Table of Contents
2/18/1926- Samuel Messer jones of Springfield Mass., had the
happy thought. Meant for Small Towns - Samuel Messer Jones, inventor
of the modern lunch wagon, died in
Springfield, Mass., the other day. In the mid-eighties be realized
a peculiar need of the average small town, whose custom was
not large enough to induce the ordinary restaurant keeper to ply
an all-night business, and he provided the means whereby that need
might be met. After experimenting in Worcester he moved to
in 1889 and there sent out his first
modernized lunch wagon, suitably
named, “The Owl,” says the New
In the majority of the smaller towns in Jones's earlier day,
the stores would close at 6 o'clock and a couple of hours
later the restaurants and hotel kitchens were fast shut
for the night. The native, unless socially engaged, was
within his own castle, the drawbridge up and the
portcullis down. After 9 the lone policeman on his beat eyed
the furtive and questing stranger with dark suspicion. Had
he a home? If so, why didn’t he stay there? The policeman did
not realize that the suspicious look may have
been that of a hungry man hunting
for ham and eggs.
Into such dull-streeted communities
came the lunch wagon, its cheery light
shining like a hospitable deed in a
chilly world, and responding in a degree to old Omar’s feeling:
A moment’s half—a momentary taste. Of Being from the Well amid
the Waste, And lo! the phantom caravan had
The Nothing it set out from—Oh, make
Even after competition entered the field, the lunch wagon’s
superiority was apparent to bohemian tastes, The “quick lunch,”
merits in other directions, sought most
of one’s money and least of one’s
company. Eat, pay, get out, was its
keynote, and it failed to keep on the
premises the tar water of Mrs. Joe
Gargery of “Great Expectations,” the
remedy for food bolting which she
poured down the throats of her big
husband and little Pip on occasion.
The one-arm-chair lunch also had its
defects: one cannot dine in real comfort when in fear of having one’s
eye squirted with a neighbor’s grapefruit.
The lunch wagon reduced these perils
to a minimum by providing a sort of
table d’hote counter and giving a trifle more elbow room.
This, however, was not its greatest attraction. Probably if the
average man spoke his mind he would admit
that he would rather eat supper in the kitchen than in the most
gorgeously appointed dining room ever equipped. The cat purrs
nowhere so contentedly as before the kitchen stove. Let a man
eat at a whitei spread table—preferably in his shirt sleeves—with
curtains drawn, lights shining, food taken sizzling from oven
or stove pot, and he will ask no higher bliss in this department
of life. This kitchen atmosphere the lunch wagon supplied. It
also reduced culinary mysteries to a minimum. In the ordinary
restaurant the diner eats in what faith he may possess.
The lnnch wagon specialized on frankness.
One might examine the steak before it went to the fire, or
give the doubtful egg a more or less expert appraisal. Mr.
Jones, the inventor of the lunch wagon, was a publicist of parts,
cutting some figure in the Populist campaign, thence developing
for the Bryan Democratic party, and
winding up as a Socialist. That he
traveled along the road of minorities probably added to
rather than detracted from his attractiveness and influence, since
opposition rather than
it acquiescence in popularly held views
often makes for both color and back bone in the individual. He had an
analytical mind that was shown in his discovery that even in the
comparatively small town are diversities
of appetites calling for differences in foods. It is said that he
it town of his experiments into districts or belts; this section
patronised the hot-dog predominantly; that the
more artistocratic sandwich; the other probably New England to
thee backbone—the pie.
After coming from Jamestown, New York, Robert Augram had a Ward and
Dickinson diner #15 at 20 Jackson St.
- Wait'll you See Our New Dining Car. It's onthe Way. It
will be better equipped, longer, finer in every way. That's what you'
have to look forward to, when the new car comes. And we'll be able to
give you even better service. Batavia Dining Car. Robert Augram,
Prop. Next to Family theatre on Jackson Street.
We're open for business! The new Batavia dining car is here. Come
down and look us over. The best equipment, newest things to insure
quick service, and more room for you- akk these things you will find in
this brand new, bigger and better Dining Car. We're here to serve you
better food! Batavia Dining Car, Robert Augram, Proprietor. Next to
Family theatre on Jackson Street.
replaced this with a larger
diner and ran that for a few more years. That diner
was moved to 642 East Main and Edward
A. Edsall ran it for about ten years before selling the diner to Stephen
Szustak. The diner may have moved again to 576 E Main, but I
have not verified that as of yet.
1939 - “Shorty", the chef, shares the
fame of the proprietor, Edward A.
Elsall. at the East Main Diner, No.
542 East Main street, eating spot
that is popular with many townspeople as well as the transport
truck drivers who have a reputation for knowing where good food
is served. A dining room seating 24 was added to the diner and
new, modern, equipment installed
throughout the kitchen recently.The diner is open 24 hours a day.
Many travelers stop regularly
at the East Main Diner, famous for
its regular meals and desserts. In
addition the diner enjoys the patronage at many Batavia residents
and it is popular with family parties on Sundays. During the winter special Sunday dinners are
featured at prices that make it
cheaper to eat out than remain
at home. The diner has the advantage of an unusually large
parking area for the convenience
of its patrons
2/5/1941 - East Main Diner Proves its worth. NOW IN ITS EIGHTH YEAR
Home cooking of wholesome foods
and serving them in a delightful
atmosphere is an 'A-l. recipe for
the sources of an eating tablishment and this is correctly proven
In the East Main Diner operated
by Edward A. Edsall of No. 643
East Main street.
Now in its eighth year of serving Batavians who wish to dine
out occasionally as well as thousands of passing tourists, the East
Main Diner has a wide reputation
for good food. In fact, it is more
than a diner being a complete restaurant by containing a refined dining room as well as an up-to-date
diner which in all will accommodate fifty people.
Mr. Edsall, Its proprietor, credits
a large portion of the diner's popularity to the firm's chef, “Shorty”
Xlabe. Those who find the East
“Main Diner the correct stopping
place whether for a full dinner or
a snack are unanimous In their
praise of “Shorty’s” tried chicken
specialty and credit him with the
delicious variety of edibles which
range the menu.
Twenty-four hour service is provided and many transport truck
drivers who know good food are
early morning customer*. With
Batavians the diner is especially
noted for its family parties on
Sundays. Special dinners are in
order on Sundays with the price
fixed so that it makes it cheaper to
eat at the East Main Diner than
to remain at home. Plenty of
parking space available
and Dickinson diner
was at 42 Jackson St. This replaced an older lunch wagon
1928. William S. Rippey called it Rippey's Grill and ran it up
until the end of WW2. Joseph and Lena Fraterrigo ran it up
urban renewal forced them out of the diner.
2/21/1933 - 5 yr anniversary
10/23/1944 - RIPPEY’S DINER SOLD -
TO AN EMPLOYE THERE
Joseph Fratterrigo of No. 122
Liberty street today assumed possession of Rippey's Diner at No.
42 Jackson street which he recently purchased from Mr. and Mrs.
William & Rippey of No. 11 Lewis
avenue, who have conducted the
business for the past eighteen
years. Mr Fratterrigo has been
connected with the diner for 17
Mr. Rippey will devote full time
to the Monagle ice cream business
with which he has been assisting.
The Blue Bus Diner
at 8 Court St ran from 1929 to 1964 with a number of owners.
would assume this is one of the Modern Dining Cars that Mr. Pickup
- Announcing Opening of Blue Bus Diner, Court St, next to Blue
Bus Terminal. This diner is one of the successfully operated units of
New york City, where Courtesy, quality and Cleanliness Prevail. Meals
and Lunches Served at All Hours at Reasonable Prices. We solicit your
1/11/1930 - Real home Cooking at the Blue Bus dining
Car. Court Street, Batavia. The owners of the Blue Bus Diner
takes pleasure in announcing that beginning Saturday, January 11, 1930,
the management of the business will be under the personal supervision
of Mrs. E.V. Joseph, who has built a reputation for HOME COOKING in
successfil dining cars at Warren, PA., and East Aurora, N.Y.
special "BLUE BUS BLUE PLATES" with their tasty food prepared by Mrs.
Joseph and you will become a regular patron of the Blue Bus Diner.
and Dickinson diner #18
was moved to Batavia from Hammond, Indiana and opened up July
1932 on West Main in the Redfern Terrace section of town by Herbert L
Morse. More called the diner, Morse's Diner. It is
known how long Morse kept the diner as part of the building, but in the
1944 time frame he changed the name to the Cape Cod Kitchen.
