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The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86923 Tue Mar 07 2006 07:49 PM
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It has been awhile since I have posted a feature on Oldgas, so letís see if anyone is interested. Before you write this off as drivel, let me assure you that there is a service station involved, as well as race cars and race track. So donít lose heart Petroholics. Check back as the story unfolds and if you eat here, youĎre sure to get gas.



Itís 1946 and youíre traveling down Highway 101 in the center of middle-of-no-where California. The world war has ended and youíre celebrating your release from the Uncle Sam by taking a trip with your family from the Bay area to Santa Barbara, California. You havenít seen much since you left Salinas some 300 miles to the north several hours ago, but out of the twilight glows a neon sign. You shake your head to make sure youíre not falling asleep as you approach the neon sign and your unbelieving eyes reveal a pair of railroad cars sandwiching a building on the side of the road.

This canít be real! Who in their right mind would build a restaurant like this in the middle of no-whereís-ville California. Yet there it sits, Mullenís Dining Cars. Who is this nut case and what the heck was he thinking when he forever stranded these train cars at this out of the way siding just north of Buellton, California?




Stick around and youíll find out.


[This message has been edited by the poor mans museum (edited 03-22-2006).]


C Cragg
Value Questions and Showcase forums

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Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86924 Tue Mar 07 2006 07:56 PM
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(I FALL OFF MY CHAIR....)

CURT, YOU'RE ALIVE! YOU'RE BACK! COOL DADDI-O! AND WOW! A DINING CAR STORY! I LIKE DINERS AND HAVE EATEN IN SIMILAR STYLE PLACES IN MY MANY HUNGRY TRAVELLING YEARS ALONG THE ROADSIDE. MULLEN'S LOOKS LIKE A DOUBLE SIDED DELIGHT! MAN, I WISHED I LIVED BACK THEN. TAKE US BACK CURT, DOWN THE CALI ROADSIDE AND FEED US THE NOSTALIC MAIN COURSE AND GIVE US GAS FOR DESSERT! CAN'T WAIT! GREAT TO SEE YOU BACK!

~DOC @ TAG.WEST


DOC @ THE AMERICAN GARAGE
Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86925 Tue Mar 07 2006 08:02 PM
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I for one, have been going through withdrawls waiting for the next chapter of your history lesson. I'm glad to see them and you back. How is the book coming? Well, I hope.


Looking for Tide Water/ Tide Water-Associated/ Tidewater items
Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86926 Tue Mar 07 2006 08:27 PM
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Thanks for asking about the book Bob and forgive me while I drift off to the siding for a minute.

I just got word last week that my book will be released on May 26, 2006. We will be doing a book signing on Memorial Weekend at Andersen's Pea Soup Restaurant in Buellton for the public and then a community book signing on June 5th, hopefully at the Dining Cars Cafe (still to be arranged).
I will be contacting Mr. Potts to find out how I get the books on Oldgas so that this site gets a bit of the action too.

Here's the cover



There will be pictures of...service stations, motor courts with service stations, diners with service stations and stories abou t service stations and Buellton, which was known as "Service Town, USA" because of all of the service stations. Otherwise, not much of interest to gas geeks (did I mention service stations). Also a few really sexy gas pumps and race cars.


C Cragg
Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86927 Tue Mar 07 2006 09:19 PM
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Nice to see you back!I loved your last feature on here.That was about the time I started visiting the site.I can't wait for more.Keep up the excellant work.
Tom


Got Socony???

Tom
Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86928 Tue Mar 07 2006 09:29 PM
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WOW its Curt! Hey there Curt hows it going, where ya' been and all the rest. When we were in your neighborhood last september I'm thinking I saw that rail car restaurant building!? Does it still exist? Man it looks familiar as does the Split Pea Soup!
Welcome back from exile, work, vacations or relaxation. Where ever ya' been Welcome. Larry


In memory of DB 9/12/49 - 8/28/14
Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86929 Tue Mar 07 2006 09:36 PM
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I'm loving it Curt... I was stationed at March AFB in Riverside CA in the early 60's and used to drive home to Seattle on leave... up that highway... You are bringing back fond memories. I always stopped at Andersen's.
Thanks for the memories...


