A classic of classics, like baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Chevrolet…that’s the all-American diner! Often epitomized with an exterior of stainless steel, the diner is unique in its architecture. Then, of course, there is the interior: a casual atmosphere, a counter, stools and service area along a back wall.
The Bendix Diner in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, is an example of Art Deco style and neon signage.
But, how did it all get started and by whom?
Walter Scott, a part-time pressman and type compositor in Providence, Rhode Island,founded the first diner. It all started around 1858 with Scott supplementing his income by selling sandwiches and coffee from a basket.
Newspaper night workers welcomed the services and by 1872, he had developed a very lucrative business. So much so, he quit his printing work and sold food at night from a horse-drawn covered express wagon parked outside the Providence Journal newspaper office. Walter Scott unknowingly inspired the birth of what would become one of America’s most recognized icons — the diner.
Empower the Present. Are diners still around today?
The interest in the American Diner continues today. Just ask Guy Fieri of Drive-ins, Diners and Dives! A significant number of vintage diners have been rescued from demolition and relocated to new sites in the United States and Europe. Manufacturers of diner structures are experiencing new orders or remodeling projects in a retro style.
Photo credit: Marilyn Armstrong, author of The 12-Foot Teepee. You can visit Marilyn at her blog, Serendipity, where you will be enlightened by her writing, nature, photography, history, arts, nostalgia, humor and so much more!
Diners are uniquely American, our culture incarnate.
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