In this thread, I'll be posting old linen postcard images and photos of roadside diners, restaurants, and other "highway hangouts" of the Homefront era. Many or most of these venues are now long gone, having fallen victim to the modern Interstate Highway system. So, let's gas up the Kaiser or the DeSoto and take a road trip back in time along the Lincoln Highway, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the National Road, the King's Highway, old Route 66, and others for a visit with 1940s roadside eatery America!
^ Baugh's Bar-B-Q was a popular roadside venue famous for great barbecued ribs. This linen postcard dates from the
1940s. Note the waitress's hairstyles. A hundred thousand dollars in annual sales wasn't bad in the 1940s! The original
Baugh's Bar-B-Q building is now home to a bait shop.
^ One of many diners that dotted the U.S. highways in the 1940s, Ayre's Diner on Rt. 13 near North Salisbury, MD was probably
famous for the viands it served up to travel-weary tourists. Oh, that diner food!
^ While the 555, INC. Service Station in Little Rock, AR, was likely not a place to stop for lunch during the 1940s, it might have come in handy in case you had a breakdown
on the highway. It was located at the junction of several highways in Little Rock, Arkansas.
^ If you were motoring through Florida, you'll want to stop for gas at the Standard Oil Gas Station & Store in Christmas, FL, if
only for the sake of the kids! Here, the kiddies could meet none other than Santa Clause, himself! This card dates from 1948/49.
^ If you began to feel a little peckish while driving through Kingman, Arizona on Route 66, you might want to pull into the Casa Linda Cafe.
This card dates from the mid-1940s.
^ If you were traveling around Chicago and having hunger pangs, the Burlington Diner was propably a good place to satisfy that hunger. This card dates from the late 1930s/early '40s.
Though the Burlington Diner boasted that "we never close," it eventually did just that. And now, as Ralph Story might have said, the Burlington is just another one of those things
that aren't here anymore. The block, upon which the Burlington once stood, is now completely barren; every building having been razed to the ground, and the rubble hauled away.
The stockyards, once located across from the Burlington, have also vanished. A new housing tract has taken over many of the neighboring blocks.
^ From the 1920s, to the 1940s, Brown's Coffee Shop and Esso Filling Station on Route 7 near Swanton, Vermont, was, no doubt, a welcome sight for tired and hungry tourists
driving through the Vermont countryside. This was one of many "mom and pop" places that disappeared long ago--another establishment to fall victim to the modern interstate
^ If passing through Columbia, PA on the Lincoln Highway (U.S. Route 30), Bob's Diner would, no doubt be the place for
a good breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or breakfast, dinner, or supper!). Like most diners, the food they served was probably
good home-cooking fare. And the prices were reasonable. As late as the mid-1950s, $1.50 would get you a meatloaf platter
with piled-high mashed potatoes and lots of gravy, corn on the cob, a drink, and dessert! Bob's Diner has long ago vanished.
Nowadays a large auto repair garage stands on the site.
^ Bishop's Restaurant in Hershey, PA during the 1940s, boasted "Breakfast - Dinner - Spaghetti." And,
of course, they also sold candy. Judging by Bishop's signage, one has to wonder if they closed for lunch!
^ The Art Deco styled Del Comino Cafe in El Paso, Texas, must have drawn travelers off the highway during the
late-1930s, and 1940s. Judging from the looks of the place, the Del camino must have had a pricier menu.
^ If you were traveling through Pennsylvania on the Lincoln Highway, you were blessed with a whole string of small towns along its route that boasted at least one good place to eat.
The Cross Keys Diner in New Oxford, PA, was certainly no exception. This linen postcard dates from the early 1940s. Note the earlier style of construction of this diner, which dates
from the 1920s, possibly earlier.
^ Of course, historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania has been a magnet for tourists ever since General Robert E. Lee
and his battered and defeated Army of Northern Virginia beat a hasty retreat back across the Patomac River
in a pouring rain. That was on July 4th, 1863. Things have changed just a bit in and near Gettysburg since
then. In the mid-20th century one of many places to serve hungry tourists who must have worked up quite an
appetite after tramping across all those many historic battlefields (where the cream of America's manhood
gave its all for either the Union or Confederate cause) was the Dutch Cupboard. This colorful eatery was well-
known for the hardy Pennsylvania German fare on its menu. Notice the traditional Pennsylvania German
"hex signs" painted on the outside of the building. This poscard image dates from the 1940s.
^ This diner near Rahway, New Jersey, features a variation in diner construction that utilized glass blocks on the corners, and
at the entrance. Another interesting diner image from the Homefront era.
^ I included this card for laughs. It is totally made up, the signage having been dubbed into the photograph. This is
undoubtedly a broken-down old building in a deserted ghost town or mining camp somewhere in Northern California,
Nevada, Idaho, or Montana. I love the ads on the outside: "Come in and eat before we BOTH starve!" What a hoot! And,
yes, I'm sure that with all the broken windows, the place was really "air conditioned!" Must have been tough in Winter!
^ A real eye-catcher for tourists on the road must have been the Greenhut Cafe. Judging by all the signage they wanted hungry
travelers to know what they were all about - FOOD! Notice the white porcelain drinking fountain out in front by the curb to the
left side of the image. One of many now-extinct roadside eateries of a by-gone era.
More images will follow. So, keep watching!
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