After the workers were served...
Diners/Lunch Wagons of the Capital Region from appx 1890
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5th Ave * - - Owned by a Mr. Zepf. In the Troy City Directory, the
property is first listed as a lunch room, and later on he is listed as
a restauranteur. All this, even though everyone I have talked to remembers
this place as being a diner. It was at 356 5th Ave. From 1932 to 1966 it
was owned by Zepf. In 1967, it was known as Little John Systsems Inc until
1969. In 1970 it reverted back to the 5th Ave Diner until its last listing
in 1978. Based on information from Bob Moore, the first diner was
a Ward & Dickenson and the second was a Silk City. Unsure at
the time when the second diner took over, but it was "shortly" thereafter.
Miss Lansing * - - At 619 2nd ave. It had this name from 1932
to 1935, and then was listed as vacant in 1936. It was relisted in 1937
as just the Lansing Diner. In 1938, it became the 2nd Ave Diner. It was
listed as vacant again in 1945 and was back again in 1946 until 1970. In
1971 was was known as Bob's Diner for just one year.
NAMES : Clarence Smith, Lloyd Clark, Charles
Rosa, Leonard Dignard, Mrs. Ruth Foster, Robert Hyde, Zepf
Miss Troy #
Palace [On-Site]* - - Taken down around 1978 when the Alt Rt
7 bridge was built over the beginning of Hoosic St.
Palace [Pre-fab]* - - 1947 was the first year this diner was
Congress Diner* - - Not sure on this one. It was open from 1945
to 1957. It was at 9 Congress at the corner of River St. This diner became
the congress diner from 1961 to 1965 and the address was changed to 13
Troy Diner* - - It was at 381 River St. Leon Harrington
was the previous owner to the property, and I am not sure if it was the
same structure before 1950 or not. It stayed open til 1973 when it was
torn down in the name of Urban Renewal.
Gulli's * - - Gulli also had a gas station which predated the
diner. The diner was located after Oneida St on Hoosic St. The first year,
1940, it was known as Gulli's Diner. Then became known as the Sycway Diner.
It was closed in 1957 to 1959 and reopened in 1960 at the corner of Cooledge
at 585 Hoosic St. The last entry was in 1963, and Roxy's came along a few
Hidden one #
NAMES : Leon Harrington, Merrett Roberts,
Edward Tague, Leland Hilt, Joseph Gulli, William Walsh, Earl Sharples,
Frank Sheeles, Jason Kennedy Jr, Walter Conlen, Theo Bienick, Raymond and
Jean Wilson, Alex Brooksaw, Bert Fettig, George Munjauinas, John Wismont,
Abram Streichman. Ed Knapp, Dick & Harry Hull, John & Al DeCelle
Quintessence - Fodero 1932 - Previously Morris Lunch
and UN Diner.
Jack's - Comac 1949 - Only one of two Comac Diner left
Dan's Place II - O'Mahony -
Dewey's - Kullman 1940 - Came from Kingston, NY
Inga's - Trolley Car -
Silver # - Trolley Car -
Tops - Fodero 1960's -
Lunch Wagon * - - At 906 Brandywine in 1924 it was owned by
Howard Schape. In 1926 it became known as Garrett Lunch.
Palace Lunch * - O'Mahony -
Oven and Griddle Diner * - - At 32 Jay street starting in 1927.
Mont Pleasant Diner - - From a picture this looks like a bricked
Palace - O'Mahony - Only diner left in Gloversville.
Polly Izzo's Club Diner *
Palace * - Destroyed 7/2002
OTB Building ^- Possibly a Bixler - Currently this sits at
1839 2nd ave. This diner started out at 1897 2nd Ave in 1933 as the Watervliet
Diner. By 1937 it was known as the Miss Watervliet Diner. It stayed at
this spot until 1944. In 1945 it was located at 1825 2nd Ave. In 1946 it
was again at a different spot, this time at 1839 2nd Ave, where it is today.
It was then known as the Alpine. In 1961 it was known as the Alpine Lunch
and Grill. The last year it was listed was either 1977 or 1978.
