Wednesday, December 28, 2011

World War II Sugar Rations

From the Syracuse Journal in 1945.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Watertown & Ogdensburg, NY

Alvin Jerge bought Ward & Dickinson Car #69 and it was shipped
7/7/1926 - This information was in the Ward & Dickinson ledger for diners #1-100

As you read at the bottom of this page, a few things seem a little weird. The diner did not come from East Aurora and the black marble counter does not ft in well with a Ward & Dickinson. Also, a similar restaurant for 3 years would not have been a Ward & Dickinson, so it must be
the J.J. Sharpe built diner that was in East Aurora.

The ledger also says the diner was worth $6500, not $8000.

A few more significant pieces of information. Jerge bought another Ward & Dickinson Diner, and that location had a restaurant until 1988. no clue if the diner stayed that long, but by the 1960s, the location became known as a restaurant and not a diner. The "new" diner was #51, which spent a year in Cleveland, as part of a failed chain.
Jerge sold diner #69 to an Ogdensburg party, Louis Bakery(Baking) who called the diner the Crescent Diner. Louis was assisted by Miss Mary Wert and Hoyt Mitchell.

Bakery was in the news in the following year with plans to go to Silver Creek to buy a new diner if he could get a lease on new land. As the diner never materialized, it is believed that the news was premature.

Lastly, back in Watertown, the location where Jerge had this diner originally, would see another Ward & Dickinson known as the S&B Diner. This was run by Lloyd W. Blanding & Clark L. Sherman from appx 1935 to 1962, and would only last 4 more years before being demolished for urban renewal. Lloyd came from Salamanca where he ran another diner, probably a Richardson, since 1924.

July 15, 1926 - Watertown, NY


A Pullman diner will be Installed
as a restaurant at 231 Court street
Saturday. It was announced today by
Alvin J. Jerge. proprietor of the car.
The diner arrived here this morning
from East Aurora. coming to this city
by rail.
The restaurant will be equipped
with the latest fixtures and will have
a black marble counter for service.
The car is equipped with an electric
refrigerator and other modern equipment
The value of the car is estimated
at $8,000. A similar restaurant
has been successfully operated
in East Aurora for the past 3 years.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November History

Way too busy with everything else.

Some small tidbits. The Cities Service Diner that spent a year in Dansville, NY around 1939, was moved to Geneseo and the paper reports that it was an old trolley car. It looks like a Richardson dining car came to Warsaw in 1924. Hopefully I can get a better grasp on the history of this diner. Good year for locating former Richardsons as I have located three of them.
A blurb from a DeRuyter newspaper dated 11/12/1903 "Howard and Gross Swan of Linckalen own a lunch car in Cortland and recently had receipts of $100. Howard has half interest in a lunch car in Dunkirk." Also 9/27/1934 " Gold Dome Diner on Erie Blvd West and Thompson in Syracuse, burned down and was destroyed. The diner was valued at $7,500"

Ward & Dickinson News - All I could find on the Modern Diner in Wellsville coming to town is that the diner came from Le Roy in 1933, and there was just a grand opening advertisement. No article, not even a blurb announcing any information.
The W&D in Butler, PA seems to have been called the Blue Ribbon Diner. About 98% confident on this one, as two diners/lunch wagons popped up in the city directory during the time period the ledger places the diner at. The original owner(who bought the diner) was never listed as owning the diner in the it directory, and his address disappeared in the following year, and he disappeared at the same time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Diners of the Capital Distrcit

No history this month except for one bit of info I just recently learned. We will save that for last.

"Diners of the Capital District" should be out and for sale within a month of this writing, if all goes well. It has been completely written, and just needs a very small bit of editing and writing. The book will take a more in depth look at all of the diners in the Capital Region and will include a trip down the Taconic Parkway and along the New York/Vermont/Massachusetts/Connecticut border.
For the Capital Region, I have extended over to Gloversville to include the trio of diners in the Central Leatherstocking region. for the most part, I did not go south into Columbia and Greene County, except for the Taconic Parkway and a mention of the diner in Hudson.
The diner will also include a bit of history. There is a lot I do not know about many Capital District diners, so I tried to mention them all in hopes someone out there has more information.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy, send me a message, and I will have another post when the book does officially come out.

now for a quick hit of history. I recently found out that the O'Mahony(c.a. 1939) down in Columbus, Georgia was the former diner at the current location of the Farmer Boy Diner in Colonie. It spent a few years in between Amsterdam and Scotia until it was sold and moved to Georgia. Unfortunately, the diner is now the office of a used car dealership.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


There were at least tow diners in Dansville. There may have been a third, Cities Service Diner, that was there for less than a year, but that can not be verified.