Town had a diner in Pavillion at the junction of US Rt 20 and NY Rt 63.
There is a postcard of the place, but the diner is in the
background and it is tough to tell if the diner was a barrel roof or
trolley car styled diner like a Ward and Dickinson. Even more
a mystery was the Texaco Town Diner #3 in West Batavia on NY Rt 5 @
Pearl St. No photo of this place exists, so it may not be an
authentic diner. From 1940 to 1942 John Bridger was listed as
owner and in 1944, Otis W Zavitz. Wonder where Texaco Town #2
A Liberty dining car was placed at 566 E Main. Deming
S Wilson was the first owner who sold to Sherman Slocum's father. Sherman ran it for
a few years before selling to Frederick J Holwell. Along the
the diner had a huge explosion that destroyed all originality of the
diner. The business still exisits today, but the explosion
destroyed the Liberty diner.
- In conection with the second
anniversary of the business under
the present management and the
installation of new electric
equipment to completely modernize the kitchen, the Miss Batavia Diner
at 566 East Main St is inviting visitors to inspect the
building tomorrow. Sherman B.
Slocum of No. 534 East Main street is owner and manager of the
business. The present owner became manager when the diner was
puchased two years ago by his father,
Fred C. Slocum of Byron and his
uncle, former Councilman Harry
B. Slocum of Batavia. The latter’s
interest was purchased by Sherman Slocum during the past year.
Operating on a 24-hour schedule, the diner has a staff of 11
employes, Including a full-time
chef who prepares a menu of at
least forty items each day, one of
the largest varieties of meals offered by any diner or restaurant
in the area, and a baker who
makes all the pies, cakes, cookies,
rolls and other baked goods served to the many customers. In
addition to a large patronage from the Batavia area the
diner boasts of its reputation
among truck drivers who operate
through this area as a fine eating place. It is a recognised
“Star Truck Stop.” designated by
the Transport Drivers, Inc, because of its service to drivers.
All employee of the diner are
Batavians and all buying is done
locally, Mr. Slocum pointed out.
He said over $4,000 has been spent
during the pest year for new
equipment, Including an Edison
Hotpoint electric range, the first
'commercial range of its kind in the Batavia area. The diner has
$2,500 worth of electric refrigeration to make possible
maintaining a large stock, the inventory of
food on hand at all times being
between $600 and $800. “Twice each year the diner is
completely redecorated and the
management boasts of the cleanliness in preparing and serving
meals. Mr. Slocum said wages
paid the employes are above the
average and all those employed
for a year or more receive a
week’s vacation with pay.
Owner and employees of the Miss
Batavia Diner, who are holding open house tomorrow on the occasion of
their second aniversary. Front row, from left: Patsy Grasso(sp?), short
order cookl David Jensen, short order cook and assistant manager;
Eleanor Stafford, waitress; Vira Ingalabe, watiress; Dominic Gizzi,
waiter, William Riche, kitchen helper; Otto Fricker, pastry chef;
Claude Russell, dinner chef. Back row, from left: Sherman Slocum, prop
and mgr; Mrs. Slocum, boockeeper; George Theobald; waiter; Wailliam
Warrinerl kithcen helper; Frank Corliss, waiter.
Sherman B. Slocum, owner and
manager of the Miss Batavia Diner, is a native of Addison and
came to Batavia two years ago
to take charge of the business.
He is a graduate of Addison High
School, attended Cook Academy
at Montour Falls for a year and
the Rochester Business Institute
for two years. For four years before coming to Batavia he was
Pittsburgh area manager for the
Detroit Paper Products Co. with
seventy men working under him.
On September 14, 1935. Mr. Slocum married the former Miss
Ruth Theobald of Plttsburgh, who
is now in charge of all bookkeeping and other office work in connection with operation of the
diner. Mr. Slocum is an active
member of the Batavia Junior
Chamber of Commerce.
mark his second anniversary
in business and the installation of
a new electric kitchen and other
equipment, Sherman B. Slocum
will hold open house tomorrow at
Miss Batavia Diner, No. 568 East
Main street in order to express,
tangibly, his gratitude to the general public, Mr. Slocum will
present, to every caller a cup of LaTouraine coffee as he regularly
serves it and some delicious pastries baked in his new electric
Visitors to Miss Batavia Diner
tomorrow will find their first impression to be one of spotless
cleanliness of the establishment
Quaint curtains set off the gleaming metal of the working spaces
and lend a much appreciated
"homey" atmosphere to the place.
On the counter will be pies, cakes,
cookies, doughnuts and other
pastries fresh from the bakery department No commercial baked
goods have ever been served in
this diner. All baking is done on
the premises. Thermostatically
controlled warming ovens keep
cooked food at the right serving temperatures at all times. French frying, instead of being done in
the old style “grease pot" is here
accomplished in an electric fryer, kept as clean as that of the
most fastidious housewife.
coffee is one of the most necessary of all the items on a restaurant's
bill-of-fair and Mr. Slocum asures that his patrons will never be
disappointed on this feature. Most expensive restaurant coffee is
used and that remaining in the urn after 45 minutes is thrown awat and
fresh coffee brewed. "It's always fresh coffee at Miss Batavia
Diner," says Mr. Slocum.
The new Frigidaire water cooler
is a very welcome feature of the
recently installed equipment. Clear,
cool water in any quantity is
In the kitchen the first item of
interesting equipment that will
impress callers tomorrow is the
electric dishwasher. What housewife would not react enthusiastically to a machine which will
thoroughly wash in boiling water
and douse in a sterile rinse three
thousand pieces every hour? Next
to the dishwashing department is
the electric meat slicer, which assures every portion being the
same thickness as the others.
Complementing the slicer is an
electric meat grinder in which[continued on the 6th page]
Otto Fricker of No. 41 Vine
street, a Batavia baker for the
past 45 years, does all of the
baking for the Miss Batavia Diner.
Each night he makes an average
of thirty pies, 35 dozen rolls,
twenty sweet rolls and friedcakes, cookies, cakes and other
Claude Russell of No. 117 Jackson street, chef at the Miss Batavia Diner, started as a waiter and
was placed in charge of the
kitchen after being thoroughly
trained in modem cooking
methods. He provides dally menu including at least forty items.
9/8/1942 - DINER COFFEE CUSTOM
GOES OUT OF EXISTENCE
That old diner custom of drinking half a cup of coffee and then
asking the counterman to “warm it
up” by filling the cup again is going
to disappear. At least it's going to
disappear for the price of five cents.
Noting the shortage which left
some stores without coffee at the
end of last week and practically all
having a policy of selling only to
recognized customers or to persons
who purchase other groceries, one
downtown restaurant posted a sign
this afternoon raising the price of a
cup of coffee to ten cents.
The coffee will be a nickel higher if it’s ordered alone, but “Java”
taken with a meal will still be five
cents in this establishment. And,
there’s a limit to it now, also. One
cup to a customer.
Le Roy -
Le Roy was the first home of Ward and
Dickinson diner #54.
Clive and Estelle Howard brought the diner to Le Roy at the
of May in 1926. They placed it by the Wiss Hotel on Lake St.
By 1932, Estelle had divorced and kept the diner.
it in December of 1932 to Perry, New York. This was not the
of diners in Le Roy. Not even the end of diners for the
where the diner came from. But in the meanwhile Dorothy Legg
brough a Ward
and Dickinson diner
into town in February 1931. She ran it for a couple of years
before selling it to Walter Bird and Gerald Mead. Not too
months later, Bird and Mead moved the diner to Wellsville, New York,
where the business stil exists today. Although the diner was long ago
remodeled beyond recognition.
12/17/1930 - Mr and Mrs Francis Legg have leased of Harry spiller,
his vacant lot on the south side of Main street adjoining the former
Bank of Le Roy building now occupied by Frank riso, tenant. Mr and Mrs
Legg have purchased of Ward and Dickinson of Silver Creek, one of their
latest types of lunch car about April 1st. The lease was handled
through Chapman's Real Estate Agency which has also leased for William
A Artman, hhis small place on Wolcott street road to Edward Bennett who
has taken posession.
