonette/Rosedale Diner was always lurking. Also, Matt Simmons was making inroads in gaining more info and insights while making friends with Cindy Baker and her sister, Marla LaBelle as well as their friend Susan Norman.

Recently, when I did a post on Abandoned Diners, I renewed my promise to finally do something with the story of the Rosedale. Matt contacted me at this point and said he was making another trip to Pennsylvania and after the trip, would document everything he’d learned and send it to me. Well, the middle of July came and with it an email from Matt with the promised story. I read it over and got back to him to let him know that it was a fantastic piece! I told him he was getting co-authorship of this post. (In fact, his text makes up most of it)! So here is Matt’s part of the post……

It was a summer day in 1973, and Bill Faulk was musing to his 26 year-old daughter, Cindy, about a peculiar recent event. Two young men, or “hippie boys”, as Bill described them, had walked into his restaurant, Toggs, with an unusual request.

“He said they told him that they wanted to enter some contest,” Cindy recalls.

According to Bill, the hippie boys informed him that if they won this contest, they would get to record an album of their music. A photo of the dormant diner across the street, which Bill also owned, would be perfect for the cover.

“I told them they could take a picture of it, but not to go inside,” Bill would tell a newspaper reporter, ten years later. “They went inside, anyway.”

After Bill called the local police, the hippie boys, along with their college-aged female photographer, abruptly scurried from the diner.

Fifty-two summers earlier, long before hippie boys and girls came to prominence, Talmadge William Faulk’s introduction to the world came in Prattville, Alabama. The simplicity of southern farm life was shaken at the age of seven, when his beloved mother, Annie Pearl, passed away. Formal education was forsaken shortly thereafter, stalling short of the fourth grade. Following a laborious youth and adolescence, the twenty-one year old known as “Toggs” to some and “Bill” to most, enlisted in the army at Fort McClellan. While serving in World War II, he earned promotions to the level of Sergeant and often fulfilled cooking duties for his fellow soldiers.

While on furlough in Atlantic City in the autumn of 1944, Bill became acquainted with Nancy Scheeler—a lovely twenty year-old from Pottstown, PA. Their relationship quickly blossomed, driven by a flurry of love letters penned by Bill. Having recently discovered and read the letters, Cindy declares, “My Dad was very, should I say—suave.”

A few months after meeting in Atlantic City, Bill and Nancy were married on Christmas Day of 1944.


Operating location of the Rosedale Diner, photo courtesy of Matt Simmons

Following the Allies’ victory, the newlyweds settled in Nancy’s hometown. Situated forty miles northwest of the Liberty Bell, the borough served as residence for roughly 22,000 others. In August of 1946, Nancy gave birth to Cindy. When Bill’s daughter was three and a half, he took a symbolic step toward fulfilling a longtime dream. Registering as a business owner with the State of Pennsylvania, Bill secured the name “Rosedale Diner” for his new venture. He opened his restaurant at the corner of East High and Rosedale streets. High Street, a.k.a. Route 422 at the time, was the bustling main drag in Pottstown. In addition to the cross-street namesake, the surrounding collection of homes was known as the “Rosedale neighborhood”—the most prestigious in the borough. Manufactured by Fodero Dining Car Company, Bill’s diner sparkled with a stainless steel exterior and red trim. A kaleidoscope of pink and burgundy tiles lined the interior floor and walls, and the forty-three seat restaurant featured a significant luxury: air-conditioning.


Fodero Dining Car Company builder’s tag courtesy of Pat Fodero

The Rosedale operated just a mile and a half down High Street from the Sunnybrook Ballroom, a popular dance hall in which jazz and big band musicians performed. Consequently, the likes of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington sporadically inhabited the diner’s booths. But no famed swing-master of the time would ultimately wield as great of an impact on the diner’s fortunes as a young boy named Daryl. The youth from nearby Cedarville was often brought to the Rosedale by his parents, Walter and Betty Hohl. Betty was a local music teacher, whose son was among her pupils.