------------------
Frank


Frank
Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86930 Tue Mar 07 2006 10:11 PM
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I've been in rehab (that's writers rehab not AA).

Yes Larry the Dining Cars are still there, but you're making me get ahead of my story so let's go back to 1946 for awhile.

Dining Cars Continued

Ed Mullenís wasnít completely out of his mind. He had worked as a steward on a real dining car and he knew that the old cars were surplus that could be had for virtually nothing. All he had to do was haul them up the coast from Los Angeles where they originally ran and find a piece of property to put them on. Some twenty years earlier a crazy Dane named Anton Andersen had made a name for himself in the town of Buellton selling split pea soup from a tiny diner. Why wouldnít the novelty of two dining cars sitting at the side of Highway 101 between Los Angeles and San Francisco attract a following?

The ten acres just north of town was relatively cheap allowing Mullenís room for expansion if his business succeeded, so why not give it a try? No, Mullenís wasnít crazy, he was just ahead of his time and a little too far out of town. When people were reaching Buellton they were looking for the pea soup place, not a pair of dining cars. If they were arriving from the south they had already stopped and eaten at Andersenís. If they were coming from the north they blew by the dining cars as if it were a mirage, never expecting to see such a place in the middle of nothing. By the time they hit the brakes they were in the middle of Buellton and there was the pea soup place along with a lot of other choices for food, gas and restrooms.



By the middle of 1949 Mullenís decided to give it up and let someone else have a try. He leased the restaurant to Louise Lane, who despite her connection to Superman, didnít last long either. From there it was a succession of attempts to make the novel idea work and a series of train wrecks in the form of failed businesses in the dining cars.



Stay on track, there's still more to this Dining Car story.


C Cragg
Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86931 Wed Mar 08 2006 08:08 PM
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Good to see that you found your way back to Oldgas.... Love the local history stuff.


Anything Chevron
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I'd rather be flying.....
Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86932 Wed Mar 08 2006 10:10 PM
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The staff of the dining cars waiting to serve the rush of customers. Note the neon bowtie on the ceiling (still works).



I know, I know. I promised you a service station. It's coming!

[This message has been edited by the poor mans museum (edited 03-08-2006).]


C Cragg
Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86933 Thu Mar 09 2006 04:43 AM
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Ladys and gentlemen please Welcome Curt Cregg, Writer, author, collector and Historian , Applause , Applause, Welcome back Curt, Looking forward to the next chapter


Chris Holt
Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86934 Thu Mar 09 2006 07:02 PM
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Curt,
I always thought those were TROLLY CARS from Los Angeles !
Dick

------------------
**PUT A LID ON IT**
1qt CAN RE-LIDDING

Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86935 Thu Mar 09 2006 08:09 PM
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Dick Bennett knows his history. Here is the dope on the dining cars from my friend Dick Shelley.

"Let me add a bit history about the two streetcars. These are Type-B Huntington Standards, designed by the engineering staff of Henry Huntington, owner of the Los Angeles Railway. These were built by St. Louis Car Co., and messured 44' 7" long. They are unique in that they have five window ends. #643 and #644 (that make up the restaurant) were part of a 100 car order that entered service in 1911in Los Angeles; and ran until the early '40s when they were sold for scrap. I would guess that Mr. Mullens bought them from the scrapper. Probably more information than you wanted, but....."

And now for some more of the story...

[This message has been edited by the poor mans museum (edited 03-09-2006).]


C Cragg
Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86936 Fri Mar 10 2006 09:07 PM
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There is a old dining car on a rail that is still open as a taco place in Emporia Kansas... I will get a pic next time I am there. I was supprised to see how much room is in one of those cars!


Travis E. Towle
Topeka, Kansas

785-357-1004

Re: The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe
#86937 Sat Mar 11 2006 08:18 AM
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While we wait for the next exciting episode of Curt's 'The History Highway, Dining Cars Cafe'
Old Gasers can relive The Lompoc T Club -
The Original Rat Rod Racers , another of Curt's histories.

It includes racers with UNION , SHELL and GILMORE'S lion on their sides..link...
http://www.oldgas.com/shoptalk/ubb/Forum4/HTML/001103.html

Robert

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