Bob's - Mountain View - couldn't tell by the current
look of the diner. It was previously called Cocoa's when it started out
in 1955 at 929 19th St. In 1961 it became the J&J Diner as Cocoa got
out of the diner business. It stayed this way until 1966. From 1967 to
1983 it was known as Verni's Diner to become Bob's in 1984. Cocoa opened
up another diner, not a real one, acorss the railroad tracks sometime before
South End - - At 356 3th Ave originally. It was at this address
from 1936 to 1940. In 1941 there was an Arsenal Diner at 399 8th Ave which
was probably this same diner. In 1954, the last year the Arsenal Diner
was listed, it was listed as "lunch rooms". This is intriqueing.
Quite possibly this diner moved to Menands and then just south of Watervliet.
Walt's Diner - - This was an old Trolley car. It was at 1566
Broadway between 15h and 16th. Walter Guyette opened it in 1951. In 1953
it became known as Walt's Central Diner. The last year listed was 1968.
The land where the diner sat is now I-787. It is older than 1951.
I have been contacted by one of the previous owner's sons.
The Diner - - 126 Remsen St in Cohoes. Its years were 1939
to 1960. I have been given a photo of the diner from a newspaper.
John McGill - Lunch Cart - Cohoes was the only municipality
to have a lunch cart or a lunch wagon specifically listed in the greater
Troy city directory. This is one of them and was listed at 157 Remsen from
1930 to 1936.
Patrick Rohan - Lunch Wagon - See above, At 31 Seneca
St. 1930 was the first year and in 1931 restaurant was in the listing.
The last year listed was 1940.
Palace Lunch System - O'Mahony - This was located at 5 Warren
St. And was part of the area that was leveled for the civic Center. I have
some stories from Bill Gates, son of the owners of the Bill Gates Diner
of Bolton Landing
Sam's Diner - - Samuel Rivette ran a cart since about 1905,
currently I'm finding more specific information
Diner at 16 Maple. - - There was a diner here until 1930. I
have a picture [although a tree in between partially] of the diner to confirm
it. owned at different times by Ross E Passineu, Hicks and Passineu and
Arthur H. Steele.
Central Lunch - Ward and Dickenson - This diner was actually
first called Brownells. Next it was called Central Lunch, and finally King's
Diner. I put in Central Lunch here because the picture from 1944 shows
it as being called Central Lunch, even though it was listed as King's in
the city directory.
Glen's Diner - O'Mahony - Also later on called Glens Falls Diner.
This was located right next to Sandy's Clam bar. I also have found a picture
of this diner from 1944. This diner is now the Northhampton diner.
Pat and Bob's Diner - O'Mahony 1949 - It is now called the
Miss Wakefield Diner in New Hampshire on the Spaulding Turnpike.
Wolf Rd -
China Pavilion ^- Silk City known as Duke's Northway
Diner at one time
Uncle Milty's Glenmont - Silk City previously just known
as the Miss Glenmont Diner.
Gibby's - Mountain View -
Duanesburg - Bixler -
Bridge Diner ^ - Bixler - In Coeymans on NY 144.
Car Dealership in Ravena ^
Chez Sophie Bistro - Fodero - Previously called the Malta
Commercial Dining Car - Ward & Dickenson - Located
at 38 and then 48 Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs.
Bolton Service - Worcester 791 1946 - Previously called
Jule's, named for the owner. This diner took the spot of the Bill Gates
Diner. Jule's arrived around 1989. It started out in Providence as Macini's
Service Diner. It later found its way to Plainville, MA as Don's Diner
at 123 South St. Next it was in Attleboro, MA as Eddie's and Myle's Service
Diner up until 1988. This diner is now a coffee shop called Bolton Beans
Miss Port Henry - Ward and Dickenson -
Bill Gates ^- Trolley from Troy, NY -
Silver * - O'Mahony 236 - Was in Whitehall, NY. It now
resides at the Vermont Teddy Bear Co, in storage.
Jonesville #- Sterling 399 1939 - started out in Albany
as the Morris Lunch. After being in Jonesville, NY for some time it was
moved to New Bedford, MA, in 1998, behind the Shawmut Diner in storage
and now sits in storage in Fall River, MA. where it was moved in 2000.
