THE SWAN STREET DINER CAR
The Swan Street Diner is an example of one of the early Sterling Company diner cars made by the J.B. Judkins Company of Merrimac, Mass. The company fabricated diner cars, each numbered upon completion, from 1936 to 1942. The Swan Street Diner is No. 397 and was manufactured in 1937.
It features mahogany trim, a barrel-vaulted ceiling and walls and ceiling made of porcelain enamel. All the parts needed to build a Sterling diner were crafted in house, allowing total control of the quality and craftsmanship. Each Sterling diner was custom-designed, built on site and assembled section by section. The width, length, location of the kitchen, placement of the door, windows and back wall sections were all optional, making possible quick, on-the-spot assembly of a truly custom-built car. The sectionalized construction would allow business owners to start small; as business grew they could simply add sections to the diner. Many of the business owners were soldiers returning home from the war. For a reasonable amount of money, they could own and operate a business.
The Swan Street Diner car was originally operated as the Newark Diner, located in Newark, N.Y., (near Rochester, N.Y.). It arrived in pieces in 1937 and was assembled on site. The proximity to the Erie Canal and Route 31 provided a steady pool of customers. The Diner has had three previous owners: original owner Paul Scolfield, John Reynolds, and Jim McBride, who operated it for 27 years until 2013, when the Larkin Development Group purchased it. The Diner was transported to Akron, Ohio and then back to Buffalo for a full restoration. The interior enamel panels, bar stools and wood trim are all original. The booths have been newly fabricated in the former foot print of the Newark Diner booths. The counter has been rebuilt according the original glass top design.