Friday, April 28, 2017

there is a small railcar diner in Oneida New York, and it's not on the internet at all... not even on Google Street View! But Andy had a moment and now Morey's Diner is posted for posterity!

Morey's Diner is a rare Ward and Dickinson from the 1920s. There might only be 16 left.

It was originally known as the Miss Oneida and was located on Main Street.

 It was moved here in 1953. By 1989, the diner was in very bad shape. A new owner has been gradually restoring it ever since. Morey's reopened in 1996

The biggest problem with Ward and Dickinson's are that they were not conducive to the booth clientelle, thusly, many were scrapped or traded in, while some were added on to. These additions were sometimes done with respect to the dining car and other times with very little respect.

Thanks Andy!

info from

Buffalo Courier Express Nov 3, 1972 Bygone Era Was Clovered with Roadside diners

Earl B Richardson, of Westfield, came to Old Home Week in Silver Creek in 1908, and didn't return. The little restaurant-on-wheels he had built and hauled into town was so popular, he stayed with the business. Many persons credit him with being the father of the roadside dining car that developed in the 20's and even flourished in the depression.
The Westfielder's idea was to provide a lunch for workingmen who didn't have time to seek out a restaurant and wait for service.
It was successful beyond expectation. The little eating spots, built to suggest the railroad dining car with its swank and appeal, soon became a fixture in business and industrial neighborhoods across the country.
Shops sprang up in Chautaugua County, turning out the portable diners. The most notable was the Ward and Dickinson Dining Car Mfg. Co., Silver Creek, which at the height of production employed more than 100 craftsmen and shipped its output by rail.

Tourists passing through the community would stop at the rambling plant and look over the cars lined up in the yard, awaiting shipment.
"Pretty soon they'd sign up for a diner," recalls Lyle Allen Myers, Sr., Silver Creek, who headed up the paint and trim department at Ward and Dickenson. "They'd decide to go into the lunch car business back home. Everyone was making money at it."
Nothing less than cabinetry went into the diners. Because they would be moved to their site on a set of four wagon wheels, they were built to withstand stress.
"The supporting framework of beams were laid in the form of an arch held by truss rods," he notes. "As the car was built, its weight flattened out the frame and every joint was fitted under tension."
A Curved roofline, windows in a row and the lighting added from a clerestory added to the dining car illusion.
White enameled sheet metal sides emphasized this. Windows were trimmed in green.
The most popular model had 20 stools facing a counter, and a booth at each end. "Battleship" linoleum, freen, covered the floor. Interiors were apple green.
So completely were the diners equipped that all a restauranteur had to do was hook up water, electricity and gas. The table service, pots and pans, knives and spatulas were part of F.O.B. Silver Creek.
Myers remembers when 18 of the units were paraded through town, drawn by truck, and loaded two to a flatcar, for shipment to Cleveland.
"A customer coming through the door of a diner would hang his hat on a hook, throw one leg over a stool and do it in fewer than three steps." Myers says. "At noon, it was elbow to elbow eating."
"Men loved to close to everything feeling in the diner. One could see the counterman ladle out the chili from the steam table. You could watch while he flipped pancakes on the grill."
If you were going to a restaurant for dinner, you would dress up.
In the diner you wore overalls.


  1. Here are some photos of what turns out to be "Moreys Diner"

    Sign at the door..

  2. Oh, I took those this afternoon... There was no hours of operation posted anywhere, it never looks open, but there was fresh supplies on the counter, probably just in the morning...