A proud Bill Faulk sitting at the counter at the Rosedale Diner
photo courtesy of Cindy Baker, Marla LaBelle & Susan Norman


unidentified customer & Bill Faulk sitting in a booth at the Rosedale Diner
photo courtesy of Cindy Baker, Marla LaBelle & Susan Norman


Bill with daughter Cindy inside the Rosedale Diner
photo courtesy of Cindy Baker, Marla LaBelle & Susan Norman


Great interior shot of the Rosedale Diner
photo courtesy of Cindy Baker, Marla LaBelle & Susan Norman

Open twenty-four hours, six days a week, operating the Rosedale required a complete family effort. Bill typically labored until at least 9:00 P.M., with Nancy joining him at 4:00 in the afternoon. Cindy spent many evenings of her youth at the diner, and at age twelve, she became part of the daily staff. She performed just about every task required at the Rosedale, until earning her high school diploma. During those six years of six-day work weeks, Cindy’s father never provided her with financial compensation for her efforts.

Of course, the Rosedale Diner did have paid staff, as well.

“Dad hired lots of pretty waitresses,” Cindy recalls.

Among them was Jean Harner, who Cindy believes was eighteen when she accepted a waitress position at the Rosedale. However, when asked if it’s possible, Cindy acknowledges that perhaps Jean actually was twenty when the diner was a baby. Jean would quickly become significant in Bill’s life, and remain so until the end of hers.


Aerial view of Rosedale Diner prior to obtaining an entryway vestibule
from Fodero Diners. (the diner came from the factory sans vestibule, I believe that Fodero designed it to have a vestibule but due to construction and set-up costs, Bill put-off having one initially. I suspect that after the diner was paid-off, Bill went back to Fodero and had one made) – LAC
photo courtesy of Cindy Baker, Marla LaBelle & Susan Norman


circa 1957 photo showing newly installed factory-built entryway vestibule
photo courtesy of Cindy Baker, Marla LaBelle & Susan Norman

From the Rosedale’s opening day, Bill merely leased the land on High Street. He declined opportunities to buy it more than once, balking at the asking price. In 1965, Nagle Motors, the company that held the parcel, found another party that didn’t flinch at the cost of procurement. A new franchise of a fledgling fast-food chain known as McDonald’s moved in. The Rosedale was relegated to being towed out.

As fate would have it, the dislodging of the diner was not the biggest Faulk family event of 1965. In July, three days after Bill’s forty-fourth birthday, he and Nancy welcomed their second daughter, Marla. One month shy of turning eighteen, Cindy was no longer an only child. The challenge of having a bigger family to support was compounded by the newfound uncertainty and upheaval in Bill’s professional life. The proliferation of McDonald’s had been no surprise to him. He had been telling a variety of people for years that fast food was the future of the restaurant business. With his diner now homeless, Bill decided the time to join the future was now.

He purchased land on each side of Route 724 on the southeastern outskirts of Pottstown.  Bill secured several rural acres on the north side, and enough space to open a new restaurant directly across the street on the south side. Bill claimed to have paid $6,000 to have the Rosedale towed from its bustling High Street locale and moved two miles to his new spread. He directed the diner be placed near the north edge of Route 724. And in that spot, the Rosedale sat. Empty, quiet, dark and dusty…  the Rosedale sat. Bill raised cattle on the surrounding acres, as the Rosedale sat. And sat.


Rte. 724 signs, photo courtesy Matt Simmons

Bill had his new fast food restaurant, Toggs, constructed directly across the street. Unlike the High Street location, Bill’s new eatery was isolated from the vibrancy of Pottstown life. It turned out that the most significant structure in its proximity was a private residence—Daryl Hohl’s grandmother’s house.

To enhance his pursuit of a music career by easing pronunciation, Daryl changed his surname to Hall. He met fellow southeast Pennsylvania native John Oates while they were each students at Temple University. Together, they signed with Atlantic records and released their first album in 1972. After “Whole Oats” faded with little radio play, meager sales and lukewarm reviews, the duo began writing songs for what would become the most critically acclaimed album they would ever release. One of the songs, composed by Daryl, was inspired by the diner that had transformed from a sparkling childhood memory to a dormant and downtrodden relic. So, at least one thing Daryl said on that summer day at Toggs in 1973 was true. Bill Faulk’s defunct diner would be perfect for his and John’s album cover.

On November 3rd, 1973, Daryl Hall and John Oates released their second album, entitled “Abandoned Luncheonette”. The front cover featured an exterior photo of the Rosedale, encompassed by the tall grass and shrubs of eight years of inactivity. The back cover featured a photo of the duo that was taken moments before the police arrived at the scene.

The inner album sleeve contained head shots of Hall and Oates against the stainless steel interior of a different diner, indicating that Bill’s call to the police had initially prevented the hippie boys from getting all the snapshots they wanted.