- Announcement. This is to announce to our friends and customers
that we will discontinue service at the dining car which we have
maintained at the Socony station on Tuesday, October 4th. At that time
we will reopen for business in the former LALLY TAVERN where we will
maintain a lunch car service and dining room service, both of which
will be entirely separate.
We have found this necessary because of our increasing business and
the requests of our customers for more adequate accommodations.
We are very happy to have obtained the former tavern as it meets our
requirements in every way. The entire building is to be completely
repainted and redecorated both inside and out and the kitchen is
a thorough renovation.
4/26/1933 - Lunch car would move
Meade, proprietor of the lunch car now located at the rear of the old
Bank of Le Roy building and adjoining the Standard Oil Company parking
space, appeared before the board in connection with the removal of his
car to a location directly in front of the building next to the
Presbyterian church, owned by Mrs. Mary Sparacino. President Gayton
said that because of the certainty of much public opposition to the
granting of the request, action would be deferred until the next
About two years ago, Mrs. Howard, then operating a lunch
car on Lake street, made a similar petition but so much public
sentiment developed against having Main street cluttered up with a
lunch car at this point that the request was withdrawn.
- LUNCH CAR LOCATION.
There is pending before the village board of trustees the application
of Gerald Meade, proprietor of the lunch car now located in the rear of
the old Bank of Le Roy building, to move the car out in front of the
Mrs. Mary Sparacino property which adjoins the Presbyterian church.
There is just about enough space between the building on Mrs.
Sparacino's property and the sidewalk to allow for the installation
of the car.
The filing of an application by Mr. Meade is a courteous act on his
part in view of the fact that the trustees have no legal power to
prevent Mrs. Sparacino from leasing the land for this purpose or to
stop the applicant from moving the lunch car to the proposed location.
On this basis Mr. Meade must be credited with good citizenship in a
desire to work with the village authorities and the people of Le Roy
rather against them even though the law may favor that which he
proposes to do.
Lunch cars in many instances constitute very convenient eating places.
Reports we have gathered on this particular car of Mr. Meade’s indicate
that it is well operated and that this genial young man has already
made many friends during his short residence in Le Roy. The fact
remains, however, that lunch cars are not particularly ornamental and
that one parked lengthwise along the sidewalk in the business section
of Le Roy or any other village of like size detracts from the
appearance of the town and cheapens it in the eyes of the public. It
is possible, though somewhat questionable, that Mr. Meade would gain
somewhat in transient business if his car was placed in the proposed
location. As against this be would be certain to lose local trade
because of the general feeling that the car should not be set so
prominently On Main street, and the resentment that is certain to
the present location of the car is somewhat back from the street, in
many ways it is ideal. There is ample parking space about it, it is
removed from the noise and dirt of traffic and the oscillating electric
arrow directs attention to its twenty-four hours daily. If Mr. Meade
should conclude to withdraw the application and leavethe car in
its present location, it is our conviction the people of Le roy would
express their approval through increased patronage. During the past
three or four years Main street has been decidly improved with new
store frons and other changes. For the past quarter century Le roy has
been gaining one by one its ideals for a cleaner and better village. It
is to be hoped that Mr. Meade will join in this program and not do
anything to detract from that which has so well been accomplished.
Back to the Wiss Hotel.
Another Ward and Dickinson was brought into town not too long
after Howard took her diner to Perry. We have no clue where
diner came from, but to the best of our knowledge, it seems like a
diner from the first 100 diners built, as it did not have an overhang
on the end of the roof. If this is indeed true, then ther are
only a few diners it could be.
4/25/1935 - The request of Mrs. Maybelle
Randall of Warsaw for permission
to install a new steel dining car on
leased land adjacent to the Hotel
Wiss on Lake street was granted.
Sometime in 1982 - The diner, decorated in copious valances
of blue flowered wallpaper, with nearly
matching blue curtains and counter-stool
pads, was filled to capacity when a dozen
customers chanced to come in all at once.
This was often considered a small drawback as diehards stood their way through
morning coffee-and in decent summer
weather stood outside and had their coffee
handed out through the windows. Wallpapered tin cans received various monies,
at Winnie’s discretion: her own peculiar
and very effective bookkeeping system.
Winnie or her daughter Carol, also a fixture for the last eleven years since the
passing away of Mr. Hameister, just asked
each customer what they had and totalled
the bill in her head. Informality ruled.
Food was referred to by various names of
convenience. Winnie’s own home made,
and excruciatingly delicious cinnamon bread
was ‘ funny bread’ ; scrambled eggs with
potatoes were ‘ the mess’, and so on. Homemade jams and jellies graced the breakfast
toasts and riots nearly ensued when Winnie,
during the last few days of her operation
dared to offer her clientele prepackaged
jelly in little plastic containers.
The regulars at Winnie’s were relentless
in their pursuit of her goat. Visible on the
milk cooler the second to last day of business was a mock notice from Governor Carey:
‘CLOSED BY THE BOARD OF HEALTH’ .
This was typical of the pranks pulled on her.
She recalls returning, after a short vacation,
to find "SOLD" signs on the diner, and upon
entering found the counter stacked with
empty beer and liquor bottles. Another
time; a customer hung doughnuts on the telephone pole outside her diner.
Winnie, who often had the tongue of a Tugboat
Annie with her customers, is really a kind
and gentle soul. She demonstrated this by
sometimes going to the length of chasing
customers out into the street after a nasty
exchange of insults which delighted the others,
Her musical talents are limitless. She often
burst into a rendition of ‘ O Solo Mio’ to which
she knew exactly three words: O Solo Mio.
Over the years,Winnie managed to make
friends with neighboring businesses. When
the laundromat operated across the street
she used to babysit kids while parents did
their laundry. Vic Blood has stored "things"
for Winnie for years. In exchange, she
acted as receiving clerk for Vic in his absence. There was also a close working relationship between the Wiss Hotel and the
diner. Winnie made meals for the Hotel
residents, while her customers were supplied with restroom facilities by the Wiss.
Winnie plans to stay right here, in LeRoy,
her home. Now she won’t have to go to
bed at 8:00p.m. every night. She will have
more time to spend with her three children,
eleven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Her daughter Carol says ‘without
Mom here (at the diner) there is no reason
for me to hang around.’
LeRoyan’s will miss Winnie’s Diner. Fortunately, Winnie will still be around to pick
on her old friends, even if they are eating
someplace else these days.
30 years of preparing breakfasts for her customers/friends, Winnie
Hameister has hung the 'Closed' sign on Winnies Diner for the last
The railroad-car styled diner was crafted by Ward & Dickinson of
Silver Creek, and nestled in its present location in 1925. The
decades have not been awfully kind to it. It looks its age, wearing
the burden of several dozen coats of paint, sagging here and there; a
true relic of days gone by; a set prop from an old Cagney gangster
Only those familiar with what treasures lay inside made the daily
pilgrimage to breakfast there with Winnie, the matriarch of breakfast
business in LeRoy for the past thirty years, because it was the
experience of being there that drew them. It had become a tradition to
so many of the ‘ faithfuls’ to share a spell of time in the morning
with the outrageous wit and shenanigans of Winnie, that last weeks
grand finale, despite all outward appearances of ‘ business as usual’,
reflected a web of sadness.
Memories are all that will be left, as Winnie, sporting all of a young
68 years, retires to a more mundane and sane daily existance at her
Genesee St. residence. She will no longer be up at 2:00 a.m. to bake
bread and prepare for the morning onslaught of customers. She used to
open the diner’s doors at 4:00 am. early enough to allow the milkmen to
have their first cup of coffee of the day. This was her routine for
years too many to remember- a routine that she developed into a
veritable show. Her customers came to her for vittles and insults. And
over the years it developed into ever so many wars of words; incessant
uproarious repartee was on the menu right along with scrambled eggs
The Demise Of The Diner
by Weegie Pratt
and caption by Weegie Don Pangrazio, owner of The Wiss Hotel and The
Diner, points to one of the original wooden wheels that carried The
Diner to the spot where it has stood for nearly 80 years.
15, 2002 - To some people it was an eyesore. To others it was a piece
of history and the object of nostalgia. Whatever feelings it evoked
were swept away by Jerry Call and his John Deere excavator last Friday.