Rigor Hill Diner - Fodero - one of four in a chain on
the Taconic Parkway
Jimmy D's - Fodero - was one of the four on the Taconic, now
it sits on NY 22 in New Lebanon, showing no signs of once being a diner.
West Taghkanic - - one of the four on the Taconic.
Martindale Chief - one of the four on the Taconic.
Columbia - O'Mahony - This diner sits in Hudson, NY
Prospect Mountain - Silk City -
Little Falls - O'Mahony -
Countryside - Silk City -
9W - - Saw a matchbook for the 9W Diner in Catskill.
Birdseye - Silk City - This diner was restored by Daniel
Blue Benn - Silk City -
Lindholme's - Sterling #4017 1940 - This diner started
out in Rutland and then moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but was never
opened at this site. It is now in Fall River, Mass in storage.
Midway - Silk City 1951 - In Rutland from around 1951
to 1996 at 120 S. Main St. Now it is in storage in Middlebury.
Best - On Site - Built in late 1999, it is very difficult
to tell that this is not just one of the new wave diners from the outside.
From the inside, it is easier to tell that it is an on site creation.
Miss Adams[old] *- Worcester #586 1928 - was at this spot
from 1937 to 1949. Previously in Allston on Western Ave, known as Fahey's
Diner. After being in Adams it was in Worcester as Charlies at 344 Plantation
St starting in 1951. It was most likely reconditioned by the Worcester
Co. It finally is in Boylston known as the 1921 Diner on Schrewsbury St.
Miss Adams[current] - Worcester - This diner replaced
the older Miss Adams diner. The outside is bricked over but the inside
is very original.
DiLego's *- Worcester - This diner was ran in North Adams,
MA at 11 Ashland. I believe this diner ran from 1930 to around 1960. Previously
John DiLego ran a lunch cart.
Miss North Adams - Worcester - From 1934 to around 1951
this diner ran at 15 Main street, first by Anthony Polis and then by Mrs.
Constance Mancini in 1938. It was moved to Williamstown on US 7 where today
it is the Chef's Hat Restaurant. One time known as the Star Diner.
Today, the diner has been totally remodeled.
Noel's Cafe - -
Checkerboard * - Ward and Dickinson - Originally in Dalton,
MA. Had many names including the Miss Pittsfield, Lizi's Miss Pittsfield
and the Checkerboard Diner
Adriens - Sterling - Originally in Albany, NY. Now in
Fuddruckers - Encased Kullman - Started out as Benny's
Towne Diner in 1948 at 15 Center St. Currently sits at 1350 East St.
Berkshire Hill's Diner * - Berkshire Street Parlor Car 1903
- This diner became the foray for the restaurant at the same address.
It was part of the fire to the restaurant. It now is in Maine being
refurbished to its trolley car days.
Bridge Diner * - - Ran by John P O'Laughlin. I now believe the
new diner came in around 1920 that replaced the old one. There was a diner
at this spot since at least 1912. In 1978 the diner was called DeLuca's
Dining Car until its demise the following year for a park.
Utica, NY [This
may or may not be included in the book]
Genessee Grill - Bixler - Genessee St. in South Utica
Betty's Diner - Silk City #51112 1951 - NY 49 in Marcy
Mansard Meditterean and afterwards era
May : Slowly but surely. Moving
ahead in Schenectady and Pittsfield with online databases. Waiting
on North Adams Library to get their scanners working to scan in pics from
the city directories. I am also working on complete databases for
Glens Falls and North Adams. Albany will probably be started this
February : Not much
updating on this page. Things are moving along, slowly but surely.
I seem to get pieces from here and there. And I am also not just
dedicated to one area at a time, so that splits things up too. I
am working on the comprehensive lists via the city directories for Schenectady,
Pittsfield and the Glens Fall, Hudson Falls and Ford Edward areas.
My summer plans will probably be highly curtailed due to educational committments
I must make. Much of the information I have found is eeither a hodge
podge or will not make it to this website.
November : Unfortunately
it's been a long time. These pages are moving to geocities due to
the simplicity of updating them from that site. I lost my Glens Falls/Hudson
Falls/Fort Edward pre-1925 info. I am currently slowly chugging along
on Schenectady information. Many diner pics are online. I just need
a main page in which to list the specific diners.
August : Easier to go month by month.
Found pictures of Noel's Cafe(2 exterior and 1 interior) and DiLego's Diner(1
ext, 1 int) in North Adams, MA. Pittsfield is coming along good, need to
shore up the info. Found a pic of the Commercial Dining Car in Saratoga
Springs. Schenectady is in the beginning stages. Troy is going much slower
than I thought.
I have begun to collect the information on Diners based upon the first
name of the diner for inventorizing them. Then each owner and name change
will be listed for years based on the city directories. The information
on this website will not be that specific though. Also, If I do start to
send letters to newspapers asking them to write articles and asking the
public for memories, etc.. then the beginning of this page will be for
7-17-00 : Found pictures of Glen's diner
and Central Lunch. I didn't think Central Lunch was a diner. Talked to
Bill Gates of Bolton, and will be receiving info from him. Started work
in Pittsfield, Mass.
7-10-00 : Slowly working on the Glens
Falls area. I hope to piece it together this Wednesday.
Currently, I have news articles on these diners:(There could be more
on these same diners) Palace Diner of Glens Falls. Miss Troy. Miss Glenmont.
6-28-00 : Since this is the first news
update. I will start from the beginning. I am starting by going to libraries
and looking in the city directories for any possible diners after 1925.
With the help of pictures/historical books et al, I will pare down the
list to just the diners and hopefully only a few I am unsure of. I will
consult local historians for more help, either with confirming diners or
articles about the diners. So far I have convered the Troy/Watervliet/Cohoes/Lansingburgh
area. I still need to confirm some things and then I will try to find articles
on all the diners, if possible.
I am currently working on the Glens Falls area. I have found 3 Diners
so far, plus one Closson diner(he was a diner builder from Glens Falls).
I have an article one of of the diners, the Palace Lunch.
I also got some information at Diner-Rama about the travels of some
of the diners that were in the Capital Region at one time or another.
Links & Pictures
List Section -
lists of diners in assorted towns around New York State [work in progress]
Rensselaer County Historical Society, Troy
Folklore Center at Crandall Library, Glens Falls
Dr Marilyn J. Van Dyke, Warren Co.
Efner Historical Library at City Hall, Schenectady
Brookside Museum [Saratoga Co]
Herkimer County Historical Society
The first paragraph was written when the direction of the book
was to be starting at the year 1924.
Why 1925 as a starting date? As you will read below, Diners
became known as such around 1924, previously being known as lunch carts.
Also, practicly every diner existing today was made after 1925. Most importantly
is the forseeable difficulty in locating these lunch wagons before they
were known as diners, since cities did not seem to keep a good track of
thes lunch wagons.
Diners started out after 1887, they were simple and were made
for workers with short lunch breaks. They started out as lunch wagons.
As they became prefabricated by people in the sole business of making lunch
carts, they became bigger and grander. Taking a step from the railroad
dining car, many started to resemble railroad dining cars. (pic of old
ones down by Kingston) Because this was a business, the owners did realize
that they were missing out on one half of society; women. This is how "Booth
Service" and "Ladies Welcome" found their way on the side of many diners,
especially Worcester Diners.
Most silver diners seen today are from the 40's and 50's, with
a few straglers from the late 20's and 30's floating around. These diners
from the late 20's were usually focused on the counter service, a concept
which did prevail into the 40's with a company called Valentine's. They
also usually included another row of stools by the windows. Even a few
diners from this time had a couple of booths at one end. As a means of
survival, most diners left standing from this time have added on additional
dining room. Some have removed the wall opposite the grill, and others
have just removed a side wall and added a whole new building.