Among the acknowledgements read: “Luncheonettes courtesy of The Man on Rt. 724 and Imperial Shell Homes, Inc. (better known as ‘The Diner Graveyard’)”. Bill was sent a Hall & Oates t-shirt and what was promised to be the first copy of the album off the presses. Daryl and John inscribed the back cover, right over the picture that had been taken against Bill’s wishes.

“’Mr. Man’, your cooperation was wonderful and we love you and your family. – Daryl Hall, John Oates”.


Signed back cover of Abandoned Luncheonette album
photo courtesy of Cindy Baker, Marla LaBelle & Susan Norman

Despite widespread critical acclaim, the LP would not be a commercial success for Hall and Oates for several years. “She’s Gone”, from Side A, initially fizzled as a single, only to hit number #1 on the R & B chart when covered by Tavares. The first song on side B was the title track. Its lyrics painted a somewhat pitiful picture of an antiquated couple, sitting in an empty diner, clinging to the distant days in which their youthful energy had brought the building to life. To anyone who ever knew Bill, it would be obvious that the lyrics were about him. But the song’s other fallen hero was not his wife.

“I have no doubt that the woman in the song is Jean,” Cindy asserts.

After all, by the day Daryl, John, and their photographer walked into Toggs, Bill and Jean had long been a couple. For quite some time, the marriage between Bill and Nancy had merely existed on paper. The husband and wife had moved on, mutually.

After receiving the autographed copy of “Abandoned Luncheonette”, life went on in typical fashion. According to Marla, Bill listened to the album once, and then never again removed it from its sleeve. But in 1976, Bill started to notice something surprising and disturbing. The locks on his diner’s doors had been broken, and items were vanishing from within. Random strangers were stopping by, even in broad daylight, and attempting to go inside the Rosedale. Not coincidentally, Hall and Oates had recently scored their first top ten hit with “Sara Smile”. Atlantic records quickly reissued “She’s Gone”, and it went top ten as well, drawing significant attention to the album from which it had come three years prior.

At first, the corresponding deterioration of the Rosedale was gradual. Then came the 1980’s. Hall and Oates began the decade with separate multi-platinum-selling albums in three successive years. The local hippie boys, who had dropped by Toggs with a peculiar request nearly a decade earlier, were now arguably the second most popular musical act in the world behind Michael Jackson. People came from all over the world, in search of the special spot on Route 724 at Peterman Road. The Rosedale was ravaged.

By January of ’83, township officials had informed Bill that his dilapidated diner was now an eyesore that had to be eradicated. Bill saw little choice but to plan its demolition.  News of the impending doom spread quickly, from papers in Pottstown, Reading and Philadelphia, to the city of brotherly love’s NBC affiliate. Terry Ruggles came to the site on Route 724 with microphone in hand and cameraman in tow. Bill told a story about one man who had chained the door of the Rosedale to the bumper of his car, in an effort to drag away a unique souvenir. The bumper lost the tug of war. Bill listened unsympathetically, as the man lamented his fate.


Bill Faulk, Terry Ruggles and unidentified cameraman in a TV interview
circa 1983 photo courtesy of Susan Norman


Terry Ruggles interviewing Bill on camera
1983 photo courtesy of Susan Norman


Bill Faulk, Terry Ruggles, Cindy Baker & Jean Harner inside Pizza World
1983 photo courtesy of Susan Norman

News of the Rosedale’s numbered days also reached Hall and Oates themselves. Daryl decided that he wanted to rescue the endangered relic, and he prompted Randy Hoffman, a member of his and John’s management team, to negotiate with Bill.

“I’d love to sell it,” Bill told Michael Sangiacomo of the Pottstown Mercury.  “They might as well buy it.”

But they never did. Why the transaction never took place is not entirely clear. Hoffman, through a spokesperson, insisted that he “honestly could not remember”. Nor could John Oates, nor could Betty Hohl. Daryl Hall could not be reached for comment. Rumor has it that Bill demanded a ridiculous amount of money, and Daryl emphatically declined.

“I honestly couldn’t have seen Bill ever being willing to sell the diner, not unless someone offered him a million dollars,” mused longtime Faulk family friend, Sue Norman. Although Bill expressed in print that he would like to sell the Rosedale, Cindy highly doubts that her father meant it.

“My Dad never wanted to sell anything. Once he owned something, it was his.”

