Silver Creek’s dining car history worth savoring

Attending the recent historical marker unveiling at the Hanover Town Hall, sitting, from left, are: Jeff Hornburg, Silver Creek mayor; Sen. George Borrello; Lou Pelletter, Silver Creek Historian/Hanover council. Standing are Ed Schintzius, Bernie Feldmann, Wayne Ashley, all Hanover council; Vince Martonis, Hanover Historian; Todd Johnson, Hanover supervisor.

Area history buffs might know that Silver Creek was home to the Ward & Dickinson Dining Car Co. But few know once there were six of these dining car manufacturers in business-friendly Silver Creek.

From about 1921 to 1949, these six companies made very popular dining cars, shipping them to many states: Richardson Dining Car Co., Silver Creek Dining Car Co., Ward & Dickinson Diners, National Dining Car Co., Goodell Hardware, and Sorge Dining Car Co.

The major manufacturer was Ward & Dickinson, which produced about 320 of the restaurants.

The building is still standing up on Central Avenue and is occupied by the Silver Creek Fire Department.

There are photos of many of these diners in the Hanover History Center, along with a log book detailing the owners and locations of the first 100 diners made. Dining car company author Mike Engle used these resources in writing two of his books: Diners of New York (co-author), Diners of the Great Lakes, and Diners of the Capital District.

For those wishing to see the inside of a Ward & Dickinson car and learn some more history, attend the tour offered by Silver Creek Historian Lou Pelletter during the Grape Festival.

Just be at the diner next to the village Municipal Building on Saturday or Sunday, Sept. 25 and 16 at 1 p.m. Enjoy some refreshments there too.

Or you could make the trip to nearby Westfield and have a meal in the Main Diner, one of the few Ward & Dickinson dining cars still in operation. Sit at the counter to get the feel of eating in an actual dining car.

Don’t forget to look up at the windows in the recessed ceiling, a common W & D feature.

Those interested in more dining car history can look forward to a program by author Engle at the Hanover Town Hall this coming spring.


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