One of the diners in Dansville was built by Richardson. This diner became known as Mike's Diner, moving just once to make way for a Post Office. In a photograph that included the diner, it looks like someone put two Richardson diners perpendicular, or built the addition to mimic the original diner, just set perpendicular. I really can not tell which one is the original diner, it's that good at the distance the photograph is from.

The other diner was opened by Mr. Arthur Nelson of Gowanda around 1927. Arthur Nelson was running a home made diner in Gowanda from 1921, that was built by his father-in-law Peter Schneider. Sometime around 1927/1928??? that diner was replaced by a Liberty dining car(Charles Ward of Ward & Dickinson fame went off on his own) So maybe this Dansville diner was the original Schneider built diner? I won't know until I see a photograph.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July's Post

Staying with the western most Finger Lakes region, I was considering either Dansville or Le Roy for my focus. To tie in to last month's post, I will go with more Le Roy info.
When newspapers mention diners, or "lunch cars" out in the middle of nowhere, and don't go in depth, it has you wondering if they are authentic diners or not. You know there had to be a few diners out at isolated country locations, sometimes near a gas station and sometimes not. So many "diner" names need not be mentioned because there is absolutely no evidence to them being authentic diners.
One of these that has me go back and forth is this May 1940 blurb, "Ralph Zingaro will soon have his new lunch car at Buck Run Gully ready for business." Every other mention of this business calls it a diner. With this diner, it is going to take a photograph to tell whether or not this is an authentic diner or not.
Mr. Bertha Stoner got mentioned in both the Dansville Breeze and the Caledonia Advertiser with her "Grove Diner" The diner was located on the highway to Batavia at a truck stop, tourist camp, cabis, showers and a bunkhouse for truck drivers, and was a honest to goodness Rochester Grills! Later the diner became known as the Bertha Stoner Diner "At the Grove."
The last advertisement I have found for this diner is 1938. Who knows how long it lasted, but one would have to imagine that the Interstate in the 1950s was probably the beginning of the end, if it was still around.
With a postcard shown to me by Art Goody, this makes two Rochester Grills I have been able to identify this past year. Art Goody, postcard collector, showed me a postcard of Lane's Diner in Rochester, NY.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

addendum to June's post

Estelle Howard's diner at the Junction of Rt 36 and US Rt 20 was known as the Trolley Diner by 1956. Mr. & Mrs. Robert Nelson purchased the diner from Mr. & Mrs. Dell Nichols in December of 1953. The Trolley Diner was for sale in 1965 also.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

june's history post.

There's some confusion in Estelle Howard's Ward & Dickinson. What is known is that Clive & Estelle Howard bought Ward & Dickinson #54 and placed it in Le Roy, NY. The story was that the diner came from nearby Perry, NY. I never believed this, but it had me wondering about Perry. I could never find proof there was a diner in Perry until recently. The Perry Record on 11/30/1932 reported that Estelle Howard was placing an all steel lunch car in town and that she had a lunch car in Le Roy for the past 7 years. It made no mention of a physical movement of the diner itself.
In 1937, Estelle got remarried and sold the diner for a total of 5 weeks. When she came back to the diner, it was announced that howard, "practically put a new exterior on the diner."
Next, in 1940, it was announced that Estelle Howard(not her married name, more mystery) was moving the diner to the junction of US 20 and NY 36 and that Estella had a hook up with Standard Oil which was putting a new station on the south-west corner. A May 1, 1940 Perry Record blurb said that the diner came from Le Roy. Though, should be believe them, because papers are often wrong, and I have found inconsistencies in their looking back column when they went from someone working at a diner to owning it, when mentioned 30 years later.
A May 16, 1940 quick blurb says, "sequel to village lunch cart story. Part of it fell off truck when it was departing," Fortunately, on June 6, 1940 there was a mention that Mrs. Theos Howard was assisting Estelle Howard in the dining car at its new location. So we know she did get the diner open at the new spot.

