Notes from the Hotline, 7-8-2010

Diner Slide Presentaion in North Easton, Mass.

I will be doing one of my Diner Slide Presentations toward the end of this month. It will be held at The Ames Free Library of North Easton, Mass. on July 29, 2010. The show starts at 6:30 pm.


The Ames Free Library, North Easton, Mass. A handsome 1877 building
designed by the famed architect, Henry Hobson Richardson

In this presentation, I show how this American Institution has evolved from the horse drawn Lunch Wagons of the late 19th century to the large ultra-modern Diner-Restaurants of the 21st century. I also include a section on some of the local New England diners that people can visit, if they are so inclined!

Here is a link to the Library’s website… http://www.amesfreelibrary.org/index.htm

Diner Photos by Beth Lennon of Retro Road Map
included in Wildwood, NJ exhibit


Angelo’s Diner, Glassboro, NJ – Photo by Beth Lennon

Our good friend, Beth Lennon has a group of her Southern New Jersey Diner photos on exhibit for the month of July in wonderful Wildwood, NJ!  Beth has the hugely popular Retro Roadmap blog at http://retroroadmap.com/, probably my most favorite blog (after Diner Hotline of course!). Here is the mention of it from the July 8th Shore News Today….

WILDWOOD – Beth Lennon of Phoenixville, Pa. recently announced that a selection of her photos of southern New Jersey vintage diners will be on display in Wildwood, throughout July.  The exhibit will be at The Doo Wop Experience in celebration of their ‘Manufactured Diner Month’.
Lennon is the owner of RetroRoadmap.com – a travel blog dedicated to all things retro, vintage and mod.  The Web site includes her photos and experiences from her travels across the United States visiting what she describes as ‘cool old places’.  Her photographs have been used by cartoonist Dan Goodsell.
The Doo Wop Experience is located across from the Wildwoods Convention Center at Ocean Avenue between Burk and Montgomery Avenues.  The exhibit is free to the public and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon and 5 to 10 p.m.  For more information see www.doowopusa.org.

Here is Beth’s list of the diner photographs she has on exhibit…

Angelo’s Diner
26 North Main Street
Glassboro, NJ 08028
(856) 881-9854
1951 Kullman diner

At The Hop Diner
411 South Pomona Road
Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215
(609) 804-1950
1952 O’Mahony diner

Deepwater Diner
552 Shell Road
Carneys Point NJ 08069
(856) 299-1411
1958 Silk City diner

Elgin Diner
2621 Mount Ephraim Avenue
Camden, NJ 08104
(856) 962-0202
1958 Kullman diner

Forked River Diner
317 South Main Street
Forked River, NJ 08731
(609) 693-2222
c.1960 Kullman diner

Mustache Bill’s Diner
Broadway & 8th Street
Barnegat Light, NJ 08006
(609) 494-0155
1958 Fodero diner

Salem Oak Diner
106 Broadway Road
Salem, NJ 08079
(856) 935-1305
1955 Silk City diner

Report of Plaistow, NH’s Eggie’s Diner may be in jeopardy


Eggie’s Diner, Rte. 125, Plaistow, NH – Although the diner is covered in wood instead of its original stainless steel skin, it still has a lot of integrity left on the inside.

Diner Fan Bob Higgins emailed me 2 days ago with some news on Eggie’s Diner of Plaistow, NH. It does not look good for this 1950’s vintage Mountain View Diner. Here is what Bob said in the email….

The diner is closed up and vacant as of the beginning of July. The business has moved to another location in Plastow. There are some surveyors stakes and markings around the diner property. It has been for sale for a long time.

I hope that someone can save this diner, it probably would not take much to at least get it into storage and out of harm’s way.


The story of how I drove into an old postcard

Back in the early 1980’s, February of 1982 to be exact, I first had contact with John  Baeder. As many people know, John Baeder is considered along with Richard J.S. Gutman one of the founding fathers of this diner appreciation movement that dates to the late 1960’s to early 1970’s. Of course their respective books Diners (Baeder, 1978) and American Diner (Gutman, Kaufman, Slovic, 1979) helped lead the way for the rest of us.

I had already become friendly with Richard Gutman in early 1981 and it was not quite a year later that I finally got up the nerve to contact John. As I recall it was probably within a month or so of my dad’s passing away suddenly at the young age of 59. John & I talked (in that first phone call) for a while and started corresponding as well. He sent postcards of some of his prints as well as black & white xerox copies of some of his diner postcard collection. These copies usually were 8.5″ x 11″ sheets containing at least 6 postcard images.