First to go was the sagging American Chestnut wood ceiling, followed by
the black slate counters and chrome stools. The large beams in the
floor, reinforced with steel bars took a little longer. The space where
The Diner stood didn't seem large enough to have fed so many and left
so many memories.
Bud Conlon says he remembers the day The Diner
came to town in 1924. It was drawn by a team of horses from Silver
Creek. The original mobile diner was created in 1872 by Walter Scott of
Providence, Rhode Island. He converted a horse drawn freight wagon and
started a new industry. Warden Dickinson of Silver Creek built Le Roy's
Diner in 1923. It was said to be one of the two such diners left.
Hamister was proprietor of The Diner for thirty years. She paid $30.00
a month rent. Now 88 and just as peppery as ever, told several stories
of Diner life. One was about a very large customer who "got mouthy" and
was requested by Winnie to leave - permanently. He challenged her with
a "make me" and so she did, throwing him out the door with what was
probably an early form of karate.
There were lots of jokes played
on both the customer and Winnie. A group of four men from the Southern
Tier came in every morning. "Nice boys, they were," she said. One day
they came in with several sacks of groceries for her. When she looked
in the bags she found that all the items were groceries stolen from
her. Why you blank, blank, blank, she said, in colorful diner language.
Not seeing it as a joke Winnie called the police, but all ended well
after lots of explanations.
Winnie got up every morning at 4:00
a.m. to open The Diner and make fried cakes. Customers said they could
smell the delicious donuts miles away. The outside of The Diner began
to weather, but Winnie put a fresh coat of paint and new curtains on
the inside every year. Jake Lathan says he remembers that in 1948 he
mopped the floor every day before school at St. Peter's.
walked to work in the early morning dark and caused the police concern
as to her safety. They suggested she take a better lighted street,
watched her walk and finally just gave her a ride every morning. She
says, "Really, everyone was very good to me." When Winnie left The
Diner for the last time, she just tucked her purse under her arm and
walked out the door.
Several people came up with names of some of
The Diner's proprietors, Anna Morrison was there during World War II.
Jimmy and Mary Sweet and Paul Conklin followed Winnie. There were more,
they seem to be lost to time.
Don Pangrazio said he wanted to thank
Mayor Sid Horgan, the Village Board, the Town Board and Mr. Sinclair,
Code Enforcement Officer for their patience. Don had correspondence
from the American Diner Museum in Providence, Rhode Island who were
"Concerned about the continued destruction of the uniquely American
roadside landmarks." Don had hoped the Museum would be able to take The
Diner before it was too late.
Old Times At The Sterling Diner
Caption by Mary Fee
17, 2002 - This picture was taken 4/22/48. Louis Mampe, owner of the
Sterling Diner, which was located where McDonald's Restaurant is now,
used to have a party every year to celebrate his birthday and invited
many Le Royans. Edith MacGregor of Cole Road, Louis' granddaughter,
remembers coming downstairs the morning after the party, to find that,
"all that was left were the bones." There were many local officials,
policemen and businessmen in attendance at these parties. The Sterling
Diner was in operation until 1969. Standing left to right - W. Sidney
Horgan, Fred J. Rider, Jr., Norman Dingwall, F. Harold Kerwin, John M.
Maloy, Louis O. Mampe, (proprietor of Sterling Diner 1941-1952), Louis
P. Brady, Jr., Joseph A. Miller, Joseph A. Lapp, Anthony O'Geen, Henry
F. Zimmerman, John N. Alex, Calvin A. Lathan, Edward R. Blood, Robert
W. Metcalf and (unknown). Seated left to right - Oswald "Ozzie" Mampe,
Alfred L. Messore, Emmett R. Keenan, John A. Green, Harold D. Anchor
and W. Fred Ashley.
One more diner called Le Roy
home. A Rochester Grill was moved just west of town to an
known as the Grove. It was run there for a short time before
being moved into town and attached to a house. There, it
known as the Sterling Diner. The name initially confused us,
until we found a newspaper article that connected the dots and proved
that this diner was a Rochester Grills.
[opening at the Grove, file corrupted. Pdf would not focus or allow itself to be copied via the curser.]
5/14/1942 - New Bertha Stoner
Diner Opens Today
The new combined diner and restaurant of Mrs. Bertha Stoner is
opening for business today at 57
Main street with service starting at
6 o’clock. The car ideally joins the
building on the property in which
additional booths and dining rooms
are readily accessible. Both the
building and diner have been completely redecorated and make a
pleasing appearance. During the past six years Mrs. Stoner
operated her dining car at the Grove on West Main street during
which time she has established a reputation for unusually fine
grill and meal service.
this is the site of McDonalds, as of 2010s.
In August 1926, Ward and
Dickinson diner #75
came to Albion. The diner was first sold to Lionel Dennis,
son in law of George Dickinson (Little Dick from Silver Creek he was
affectionately known as) who ran diners in a number of towns, including
Brocton and Newark. Dennis did not last long with this diner,
February of 1927, Harry and Lottie Fish took over the diner, but they
too did not last long. George Dickinson came in and started
running a successful diner. But here is where things get a
confusing. When he bought Ward
and Dickinson diner #233
in 1930 part of sale was also car #126. Where was car #126?
other numbers that I have, car #126 must have been sold in
Also the local newspaper seems to point at a new diner around
1929. Maybe there was just some nice shrubbery put in? George Dickinson
ran the diner until around 1940 and it was sold to William M Chatfield.
Chatfield still had the diner in the early 1950s.
was also a Liberty Dining Car in Albion. This was located at
131 Main. John A Donahue ran it in 1930. George N Root Sr ran
around 1933, 1934 and he was later joined by Fritz Bergman.
diner was still there in 1941 when a Sanborne map was drawn.
was also another lunch car in town. Aug 29, 1928 - Elmer McLean, who
some months ago sold his lunch car at the trollet station and went to
Rochester, returned to Albion several weeks ago and a few days ago
purchased the Youngs bakery...." - Albion Republican.
and Dickinson diner #99
was in Medina. It is one of the first Ward and Dickinson
with an overhang on the end roof. This has been a way I can
differentiate between the 1-100 diners and newer diners.
Dickinson probably ran this diner for the first half of 1927, if not,
the diner sat empty for over half a year until Chas E and Marie Kengott
traded their Amsterdam, New York diner for this one. They ran
this diner for just under a year when the diner was bought byHenry
Benkleman who ran the diner for maybe half a year. William
would get the ball rolling with ownership from January 1929 up until
around 1938. Harold and Gertrude Wilde would run the diner for roughly
30 years. Harold passed away in 1969 and Gertrude carried on for a
couple more years before selling to Lawrence and Dorothy
who ran the diner for a couple of years. Helen Dercqu would
the diner for roughly ten years before the diner ended its saga in
10/4/1928 - Gordon Cowles
Clarence Stroh at diner next to Telephone building
1930 Clarence Stroh - Club
8/17/1933 - Clarence Stroh,
Liberty Diner added cozy dining room at back of lunch car - Warsaw
12/12/1935 - Mrs Alica
wife of Frank L. Siler, prop of Liberty Diner passed away. They
bought diner last July
1936 - Frank L. Siller -
10-26-1939 - Ellsworth
Fred Judd prop - Warsaw paper
?? Waldo Coburn placed new
at Main @ Covington Tuesday
10/31/1902 - Louis Hammond
Waldo Coburn's lunch wagon at Main @ Genesee
10/9/1903 - clayton Crane
DeVinney bought Bert Phillips lunch wagon at Main @ Genesee
11/18/1903 - Crane
& DeVinney moved
all night lunch car from Genesee Street to west side of Cushen's
Store on Buffalo Street.
12/09/1903 - lunch wagon to
part of Newmarket Hotel bulding
1927 - Len Wheeler had a
lunch car in
Warsaw & Dansville - Picket Line Post
3/5/1933 - Minute Diner
May 1924 - Two men from
Silver Creek were in town and want to put a lunch car by Theatre. Huer
& Bock. This was a Richardson Lunch Car.
12/18/1924 small fire in
10/21/1926 - H.H. Huer
palance of eats 8 feet back from sidewalk and will cement space and
plans to erect an electric sign.
11/2/1926 fire in lunch car
11/11/1926 - lunch car on
considerably damaged by fire, west side charred and replaced.
April 1927 - lunch car on
had small addition for summer kitchen and two table dining room.
7/28/1927- H.H. Huer sold
lunch car to
Mr & Mrs Harry Gless of Jamestown and Mrs Elizabeth Farley of
LeRoy. Huer is moving to Rochester.
9/15/1927 - Alvin Matteson,
shot at in lunch car by a mysterious shooter.
June 1931 - Blue Bird Lunch
sale on Main St.
10/22/1931 - Bluebird Lunch
South Main St sold to Mr. Jess Ballard by Mrs. Elizabeth Farley.
July 1933 - Plot for new
approved. On the lot is a lunch car.
9/28/1933 - lunch car on
next to Farman Theatre reopened by "Bosh" Jones and Mrs
Farley. known as Main Diner.
March 1934 - lunch car to
1931 - Abe Shapiro bought a
car and fixed it up at his residence. He placed it across from
Wyoming County Community Hospital. The lunch car was objected due to
the possible smell for residents viewing diner who want to open
windows. Shapiro had first hamburger delivered to hospital director
8/20/1931 - Warsaw Diner
by Abe Shapiro. Joseph O'Brien has leased the diner. Interior has
monel metal and linoleum.
6/7/1934 - Lunch car on
is having an addition on southwest corner.
May 1940 C.O. Gallett
bought lunch car
on Buffalo St. across from hospital and is opening it as soon as
renovations and redecorating are finished. - Castile Castilian listed
as prop in June 1940
1940-1943 Mrs Grover Morgan
3/22/1945 - Abe Shapiro
sells lunch car
to Grover W. Morgan.
12/1/1945 - Miss Katherine
Durfee purchased Warsaw Diner from Ida Morgan
3/13/1947 - Christian
purchased lunch car in Warsaw
April, 1948 - Lunch car for
1959 - Mrs E.E. Strathern
has a lunch
car on Main Street
12/12/1963 - former Warsaw
West Buffalo St taken down last week
11/7/1902 - Lewis Hammond
of Warsaw has
purchased the night lunch wagon of Waldo Coburn of Perry - Castile
2/18/38 - Joseph D'Imperio
diner in Main St. across from Perry Knitting Company plant yesterday
- Picket Line Post unverified
Estelle Howard's Ward and
Dickinson diner #54 came from Le Roy, New York in December
1940 - "Howard's Diner,
only diner in Perry." Castile paper
5/3/40 - Mrs. Estella
discontinue her lunch car at Perry and move it to a location at jct
20/36 about two miles north of York - Mt. Morris Picket Line Post
7/12/51 - Ad for dining car
for sale $3,500 - Penn Yan Democrat
Dickinson diner #41 came to Perry after being in Avon, New
York. Ernest Lindsay put it at 25 Borden St. in August of 1946 and ran
it until the end of 1951 when it was sold to Jim and Pearl Rice.
The diner was dismantled in August 1957.
12/27/46 - A.W. Fitzinger,
real estate agent, selling a dining car on
Route 17 for $20,000 - Salamanca paper
1/3/36 - Airport Diner in
destroyed by fire. owned by Miss Margaret Strait of Cuba. unverified
- Salamanca paper
10/38 - Fransis Bruke owned
Diner on Olean Portville Rd. - Salamanca paper
11/05 - Bert Packard
& Will Gilbards leased the lunch wagon on
Main Street near river bridge. Opens November 13 - Salamanca paper
1/06 - Elmer Morse sold
lunch wagon to former partner William French - Salamanca paper
2/10/20 - H.C. Brydon sold
Lunch Car to Mrs. Jennie Tallman
7/21 - Ed Comerford of
lunch car on Erie Station grounds from Mrs. Bloomquist of Jamestown.
"Ed's Lunch Car". Previously called "Chautauqua Lunch
Edward Comerford had a
lunch wagon at
137 North Main in 1922
7/22 - Edward Comerford,
lunch wagon on Erie R/R grounds had his lease canceled - Salamanca
1/21/24 - Thomas Gimbas
lunch car fire
11 Church St - sounds like
5/23 - J.L. Haley owned
1923 - Edward L &
11/23 - Lunch car on Church
been repainted and opened under new management. -
12/27/26 - Charles B.
Treadwell who ran
Church Street lunch car for the past three years passed away.
1929 - 1931 - Jennie A.
10 Broad to 2 Main after
probably built by Richardson
Montford Fox and Lloyd Blanding have purchased a lunch
10/3/24 - Fox &
Salamanca Monday to run lunch car. - Grape Belt
12/4/24 - Montford Fox has
interest in the lunch car in Salamanca to his partner, Lloyd
Blanding, and returned to Silver Creek. - Silver Creek Times
11/3/33 - Walter W. Knorr
E. Myers have purchased Blanding's Dining Car. Clinton & Main
Streets in Salamanca and Mrs. Knorr & Mrs. Myers took charge of
it Wednesday for the first time. Mr. & Mrs. Llyod Blanding are
going to Watertown to take charge of a larger dining car there. They
have been in that city for nine years and have built up a substantial
dining car business." - Randolph Recorder
12/7/33 - management of
Car at Main & Clinton by B.D. Sheldon and Georgiamay Hoffler
Smith - Salamanca paper
1936 - Thomas F. Dunn
11/18/37 - Edward Maley
lunch car hit
by car. Door damaged - Salamanca paper
1939 - George H. Hibbard
6/3/41 Ralph Steele
Diner for past year
7/12/45 - diner at Main
purchased by Edith Oakes of Franklinville from George Hibbard, to be
called Oakes Diner - Salamanca paper. Opening August 6.
14 Wildwood - This was a
Rochester Grills diner.
1941 - George R. Caldberg -
1953 - 1957 Angelo Spiros
1964 - E.C. Babcock
Williams - Wildwood Diner
From Joan Wilson -
"Franklinville Centennial Publication"
page 50 -
"In 1930, A Dickinson
was set up on the west side of South Main St, on the second lot south
of the corner drugstore building. A few months later it was moved
across the street where it remained until the late 1960s."
6/30/31 - "Mrs. Hilda
commonly known as "mother" to the patrons of the Franklin
Club Diner, died at Salamanca Hospital, Tuesday 6/7/33 .. one
daughter Margaret Cameron. The latter has been associated with her
mother in the lunch car business here for several years." -
George & Hazel
Hibbard had the
diner from 1934 to 1945.
Clarence L. "Barney"
Harrison bought the diner from the Hibbards on 9/19/45
Catherine Gaetano who was
daughter supplied pictures. exterior 3/1947, Clarence Harrison Jr.,
Catherine Harrison,exterior 6/1950, exterior 2/10/58
6/17/1895 - Olean is getting more
metropolitan daily. The latest is a lunch wagon which it is expected
will soon be seen on the streets. The representative of a company that
runs the wagons in several cities was here a few days ago to secure the
privilege and make arrangements. The wagons are a feature of life in
the large cities. They are as large as a moving van and resembled a
restaurant on wheels more than anything else. Ten or a dozen different
kinds of sandwiches, pies, tea, coffee and milk are the staple of the
1909 Sanborne Map - Lunch
Wagon at 1123 1/2 North Union.
1934 - Leo's Diner - Leo R.
508 West State
4/8/35 - John Ferris lunch
Main Street.- Olean paper
2/26 - Carmelo Fieri
lunch wagon at West State & First.- Olean paper
4/16/1899 - C.J. Miles
wagon of S. Austin - Olean paper
9/18/01 - The new lunch
wagon of C. J.
Miles arrived here from Buffalo. - Olean paper
12/30 Miles lunch wagon
damaged by fire.- Olean paper
1937 - Article &
Picture of "Crab"
Miles lunch wagon. - Olean Times Herald
9/24/24 - Lunch Wagon on
north side of
West State between North Union and North First will remain until a
formal complaint is made.- Olean paper
3/6/29 - Charles Gonoung
lunch car at
250 North Union St for 26 years was asked to vacate.- Olean paper
200 Main St.
3/34 - Mary Ferris
1952 - Ann's Lunch Car -
417 State St. - Mulholland
4/6/1925 - 1938 - Clement
1940 - 1945 - Walter C.
1946 - Joseph Magnano
1947 - 1948 - Vincent
8/10/49 - diner at
1950 - 1953 - Harold Myers
1954+ Jesse A. &
Dorothy Marino -
2/8/72 - "Those were the
Olean Times Herald
- SHED TEARS — W.C. (Wally)
Gillson, 822 Bishop St, wiped
eyes which turned moist,
Monday as wreckers tore apart
the old State Diner at 419 W.
State St. The diner and kitchens
behind were torn down for Don
Adams Inc., whose manager,
William Dascomb, purchased
the land occupied by the Adams
auto parts business, diner and
Joey's Barbershop. Mr.
Gillson, who operated the
diner for many years after it
was installed at that site in
1918[incorrect], was salesman for the
Mulholland Diner Co., Erie,
Pa., who manufactured it. He
sold, altogether, 32 of the
diners.[never seen independent collaboration on this story, so...] The demolition clears a
lot as wide as the diner was long
(40 feet) and about 70 feet deep
from the State St. sidewalk. Mr.
Dascomb purchased the lot
from the Mazza and Questa
estate last October. The purchase made Don Adams Inc. the
possessor rather the leasor of its
real estate for the first time.
There is no particular plan in
sight for immediate
redevelopment of the lot, Mr.
SURPRISE! - As the old State
Street Diner was dismantled, Monday, four massive wheels appeared.
Shown here with one of the two rear, smaller, wheels are William (Bill)
Dascomb and W.C. (Wally) Gillson, shortly after the wheels were
uncovered for the first time in their 54 years. Gillson, who sold
diners for the Mulholland Diner co. Erie, Penna,said the diner had been
shipped on its massive undercarriage and wheels, loaded
on a flatcar of the Erie
Railroad. The heavy 40-foot
wagon base formed the floor of
the diner and was enclosed
"permanently" when the diner
was installed in 1918. Mr.
Dascomb said he would salvage
one or more of the wheels to keep as a rather large-scale
souvenir. An antique car buff,
Mr. Dascomb noted that
Mulholland originally had
manufactured buggies, switching to diners as auto
manufacture made them obsolete. The diner, he said, was
mounted on huge ''double
elyptical" springs with 25
leaves in each frame.
2/10/1972 - By BOB SCHNETTLER
Nostalgia seems to be the
current rage about the country
as revivals of items from the
20's and 30's are brought back
daily. But nostalgia of another
type swept Olean Monday as a
wrecking crew began
demolishing the former State
Diner at 421 W. State St
Thousands of memories were
stirred for W.C. (Wally)
Gillson, operator of the diner
for 21 years back in the days
when dining car, short-order
eating facilities were the staple
of the restaurant trade.
Mr. Gillson's parents, Clem
and Bessie Gillson, opened the
State Diner's doors on April 6,
1925 after the 40-foot long dining
car had been purchased from
the Mulholland Dining Car
Corp. of Dunkirk. Wheels and
undercarriage still intact, it
was placed on the site it was to
occupy until wreckers moved in
Mr. Gillson had secured an
option on the property from the
Mazza estate, along with
another next to the old police
station on N. Union St. — which
never was used. In those days,
the younger Gillson was employed by Mulhollands, seeking
out properties he felt were
profitable sites for restaurants,
getting diners installed and
His parents, along with his
grandmother, Anna Adams,
decided on the Olean site and
swung open doors which were
destined to be opened 24 hours a
day, seven days a week until
World War II intervened.
Utilizing skills developed while
cooking for such personages as
P.T. Barnum in Rochester, the
elder Gillsons found instant
Their meals, topped off with a
piece of one of the 70 to 110 pies
baked daily, became instant
smashes. "It was not unusual,
in later years, for us to record
1,100 sales a day on the cash
register," Wally states. That
was in the days of five cent
coffee, 10 cent hamburgers and
Wally joined his family in 1929
and in 1936 bought out his dad's interest, continuing to dispense the meals to which a
multitude of customers had
become accustomed. He continued seven-day-a-week
operations until the war and its
subsequent rationing caused
doors to be closed Wednesdays
and nights from about 11 p.m.
When originally opened, the
diner seated 16 persons, 12 at
the counter and two each in
booths at either end over the
wheels. A short time later, a
dining room addition was felt
necessary, and in another year
the crowds had become so great
that two additional dining
rooms were added into the
house portion of the building
just west of the diner. Seating
capacity was boosted to 122,
with 26 persons working in three
eight-hour shifts to handle the
Wally sold the diner in 1946 to
Joseph Magnano, but the war
had altered eating habits of
many and it never seemed to
attain the heights it once had
reached. It has been leased and
operated by many persons since
that time, closing the last time
about a year ago.
Memories of the customers
and employes abound in Wally's
remembrances of the diner. "I
once unknowingly hired a
murderer," he recalls, telling of
a pleasant, good-looking young
man who later died in the gas
chamber in Texas after killing a
second person. Or he
remembers the hiring of "the
fastest short-order cook my dad
and I had ever seen," who later
abscounded with the days
receipts only to be caught years
later in New Jersey.
Then there was the night an
11-cylinder Cadillac pulled up
and three of five coonskincoated men came in and ordered steak dinners while the
other two stayed in the car.
After finishing the meal, the
three returned to the car and the other two came in to eat. All according to Wally, wore
shoulder holsters and pistols
under their suitcoats.
His fears of having some of
the many police who found the
diner a coffee haven arriving
while the hoodlums were eating
were allayed when the quintet
departed, leaving behind a $10
tip for himself and his assistant.
The diner site has been
purchased for future use by Don
322 West State (1930-193?)
to 240 N.
Union - Modern
9/24/30 - State Grill, E.A.
open Saturday at 322 West State. Mr. Pickup had similar operation in
Batavia for year and half.- Olean paper
8/13/32 - State Grill
Monday August 8th to move from 322 West State to 244 North Union.
Plans to reopen August 13th.- Olean paper
8/19/32 - Openig Day Ad
of diner- Olean Times Herald
10/26/37 - diner moved
1930 - 1954+ - Estes Pickup
6/11/1954 - (25 year anniversary ad)
Restaurant was founded by Estes Pickup Sr.
in August 1929 at 322 West State Street, At that
time four persons were employed, three during the day and
one at night. In August 1932, the restaurant (which was a
dining car), moved to the site now occupied by the new addition of Montgomery Ward's store.. In 1932 seven persons
were employed in the restaurant. Pickup's Restaurant moved to the
present location at 242 North Union Street in November 1937 and at the
same time a new, modem air condtioned dining room was added to accomodate their fast
growing clientele. The seating capacity of the restaurant
today is 100 persons and has grown to such an extent that
as many as twenty persons are employed during the peak
Pickup's Restaurant has built a reputation over these
past 25 years for serving the best in home cooked foods and
wish to thank their many friends and customers for the part
they hold in making these years successful ones. Their sincere hope is to make more friends in the years ahead
need date Ad for 1954 Sesqui-centennial. - Estes
Pickup Sr. although born in Springville, New York was raised and
educated in Little Valley, New York and came to Olean in 1917. For
three years he worked as watchmaker and engraver for Otto Miller and
Son, Jewelers. In 1920 Mr. Pickup purchased a grocery store at 649 East
State Street which he operated until he become interested in the
manufacture of Dining Cars in Dunkirk, New York, at which time he had
in operation dining cars in Batavia and East Aurora. In 1929 he
purchased a dining car in Brooklyn, New York which was moved, by flat
car, to 322 W est State Street, Olean. This diner was called the State
Grille (and incidentally is part of the restaurant today). At that time
only four persons were employed, three during the day and one at night.
In 1932 the Diner was moved to the site now occupied by the addition of
Montgomery Ward's store and an annex built on the south side of the
diner. Seven persons were then employedIn November 1937 Pickep's Restaurant was moved to its
present location ah 242 North Union Street and a new, modern
air-conditioned (dining room was added to accommodate their fast
growing clientelle. The seating capacity of the restaurant today is 100
persons and during the peak seasons as many as twenty persons are
employed. In September 1945, Frederick L. Jenks came to Olean
from Buffalo to assume management of the restaurant. In September 1947,
after being discharged from military service, Estes Pickup Jr became
part of the management. During those past 25 years, Pickups Restaurant
has built a reputation for serving the very best in foods.
Photo - postcard
602 W. State St - Rochester
1940 - Everett W. Davis -
1945 : 1950 - 1952 -
Lawrence R. &
Jason P. McGraw - McGraw's Diner
1947 - Alex J. Sczesny -
1953 - 1955 - Donald J.
Louis H. Pelow - Louden Diner
1956 - Gus Sinesiou
& Francis J.
Pezzimenti - Olean Diner & Tap Room
Photo - Postcard
404 West State St - Lincoln
Ward and Dickinson - If this was not a
used diner, it was built similar to one of the first 100 diners.
Research needs to be done at Olean City Hall.
1936 - 1955+ - Leo W.
Russell + Jason
A. Pratt in 1945
5/1/1977 - Russell and Mary Farnham
11/24/1978 - ByBOBSCHNETTLER
Flames said to have begun in
a grille duct destroyed the Lincoln Diner at 404 W. State St.,
early today, but firefighters
were able to save the two
buildings which hemmed it. in
from either side.
The structure housing Bender
& Riggs furniture store and
apartments, and another which
housed a hairdressing shop on
the first floor and doctor's office
on the second, sustained smoke
and water damage.
Fire was discovered minutes
before 3 a.m. by David Farnham and Clara Graham,
restaurant employees. Ms.
Graham told firefighters she
heard a roaring in the chimney
and felt heat from the duct between the counter and kitchen as
she passed. Mr. Farnham, son
of owners Russell and Mary
Farnham said he opened the
duct to check, and it collapsed.
According to Fire Lt. John
Gibbon, Mr. Farnham warned
the eight or nine customers to get out, just as a passerby
rushed in to inform him flames
were shooting from the
Fire Capt. Larry Young said
a call from Ms. Graham at 2:59
advised him, "Hurry, we have a
fire in the kitchen." He said that
before the fire truck covered
the three blocks between the
firehouse and diner, flames
were shooting through the roof.
THE SNORKEL platform
was immediately elevated
above the blaze and is credited
with saving the buildings on
either side. Flames were
brought under control in about
an hour, with initial pickup starting about 4:15a.m.
Overtime firefighters summoned to the scene were
released from duty shortly
thereafter, but a crew headed
by Capt. Young remained on the
scene until almost 7 o'clock.
The only injury reported during the battle was to Firefighter
Paul Connelly, suffering smoke inhalation, who was treated at
the scene and remained on duty.
Lt. Gibbon said a preliminary
investigation revealed that
although there were newly purchased flame arresters in the
vent, they were undersized,
thereby not doing the job for
which they were purchased. He
estimated the loss at about
MR. AND MRS. FARNHAM
had purchased the business last
May 1 and had been making improvements to the equipment
and building since then. Mr.
Farnham said a new stove and
grilles had recently been installed.
Although the diner was insured, he did not feel it would
cover the loss. The owner stated
he would like to rebuild on the
same site, but would have to
await the insurance outcome
before making a final determination.
The Farnhams had closed the
business for Thanksgiving, reopening only about 10:30 p.m.
The small, single-story diner
had been operational for about
50 years under various owners.
It seated about 45.
Allegany volunteer firemen
stood by at No. 1 firehouse. A
light drizzle fell throughout
most of the blaze battle as the
temperature hovered about 40
1619 West State St. -
1930 - Mrs. Julia B.
Dorland - West End
West State Beyond Limits -
1956 - Paul M. Psathas
- A Stainless steel diner, trucked to Olean from New Jersey, was
being moved into position on the Olean-Allegany Rd, Wedneday Afternoon. showed photo with diner on cribbing.
11/13/1971 - From a beginning at its
present location 16 years ago
with nothing more than a small
diner, Paul’s on W. State Rd.,
Town of Allegany, has expanded into a thriving business
demanding seven-day a week
attention of owners Paul and
Mary Psathas ... From 1950 to 1958, the couple
operated a small restaurant
next to Olean’s uptown Montgomery Ward store. Wishing to
spread out in 1955, they opened
a dining car restaurant on the
present site of the steak house,
and from 1957 to 1960 spread
even further by also operating
the State Diner on W. State St.,
during which time they used the
dining car as headquarters and commisary for servicing their
But being spread in two or
three locations proved too
tiring, time consuming and
involved, so in 1960 other interests were divested and a
single-story steak house was
added to the headquarters
diner. Business proved so good
that as soon as 1962 an. upper
story was added, with growth
having continued to the present
day. ... Although removed in 1967
when a remodeled, thoroughly
modern coffee shop was constructed, the original dining car
still sits behind the restaurant.
It has been sold, but not
removed, Mary and Paul point
out, noting it is to go to the
Portville area.... PAUL ALSO learned to cook
while serving under his father,
but despite his long experience
does not feel it provides a future
for young people today. “The
hours and working conditions
are terrible, but are necessary
if you are to be successful. If a
young man came to me today
and said he wanted to be a chef, I'd tell him to go on, go find a
Photo - postcard
5/8/1959 - JOHN J. MORTON
J. Corwin "Crab" Miles. one
time alderman was better known
as the "Midnight Mayor of
Olean." Most present day residents would have to be about
the age of 40 to remember him.
He, and his then familiar horsedrawn wagon, disappeared from
Olean's busy night life scene
Christmas Eve, Dec. 24,1937.
The hmch wagon, with
"Crab" as proprietor, graced
the North Union Street side of
the old city building 41 years,
at Times Square. In the days
of the gas tight, the city's lending public citizens and politicians discussed there any and all
subjects that might pertain to
operation of city government.
Those tales, informal, of
course, were debated and reviewed over Mr. Miles popular
hamburger with onion, coffee or
milk, and no doubt a generous
wedge of Mr. Mies delicious
home made apple pie.
THE WAGON was the "last
stand" for those stay-up-at-night
Olean residents, who entered it
from seven o'dock until the
wee hours of morning. There
was always brisk conversation
as to what was going on in the
city at the time.
Between mouthfuls of a tasty
sandwich, and a warming cup
of coffee, the interested and
silent patron might possibly
hear, if so inclined, warm debate on who would become the
Democratic or Republican candidate for mayor. There might
akso be talk of the choices for
ward alderman or ward supervisor. The informal talks broke
up many a monotonous night,
from the turn of the present
century to more than a period
of 40 years.
AFTER TWO YEARS in the
employ of Wiftiam "Stix" Austin, founder of the lunch wagon
business here. Mr. Miles purchased the entire equipment in 1899. From then on he was a
familiar figure at the city building each night from the next
The wagon was a white one
with fancy white and colored
picture windows. The colored
ones were brown, red and purple. Mr. Miles purchased his
wagon at the Pan American
Exposition at Buffalo in 1901.
It was about the last of its kind
in existence. A similar lunch
car, once on display at the Buffalo exposition has found haven
at the Ford Exhibit at Dearborn, Mich.
DURING DAYLIGHT hours
the car was kept at the Miles
home, 215 Adams St., being
moved there about 8 a.m. After
a thorough cleaning, it was replenished with good food for
the night trade. Regularly, about
5 pm., a team of horses returned the car to its business
site. There it remained for the
night. Many a tale it could
tell. if permitted to relate its
It was once portrayed by the
late Robert Ripley. noted cartoonist in his "Believe It or
Not" panel as the lunch
wagon in the country still drawn
ABOUT 1936. motive power
replaced the horses. The wagon
during the later stages of its
exigence was transported behind a gasoline - powered truck.
For years the car was the only
restaurant opened in the city
at night. On two occasions, it
was quite badly damaged. Both
times, teams drawing it became frightened and ran
away . On each occasions
hungry patrons went without
their uptown night snack for
about two weeks.
THE STORY has been told
that in Mr. Miles first years
of operation, a well - trained
horse was the means of transporting the wagon. The particuiar animal was so well trained
it would be harnessed in the
stable of its owner, the Late
"Jack" Reese on N. Union St.
Ready for business of the day
it would wend its way unattended, to the home of Mr.
Miles, then on Tompkins Street.
There it would be attached to
the lunch car and driven to the
old city building by Mr. Miles.
Unhitched, the horse would amble to a water trough, then on
Times Square. After a satisfying drink, it would make its
own way back to the Reese
THERE ARE many present
Olean residents, now passed the
half century mark, who will recall without much prompting,
lunching at the lunch car. They,
too, if in reminiscent moods
probably wfll relate for a younger generation, many interesting
things experienced while in an
easy, restful moment, consuming a tasty hamburger and
onion with coffee. Crab, "And
dont forget a large slab of that
apple pie topped with a liberal
slice of cheese, of course."