One other Perry, NY story comes from June 1946. Ernest Lindsay bought a lunch car and placed it in the village. He bought a lunch car from Avon, Ny where it was on the circle adjioning the East Avon Road. This should make this diner #41, owned originally by Otto Kiefer, which was known as Kief's Diner. Otto passed away around 1940, and the diner was more closed than open for the next 6 years. i have a mention somewhere that this diner was being removed sometime in the 1940s, so this would make perfect sense.

Research - I will need to check the Le Roy newspapers around when Estelle moved to Perry to see what happened to the diner, because as we all know, there was a Ward & Dickinson diner in Le Roy until 2002, last known as Conklin's. Something had bothered me about the diner, as I looked at photos. I felt like Conklins was not one of the first 100 Ward & Dickinson diners. That there was something different about the roof slope. So I may be right after all! And if I am, where did the "new" diner come from?

Side note - There was a Liberty dining car in Painted Post, NY

Saturday, May 14, 2011

No April post

Two posts because there was no April post. Things have been busy with non diner stuff, as spring rolls around, and sometimes diner research just runs hot and cold.

June 18th, I will be out in western New York, doing a book signing at the Westfield Main Diner and participating in the Erie Chautauqua Roadside Day. I may also have a book signing on June 19th at the Woodlawn Diner just south of Buffalo.

Most importantly, though, is the release of "Diners of Pennsylvania" the second edition. All of the current photos are in color! This is a must buy for all diner fans!

Link here

Diner between Canastota & Chittenango

NY RT 5 - There was a diner in hiding that me and Glenn Wells spotted on a roadtrip a few years ago. We got a look inside, but it was a quick look, as there were a load of bees around the windows of the closed diner. Research popped up that placed this diner in Oneida.(see article) When I passed this place last month, two gentlemen were remodeling the place, in order to open it back up as a restaurant. The bad news is that a very quick peek inside looks like they will butcher the diner up quite bad. Hopefully some of my excellent central New York sources will report some good news about this place soon.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

North Carolina

The website has branched out to Ohio, Michigan and Virginia, so why not North Carolina. Check out the main page for a link to my minimalist look at diners of North Carolina. No history, just a map and the diners.
Due to the simplicity of this page, I may put up pages for some mid-west states in similar fashion, but I have not planned for any of this yet.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Another new find. - Westfield, NY

We just keep on finding more and more new information. This one is mine, but so much has been found by Westfield, NY historian Marybelle Beigh. I wish there were a whole bunch more Marybelles out there! We would be able to solve nearly every diner mystery!!!

This months find actually happened yesterday! I knew of the Elk Dinor in Erie from 1929 to 1932 from the city directories. But its existence was only 4 years, and who knew if it was a real diner or where it went to. I also did not know who built the diner. But now I do! The next thing is finding out where in Westfield this diner went to. Westfield is a small village, but seemingly, there was no mention in the newspapers about this diner coming to Westfield. Also, Westfield got two more diners in the middle of 1934. Right now, though, it is looking like this could have been the Beacon Diner, which was a Ward, located on the outskirts of town, but right now, it is only speculation.

More speculation. The diner was originally called the Club diner, and W&D came out with a new model of diner called the "Club Diner" sometime in 1928-29, so it would make sense that this diner was a newly built diner and was of the "Club" model.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

More Ward & Dickinsons... maybe...

Flickr brought a picture of a diner which I thought to possibly be a Brill or O'Mahony Monarch styled diner.
Flickr image
Recently, someone replied with an article that contained a photo of the same diner at a different angle, which seems to put Ward & Dickinson as the leading candidate. The only thing is that there do not seem to be any green swirled glass windows in the end windows.
Other image, go to page 9
I might think Liberty from the end photo, but from the second photo, the roof curvature does not deem it a Liberty. It also can't be a Mulholland from the first photo as the end roof line had a little curve to it. Basically, from the second photo, I am leaning towards this being a Ward & Dickinson.

The second news I have comes from the Westfield, NY Historian. A Customer came in to talk to her at her ice cream shop in Westfield this week and said her parents had a diner to the west of Westfield and also has some green swirled glass from that diner. Well, green swirled glass typically says W&D, though O'Mahony and Silk City did use green swirled glass in a few of their diners. More details as they come along.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More info from Ohio

Dan Brady emailed me just after Christmas. Dan has a blog dedicated to Lorain, Ohio. "Brady's Bunch of Lorain, Ohio" While talking about past businesses, he became interested in a diner that was once in Lorain, and found my web site by searching for the first owner's name.

I will let his web site tell the story of Ward & Dickinson #93

his blog can be found here: