Diner News and History

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Barr's Diner - East Providence, RI

Barr's Diner
photo courtesy of photosonflickr
This diner was last used as an office at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. As with many diners, it had several owners/operators through the years. Barr's Diner was one name under which it operated.

On the right is a picture of the diner at its current location, the East Providence Technical and Career Center, East Providence, R.I. The diner has many features we've seen in other diners, giving us an idea of the manufacturer and its age. A search through the diner database yielded some results of similar diners. Two examples are: the former Fegely's Reading Diner and the former Serro's Diner. Both are Monarch models built by Jerry O'Mahony, Inc. in 1938. Barr's appears to be consistent with those diners.

Fegely's was moved to a site in Wyomissing, PA in October 2005. It awaits further restoration by the Archbury Foundation. In February 2003, Serro's was moved to Latrobe and put into storage. The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor organization stated they will restore it. Plans are to include it as part of the Welcome and Interpretative Center on Route 30 near Ligonier, PA. Since it has been a few years, we would like to know the latest on these two projects.

diner stool
photo courtesy of photosonflickr
Perhaps you are wondering what Barr's may look like if it was restored? Agilitynut has two pictures on her website of the former Fegely's Reading Diner: external and internal. As in Agilitynut's internal picture link, Barr's has the same front counter style with orange and black tiles. The diner's stools and booths are missing. Replacement stools would be like the ones pictured to the left, as seen in the former Tommy's Deluxe Diner, a 1939 O'Mahony when it was located in Middletown, RI. More about Tommy's and its restoration here.

The Worcester Lunch Car Company adopted a similar counter style and colors. An example of this would be the Four Sisters Owl Diner. Agilitynut has pictures of that diner here.

Performing a restoration of Barr's presents serious challenges. From the years of neglect, the roof shows signs of water damage. The extent of which probably won't be realized until the restoration begins. Keith Walker just opened the former Tommy's as the Road Island Diner. Total restoration costs reportedly ran about a million dollars. We'll follow the progress on Barr's diner and report as new information becomes available.

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Archbury Foundation

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