Toggs had not survived the 70’s on a rural roadside, and Bill had used his fleeting moment on the TV news to try to promote his newly remodeled restaurant across from the fading Rosedale, known as Pizza World. On March 25th, 1983, Jean was busy at the new establishment when she noticed a large bus pull up next to the Rosedale. Nine men emerged and began to pose for a picture in front of the diner. Jean charged across the street. She angrily insisted that the group leave immediately. One of the men approached her in an effort to calm her down. Jean listened as he said something along the lines of, “Wait, it’s us. You know, the guys who immortalized the place.”

Jean had not recognized him. It was John Oates. Daryl Hall was standing right behind him. The duo were on their way to perform in Philadelphia. Although no longer hippies, the boys had returned. To see the Rosedale one last time.

“That’s when she really flew off the handle,” said John.

Jean wove her central message of “I ougtha sue your asses!” with a tapestry of profanities.

“We laughed and headed on down to Philly,” John recalls.

Shortly thereafter, the Rosedale was gone. Bill received neither compensation nor consolation. Any scrap value merely made a dent in the back taxes he now owed on the massive parcel of land. Once upon a time, Bill had invested years of savings and sweat in a sparkling diner in order to become a successful businessman and provider. That sparkling diner had now been reduced to dirty, scattered debris on land he would soon no longer own.

“Dad had talked about moving back to Alabama and reopening the diner there,” Marla once offered.

“He talked about going back to his watering hole in Alabama,” Cindy said.  She then added that it never seemed a legitimate possibility.

Pizza World suffered the same fate as Toggs, only faster. At age 70, as Bill was gearing up to re-open it for his last hurrah in the restaurant business, he suffered a stroke.  Bill survived, but retired reluctantly.

Two years later, on yet another summer day, Bill was driving on Route 724 with Jean alongside him. They were having a routine conversation—until Jean didn’t answer. She died moments later, from a massive heart attack.

“I think Jean was the love of my Dad’s life,” Cindy once opined.

Bill soldiered on, and three years later, he was elated by the arrival of Marla’s son, Nash.

Bill had long regretted that he had not forged a closer relationship with his first grandson, Shawn, who had arrived slightly more than three years prior to that fateful day the hippie boys dropped by Toggs. Bill’s path to grandfatherly redemption seemed to have fallen off the map when Cindy had moved to North Carolina in 1977. But with the arrival of Nash, “Pop Pop” enthusiastically devoted his time to atoning for past mistakes and making the most of his second chance.

Proving Cindy’s declaration that he could never willingly relinquish ownership, Bill still stopped by a long-dormant Pizza World, into the early years of the new millenium. One day, while tidying up the parking lot, Bill noticed a man across the street, who was obviously struggling to find a particular spot. Bill approached him, and pleasantly asked him if he was looking for the diner.

“I used to own it,” Bill said proudly, launching into a story.

With help from family and friends, Bill continued to live by himself at his longtime home in Pottstown. By the age of eighty-six, his physical state required the constant care of a nursing home. Eleven days after checking in, and thirty four years and three days after “Abandoned Luncheontte” was released, Talmadge W. Faulk passed away on November 6th, 2007. Nancy joined him two months later, each of them leaving behind two daughters, two grandsons, and one—as John Oates described—immortal diner.

It is logical to assume that had Hall and Oates never approached Bill with their peculiar request, the Rosedale would have stood intact until his death. At the very least, the world was deprived of a rather unique estate sale. Instead, the diner crumbled under the weight of a record album cover. An album, that ironically (t-shirt notwithstanding), is the only tangible thing Talmadge W. Faulk ever received for his trouble.

Yet, with more than one million copies of Abandoned Luncheonette sold, along with countless pairs of eyes who have merely seen the cover, Bill’s Rosedale is indisputably one of the most famous diners in history. And that distinction has value—even though the diner owner himself was mystified by the worldwide appeal of two local hippie boys.

Pennsylvania Route 724 spans thirty miles, and passes through more than a dozen municipalities. Only one person in this world will ever be THE man on this considerable stretch of asphalt. And that man was Talmadge W. Faulk. Today, forty-five years after closing forever, Faulk’s diner still has significance, even to people who never once set foot in it. People like me.