12/24/37 - Green &
Christmas Greetings from owners, Bess & Albert Schweizer -
There were two diners at
Webber's Corners/Yorkshire. They were across the street from each
other. During the rationing times of WW2 they even collaborated and one
would close while the other was open for a day or two during the week.
2/13/1982 - YORKSHIRE - Mickey's
Diner, a landmark at Yorkshire
Corners, was sold to Eric H. Bowen of Orchard Park early this
Mr. Bowen purchased the
restaurant from Mildred
"Mickey" Schaper and her
partners, Ronald and Marge
George. The three partners still
retain ownership of the
Yorkshire Inn, located about
two miles south of the diner on
EARLY OWNERS, the late
Mr. and Mrs. Carl Kraft of
Sandusky, operated the establishment as a lunch car. Mrs.
Schaper worked for the next
owners, the late Orval Eddy
and his wife, Vera Eddy of Arcade, for two years before purchasing the diner in 1944.
As business increased by
1945, a dining room was added,
holding eight tables. The business operated 24 hours-a-day
until 1965. In 1967 a new diner
was added to the front of the
That same year, Ronald and
Marge George of Machias became partners in the business.
Mrs. Schaper's mother, Mrs.
Mayme Vance, baked pies at
the diner for 25 years and assisted in raising the three
Schaper children. "Without her
I would never have made it,"
Mrs. Schaper said. Another
long-time employee, Mrs. Dorothy Stangl of Yorkshire, served
as cook for many years and
continues in that capacity two
days a weekMrs. Schaper retired in August 1981. "I wish to thank all
the people who have patronized
the diner; also, my employees
and parters and all who helped
make the diner a success,"
Mrs. Schaper said.
Mr. Bowen said he plans to
continue the "same fine quality
of food and service at the
diner," and also to retain the
current staff of 35 full and parttime employees. Mr. George
was appointed manager.
The diner is open seven days
a week, 5a.m.-l0p.m.
8/21/14 - Mr. Marian moved
to Colligan lot near McCabe's Bakery - Olean paper
Possible Diner at 71 West
Main St. (1938 Sanborne map)
1934 - 1945 - Max R. Blair
Gertrude Johns - Radiant Diner
1947+ - Mrs. Mary Lauser -
onsite diner at 102 West
Main known as
S. H. Brown - Ward
& Dickinson # 16
- 7/27/25 to 1/25/26
sold back to Ward &
moved to Williamsville.
91 Main St. - ca 1932 to
1948 explosion/fire (see blurbs, erase this when found) This
was probably a Sharpe built diner, it was barrel roofed.
1932 - Akin's Dining Car -
1933 - Randolph Diner -
Samuel Abbott owned car in
1940s, also owned
diner in Bolivar
diner closed for the war,
1/23/47 Explosion of
destroyed interior of Sammy's Diner, damage estimated at $20,000.
Harry Peterson, manager, received 1st degree burns. - Dunkirk
1937 - Steamburg Lunch Car
1/10/39 - Roy Ellison,
furniture store at rural junction west of Olean had a fire, included
dining car. - Salamanca paper : most likely Seneca Junction - Olean
Wagon at 97 N. Main
A. Palmiter 1905
W. Roth & Frank
O. Williams 1907
South Main - W&D
# 84 came from Toledo, OH then DuBois, PA
V. and Mernie
Cross 6/26/30 - 1932
F. June 1933
Home Diner William Petri 1937-1943
Russell R. Frew 1953 -1956+
North Main - W&D
from Le Roy, New York, has been 100% remodeled
H. Mead + Raymond
Dorothy Elliott 1943
Diner Woodrow W.
Davis + Mrs. Lela Hardy 1953
Diner Woodrow W.
- Inside diner
there are pictures of original diner.
South Main - barrel
Diner Charles P &
Gertrude P McGibney 1943 - 1956
David Green = "Helped Uncle Sherm open this diner. Originally on
south side of S. Main St, across from Aire Free factory and Bridge,
next to Hopkins lumber. Sold to waitress Gertrude. Moved to Center
of Wellsville, very close to original Mernie Cross Diner. opened appx
was still there in
2000, but was gone soon thereafter.
- Flood picture.
spent a few months in Wellsville.
Holly Hawkins & S.B. Trask
- Charles Haviland has sold his lunch car at
Wellsville, to Ralph Phillips who has moved the car to Bolivar, NY. -
Phillips & Walker 6/18/1925 - 6/12/1930
Walker 1930 -
& Mrs. Cliff Day
- purchased around when picture came out in Pennysaver. They
until about 1988.
In later years it was moved and attached to a bigger building and was
Myrtle Phillips of
Bolivar has inside picture which was put in Pennysaver many years ago
some type of diner in Alfred.
Fern Fullington - 1927
Dining Car - 1927
of location or relation to other two diners.
Dining Car. - 1926
Possibly an authentic diner. Vague unconfirmnig information
Bixler, which came from Rochester.
W. Main St.
wagons. two hooked up to a house.
S. Park Place Ward & Dickinson #41
Diner -O.F. Kiefer 1926- died around 1940
Sweet & Howard Roffe leased diner. - Jan 1941
- George Root sold what was known as Kief's Diner, located in Park
Place for 20 years to George W. Studley and states diner will be
removed soon - Livonia Paper
8/22/1944 - AVON — Eighty-three
hats line the walls of Ray
Nichols diner his honor roll of
former customers in service.
The collection, which includes
. every type from welder's cap to
a snappy fedora, was begun
March 31, 1942, when a customer dropped in to say goodbye
and have a last hamburger before entering the army. I'll hold your hat white you're
away." Nichols told the boy,
sad the hat was hung on the
wall. As others farmers, truck
drivers, gas station attendants,
salesmen left for service, each
paid a final call to the 60-year old former farmer.
Each left his hat, and now
they line the entire diner an
8O-foot tribute to Nichols' boys'
in service." Hatless customers left neckties. One girl, who Joined the
Women's Auxiliary Army Corps,
contributed her scarf.
Army and Navy headgear dot
the wails—sent by boys who
were promoted, or by some who
didn't have time for a good
Among the neckties is that of
Tech. Sgt. Forrest Vesler of Livonia, Congressional Medal of
Honor winner, who offered te
sacrifice himself to lighten a
Fortress and save the lives of
Nicholas, justly proud of his
collection, wants most to get
rid of it. Says he:
"I want to give those hats
back to the boys who left
Hayward published a book on the history of Caledonia.
November, 1927, Lynn Wheeler of Dansville brought the lunch car to
Caledonia and set it up on the prepared property between the hardware
store and the Byam Hotel.
May 1928, the car was sold to Jack O'Hearne of Schenectady and sold
again in September of 1928 to Elmer Storm who moved it during the
night on two heavy trucks to the Hamilton property on the corner of
North and Jane Streets. Mr. Storm had purchased the property from Mr.
1929, it became the property of Thomas Callan and was moved to the
west side of his West End Garage. Harlan Wall purchased and
refurbished the diner and opened for business in 1930.
Stauffer bought the car and it remained at the west end of town until
1932 when it was moved back ti its original location between the
hardware and the hotel.
July 1937, Mr. Stauffer purchased the Charles Place property on the
corner of State and Main Streets. He moved the lunch car down the
sidewalk on State Street. He and his family occupied the house, and
Mr. Stauffer and his wife, Gladys, operated the lunch car for several
years, leasing it at time to Francis Greene and wife, Helen William
Hickey, and others. During the mid-fifties, James and Gladys Donnelly
managed the car.
Hank became the owner in 1962 and his daughter Edith and her husband
Stanley Gotowski were in charge. It was closed for a time and
reopened in late 1968.
Hanks sold the property, including the diner and the house, in 1969,
to the village of Caledonia and the corner was cleared to make room
for the park and the entry into the Bell's Market.
period pictures included.
- Hart's Lunch Car moved to old Marvin Mill Truck Factory site on
South Commercial St. - Livonia Paper
- Mrs. Lyman Halle is manager of Livonia Diner - Livonia Paper
- Livonia Diner formerly owned by Murray Johnson, sold to William
Dunn of Rochester - Livonia Paper
- William Noll took management of Livonia Diner, added flagstone
front. William Ryan of Rochester is manager. - Livonia Paper