As the 40's were reached, more and more new diners began to
lose their porcelin enamel look from the outside, and received a stainless
steel exterior. The companies that used the porcelin enamel
would keep on dwindling until the last, Worcester left the scene in the
50's. Some of the diner makers stayed with the railroad car look
but many started to move away from this stereotype. Perhaps the biggest
reason for the stereotype was the monitor roof (the small windows on top
like in W&D's). This was the golden age of diners, with each company
trying to outdo the other. The popularity of a diner to a businessman was
that it could be a family run business that was easily started up, as you
didn't have to build the place, it came to you. This was said to have attracted
many returning soldiers to the business. As the late 50's came, and the
prosperity in the United States began to slow down, diners also took a
changed in direction.
It was said that there were about 6000 diners in the states
at this time. Perhaps this was too high of a number, perhaps, coupled with
Urban Renewal, it was easy to get rid of any building, or just perhaps
the fact that because they were so easily built they could also be easily
destroyed. During this time, the fast food restaurant really began to get
a foothold on society. This coupled with the passing of the stainless steel
fad, in part helped lead to new designs of diners. In came the space-age
look. There were some diners from the 40's and 50's desembling this look,
especially DeRaffele's. The Fodero company, starting around 1960, really
caught hold of this style. Mostly though, diners moved into the mansard
meditterean, fake stone fascade. They also began to be known as "Family
Restaurants", and except for a counter, did not resemble the inside of
a real diner. Nonetheless, they were prefabricated.
Into the 70's and 80's, only a hardcore numbering of people
still thought fondly of diners. Fortunately, things are coming full circle
once again, and diners are becoming popular once again. Unfortunately though,
these aren't the same diners from the 40's and 50's most of the time. The
interiors are from the 70's and the exteriors are from the 40's. What they
might just be doing though, is getting people to appreciate the authentic
diners still around. We will always have change, and we will always lose
some diners, but it is important to remember these lost places that conveyed
a sense of form and function to the eye like very few places can.
Troy and Lansingburgh Diners
The rest of this page is going to be dedicated to three known diners to
have existed in the Troy/Lansingburgh, NY area. This includes the Fifth
Avenue Diner, Bob's Diner and the Palace Diner. Any memories or pictures
of these diners are gladly accepted.
The Palace Diner, as you may know, was originally an old factory-built
diner (I do not know the manufacturer.) I don't remember it very well,
but believe it did have a counter facing the outside so that patrons could
walk up and be served without going inside. I better remember the later
site-built Palace Diner (late 50s-early 60s.) My favorite story regarding
the Palace is this: when the new building was completed, the builder handed
the owner the key to his new diner. The owner fumed, why do I need this
- we never close - and promptly pitched the key into the Hudson River!
This backfired years later when there was a death in the family and they
HAD to close - they had to call a locksmith! (This story most likely appeared
in the Troy Record about the time the Palace closed for good circa 1980
for construction of the Collar City Bridge.) Long after the Palace was
demolished, you could still see a "PARKING FOR DINER PATRONS ONLY" sign
painted on the adjacent brick building on River Street - it may still be
there. Other old Troy diners I remember are the SYCAWAY DINER at Hoosick
Street and Oneida Avenue, replaced circa 1965 with a Roxy cleaners which
is still there. I remember this diner being old and porcelain sided - possibly
a Sterling? Also the BRIDGE DINER adjacent to the Congress Street Bridge
- its site is now a parking lot for Russell Sage College. And possibly
Troy's largest and most noteworthy diner, THORNIE'S on upper Congress Street.
Okay, this one was site-built, but its front dining room with counter and
glossy blue walls followed "diner styles and intentions." Thornie's opened
in the late 50s when many were declaring the traditional stainless steel
diner dead - after all, O'Mahony, Mountain View, and Worcester had built
their last. Thornie's exterior with its brick facade and elaborate landscaping
with landmark geyser fountains signaled a new direction in diner design
(the new Palace Diner was also from this era.) Thornie's changed in the
1960s - as did many other diners - by dropping the word "DINER" and going
for a more upscale crowd by adding a couple of fancy dining / banquet rooms.
It seems that the Waldorf System was also a minor chain. While
this will not be a restaurant I will study, if I do find anything I shall
hang onto the information for possible later study. These were not
diner buildings, they were situated in downtown and housed inside normal
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