On June 12th, 2010, I traveled six hundred miles from my home for what has become an annual visit with recently made, but dearly held friends. Marla’s husband, Mike, stepped several feet into thick woods, rummaging around the large infertile rectangle emblazoned by the Rosedale. While Marla, Nash, and I spotted several tiles from the floor and walls on the outskirts of the woods, Mike emerged with something I had never come across in my previous visits to the site. He extended it to me.  It was a plate, nearly 50% intact. “Would you like this?”  Mike asked.

I wanted to smile, but my jaw had dropped. I hope that somehow, somewhere, The Man on Route 724 was smiling for me.


Partial dinner plate from Rosedale Diner found in the underbrush
photo courtesy of Matt Simmons


Sketch of the Abandoned Luncheonette done by Scott Moyer


Former site on Rte 724 of the Abandoned Luncheonette today.
photo courtesy of Matt Simmons


Bill Faulk’s Pizza World today, another Abandoned restaurant!
photo courtesy of Matt Simmons


L-R, Susan Norman, Cindy Baker, Matt Simmons & Marla LaBelle
2010 photo courtesy of Matt Simmons

Acknowledgments:

I want to thank Matt Simmons for the great job he did writing the major portion of this piece. He did what I would have liked to accomplish myself. But due to time & travel constraints as well as a myriad of other reasons on my end, I was unable to do. I also want to thank Cindy, Marla & Susan for their part in telling this story. Without their assistance, none of this would have come to fruition. Finally, thanks to Daryl Hall & John Oates for inspiring me with that long-ago album cover that intrigued me so much through the 1970’s! – Larry Cultrera

The content of this story was greatly enhanced with information contributed by:

Cindy Baker, Marla LaBelle, Sue Norman, Betty Hohl, John Oates, Tim Hufnagle, Michael SanGiacomo, Nick Tosches and WCAU TV in Philadelphia.

They each have my sincere gratitude.

As does Daryl Hall, for writing the song that has led me on this remarkable journey.

…A journey that may have stalled in my corner of the world, were it not for Larry Cultrera.  Larry, thank you for sharing your Diner Hotline Weblog so that I may share my favorite story.” –  Matt Simmons

Coming Soon to Diner Hotline…. the history of the Rosedale Diner and how it came to be The Abandoned Luncheonette


Larry Cultrera finding The Abandoned Luncheontette, February 26, 1982

In an early post I did on November 7, 2007 (“The Diner in my Header”), I mentioned I would update a story I wrote in 1991 for a “Diner Hunting” column in the 4th edition of Roadside Magazine about finding The Abandoned Luncheonette, the diner on the cover of Daryl Hall & John Oates’ second LP record album. This update would include newly acquired background and info on the diner with lots of photos from my own archives as well as photos donated by friends and family members of the diner owner Bill Faulk.

I have mentioned this at least twice since then and am happy to announce that within the week, the longest post ever to appear on Diner Hotline will be posted! I am proud to say this post will be co-authored by my friend Matt Simmons who has put together the bulk of info and penned the most complete story of the Rosedale Diner ever written!

So, in anticipation of the post to be finalized, here are the lyrics to my favorite Hall & Oates tune (written by Daryl Hall)……..

They sat in an Abandoned Luncheonette
Sipping imaginary cola and drawing faces in the tabletop dust
His voice was rusty from years as a sergeant in “this man’s army”
He was old and crusty

She was twenty when the diner was a baby
He was the dishwasher, busy in the back, his hands covered with Gravy
Hair black and wavy
Brilliantine slick, a pot – cleaning dandy,
He was young and randy

Day to day, to day… today
then they were old, their lives wasted away
Month to month, year to year
they all run together
time measured by the peeling of paint on the luncheonette wall

The old sat together in the empty diner
filled with cracked china
Old news was blowing across the filthy floor
and the sign on the door read “this way out”, that’s all it read
that’s all it said

I noticed that one line in the lyrics (as written on the inner sleeve of the album) differed from the way Daryl Hall sang them. The line that said “He was old and crusty” was how Daryl sang it, on the inner sleeve it said “They were old and crusty”.  LAC

Abandoned Luncheonettes

As I have stated recently, some of my favorite photos have been of “Closed” and/or “Abandoned” Diners! I have found quite a few over the years and I would like to share with my readers some of these. In fact I am contemplating possibly having a calendar made with some of these photos in the future.