One of the packages I received had about 3 of these letter size copies stapled together and had an image that depicted a street scene. The scene was entitled… Fort Dix Road, Wrightstown, NJ. In the scene the photographer was standing on the east side of the street looking across the street and back to the left. In the foreground of the shot was the Victory Diner, looking to be a late 1940’s to early 1950’s Master Diner. The diner was situated end-wise to the street with a parking lot in front. To the left of the diner was a business block housing 2 or 3 other establishments and toward the end of the block a neon sign was visible that said “Town Diner”. Beyond these businesses a small stone bridge spanned a waterway and the road sort of swung to the right, out of the photo.

Fort-Dix-Rd
postcard image from John Baeder collection

In reading John’s book (Diners) I recall him mentioning about doing a painting from an old postcard image of a street scene. How he had a fantasy of going into the image and say, walk down the street and maybe go into one of the stores or buildings in the scene. Well I had an experience that came close to what John had fantasized about. I should also mention that both John and I have talked about our shared belief in a sort of sixth sense.

Back in June of 1983, I attended the Society for Commercial Archeology’s meeting at Wildwood, NJ. I started the drive down on Thursday evening June 23, 1983 and got as far as a rest area on I-684, just north of White Plains, NY where I slept in my van for a few hours. The next morning I had breakfast at the Star Diner, a 1950 vintage Silk City diner in White Plains. Another highlight of that morning was visiting the Kullman Diner Company factory, then located in Avenel, NJ before proceeding down to the Wildwood area.

wildwood-cover-outside
Souvenir booklet from the SCA Wildwood meeting 6-25-83

On the 25th, I visited most of the diners in the Wildwood area and walked a little of the boardwalk before meeting up with the other attendees of the SCA meeting at the Wildwood Diner. When the initial meeting festivities were concluded, I decided to start the drive back, opting not to participate in the scavenger hunt they had planned.

By this time it was probably just past 2:00 pm and I started driving north. I went as far as Atlantic City, where I photographed the Columbus Diner and started to head west on Rte. 30. As I recall, I travelled Rte. 30 as far as Pomona, NJ, where I photographed the South China Restaurant, a stainless steel Jerry O’Mahony diner. This was on a side road just off Rte. 30. I decided to continue north on this road, I believe it was unmarked (no route number). I should probably mention that I had decided I would rely on my sense of direction and not use any roadmaps for this particular roadtrip thus having a heightened sense of adventure and discovery.

So, I drove for many miles into and through what I realized was the middle of the Pine Barrens. I started to get nervous as this area was sparsely settled with hardly any roadside businesses and I was getting extremely low on gasoline. I started talking to the van saying we could make it to the next town to get gas. I had no idea where I was, and in fact found out as most people do who drive through New Jersey, there are few signs telling you what particular town you are in, at any given time. Well finally I was approaching civilization, more and more houses and such were appearing along the road.

Then something strange happened, I started getting a feeling that I was approaching the town that I remembered from that postcard image that John Baeder had sent me previously. I don’t know why but it popped into my head and the feeling was extremely strong! Wouldn’t you know, the road went around a curve to the left and I crossed a stone bridge into a town. I was amazed! It WAS the same town as in the postcard! I pulled over to the side and looked and there it was, the former Victory Diner now called the Super Diner. It had gained a stucco facade under the windows and the parking lot in front of it was now a lawn. It also appeared to be not in operation.

Super-Diner-1-Wrightstown,NJ
Super Diner, Wrightstown, NJ

Super-Diner-2-Wrightstown,NJ
Super Diner, Wrightstown, NJ

This was one of the more interesting things that had ever happened to me on the road, in fact I do not believe any other experience comes close. After taking my photos of the diner I went down the street and got gas for the van. Then I continued on to the Mount Holly area and had dinner at the Crossroads Diner a late model brick Fodero diner with mansard roof. The rest of the trip consisted of staying at a motel adjacent to the Premium Diner on U.S. Rte. 1 in Avenel. I believe the next morning I had breakfast at the Avenel Diner up the road and drove home through New York and Connecticut arriving home in Medford, Mass. in the middle to late afternoon. What a trip!