The Abandoned Luncheonette, aka the Rosedale Diner
Kennilworth, PA

Of course the inspiration for all “Abandoned” Diner photos for me was the Cover photo of Daryl Hall & John Oates 1973 LP record album entitled Abandoned Luncheonette! The photo was of the former Rosedale Diner that operated in Pottstown,PA from around 1950 until the mid 1960’s. Here is  the shot from their album, which was recorded for Atlantic Records…

Here is my shot which everyone will recognize from my header at the top of my blog page. I shot this in 1982, around 9 years after the album came out.

Right after I started this blog I promised I would expand upon the story I originally wrote in 1991 for Randy Garbin’s Roadside Magazine on finding this diner. The piece was part of his “Diner Hunting” section he ran back in the early days of Roadside. I am still planning the update with a lot more background info on the diner including vintage photos from back when it operated. Hopefully I’ll find the time in the near future to do this story justice.

Murphy’s Diner – Haverhill, Mass.

One of the Abandoned diners I have previously mentioned in 2 posts was Murphy’s Diner, see last post and also this link to the earlier one…. https://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/murphys-diner-lives-on/. This was one of my earliest “Abandoned” diners. A 1950 vintage Jerry O’Mahony diner.

The Rainbow Vet Diner – Hooksett, NH

This diner was moved from Manchester, NH into the woods just off the Rte. 28 Bypass in Hooksett, NH. This single-ended Sterling Streamliner was obviously there a while before I got to take this shot. There was almost nothing left of it. I photographed it on December 5, 1981. It lasted a few more years but was eventually demolished. 

Kingsley’s Diner – Mansfield, Mass.

This small Worcester Lunch Car was rotting away in someones back yard when I shot this in August of 1981. Probably long-gone by now.

“Closed” Diner – Webster, Mass.

This is another old Worcester Car that was demolished not long after I shot this photo. I believe the building behind it (kitchen?) still exists but there is another small building where the diner is that was operating as a barbershop. This was right near the Webster – Dudley town line. Barry Henley informed me this was possibly called Ben’s Diner when it operated.

Gateway Diner – Phillipsburg, NJ

On my way back from Harrisburg, PA in early 1981, I was travelling along Rte. 22. Right after you crossed the state line from Easton, PA to Phillipsburg, NJ, this was on the west side of the road. I took this shot from the median strip. This diner was one of the first transported to England (circa 1982). It remained in storage for years there but is now in the Netherlands after operating for a short time in Germany. See Roadside Online… http://www.roadsideonline.com/component/content/article/57-diner-finder-updates/6652-gateway-diner-moves-to-the-netherlands

Topper’s Diner – Dalton, PA

This diner actually operated somewhere nearby to this location before it was moved here. I do not know what happened, it was set-up on a foundation but the installation was never completed for whatever reasons. It was a good-sized diner that had a large kitchen (factory-built) as well as a large addition behind that section. I shot this July 16, 1984. A very late model O’Mahony diner.

Mac’s Diner – Boston, Mass.

Here is one wreck of a diner! My friend Becky Haletky said this old Worcester Lunch Car was actually in operation not long before I shot this in early 1981. Hard to believe! This was located on Columbus Avenue in the South End section of Boston, just off Massachusetts Avenue.

Midway Diner – Shrewsbury, Mass.

This was a “double-diner” made up of Worcester Lunch Car No. 636 on the left and Worcester Lunch Car No. 666 on the far right. No. 636 was originally Park’s Diner in Worcester and No. 666 was McDermott’s (Al Mac?) Warren Diner in Warren, RI first. I believe 666 had a fire and Worcester Lunch Car brought it back to the factory and fixed it back up to become a diningroom to 636 when it was moved from Worcester to Shrewsbury. These diners were separated within a couple of years of when I took this photo in 1981. 636 is currently in Vermont and 666 is in Andover, Mass. They are both in private hands and not operating.

(I’m not sure about this one) Diner? – Liverpool, PA

On a road trip down Rte. 11 (from Scranton to Harrisburg, PA) in March of 1990, we came across this little building. With its rounded corner posts and metal window frames, not to mention its oversized (almost cove style) overhang, I had to believe this was built by a diner manufacturer. Do not know anything about this other than it was filled with trash and other junk.

Monarch Diner – North Berwick, Maine

This was the former Monarch Diner that operated in Dover, NH. It was part of the chain run by the DeCola brothers based in Waltham, Mass. This diner was moved out of Dover to downtown North Berwick where it operated for a number of years under different owners (& different names) before being put into storage here, It currently is in another storage yard in Salisbury, Mass. (where the Miss Newport/Miss Mendon was being stored).

Depot Diner – Booth Bay, Maine

This little Worcester Lunch Car had originally operated in downtown Booth Bay prior to being moved to the Booth Bay Narrow Gauge Railroad site where it operated as a concession stand. In fact I knew of this diner’s existence by viewing an old slide that Dick Gutman had shot when it was still operating. Denise and I were spending a weekend in Booth Bay in 1992 when I tried to see if I could locate it. I realized the likely spot was the Narrow Gauge Railroad. When we went in we saw a small building that said it was the Depot Diner but it was built on-site. So I thought the diner was gone. We made it up to the back of the place where they had a large building housing a vintage car collection. I spoke with the older gentleman who was manning the info desk there and mentioned the old diner. He confirmed that the small building out front had replaced the diner. I asked if it was torn down and he said… oh no, they dragged it up into the woods adjacent to where we were and pointed in the direction of where it was. I ran back to my car and grabbed my camera and trekked into the woods to take some photos.

Glenwood Diner – Auburn, Mass.

This monitor-roofed Worcester Lunch Car was located at the Auburn – Worcester town line on Rte. 12. It was previously located on Rte. 20 in Shrewsbury. The Edgemere Diner took its place there. I photographed it on September 26, 1981 and by sometime in 1982, it was gone.

Abandoned Silk City diner – Berlin, NY

This was located in a field off Rte. 22 in Berlin, NY. I photographed it a couple of times, the first being on July 20, 1983. As far as I know, it was still there in 1992.

Miss Jersey City Diner – Jersey City, NJ

This was closed and vandalized across from a large public housing project in Jersey City, photo was taken November, 1984. It is a rare model Silk City diner. I know of only 2 others, the West Shore Diner in Lemoyne, PA and another diner that operated as Gordy’s Diner in Casselton, ND. (Gordy’s is currently in storage somewhere in Montana). I assume the Miss Jersey City has gone to “Diner Heaven”.

Kenny’s Diner – Haverhill, Mass.

This Worcester Lunch Car has been closed more than it has been open since the early 1980’s. I first photographed it in 1981. It has operated breifly as Alley Oop’s Diner in the mid-to-late 1980’s and as the Lindsay Rose Diner in the early 1990’s.

Bob’s Diner – Ashland, Mass.

Bob’s Diner had operated in  East Bridgewater, Mass. from 1933 (original name – Brady’s Diner) until 1978 when it was moved to this storage site in Ashland. It was rehabbed in the late 1980’s by Tim Hanna of Ken’s Steak House. He operated it for a couple of years as Timmy’s Diner. Currently in storage. Worcester Lunch Car No. 711.

Hodgins Diner – York Beach, Maine

This was one of the oldest Worcester Lunch Cars in existence according to Richard Gutman’s “Worcester Lunch Car Company” book. It basically rotted away. Luckily, Dave Waller salvaged some key pieces from this before it totally collapsed. In all my years going up to York, I never recall this open for business.

Ray’s Diner – Fitchburg, Mass.

This 1950’s vintage Fodero diner was sitting in a farmyard when I photographed it on August 4, 1994. It formerly operated at a site on River Street in Fitchburg. I was told it had become either a lounge or nightclub, (hence, the remnants of black paint on the stainless steel skin) before being moved here sometime in the 1960’s. There was little or no back wall or interior and it was being used to store lumber and various junk.

Steve’s Diner – Clinton, Mass.

This old Worcester Lunch Car  had the remnants of 2 signs on the roof. The one on the top layer said Steve’s Diner and the bottom layer said Turini’s Diner. I believe Lou Turini of Lou’s Diner (also of Clinton) had operated out of this diner before moving to the current one that has his name. This photo was also shot in 1981 and the diner was gone within a couple of years. A small park is now on this location.

Vree’s Sterling Diner – Saugus, MA

This was a modified Sterling Diner (non-streamlined) that was located on the Lynn Marsh Road (Rte. 107) near the Lynn / Saugus townline. It had larger windows installed sometime in the 1960’s and the end-roof overhangs were chopped off. The addition on the right had more counter seating as well as booth service. It had not been open for business since 1970 or so. This photo was shot within a year of its demolition (2004). If you look at the 3 windows on the extreme left, you can see that they are pretty well distorted due to walls bowing out causing the roof to collapse.