S and B Diner Opened On Court Street, But Later Added A Factory Street Location
Located on Court Street, 233 to be specific, the beginnings of the S and B diner (S. & B. being Clark Sherman and Loyd Blanding) have a rather intriguing beginning. In the July 15, 1926 edition of the Watertown Daily Times, it was noted–
Pullman Diner To Be Opened As Restaurant
A Pullman diner will be installed as a restaurant at 231 Court Street Saturday, it was announced today by Alvin J. Jerge, proprietor of the car. The diner arrived here this morning from East Aurora, coming to this city by rail.
The restaurant will be equipped with the latest fixtures and will have a black marble counter for service. The car is equipped with an electric refrigerator and other modern equipment. The value of the car is estimated at $8,000. A similar restaurant has been successfully operated in East Aurora for the past three years.
The problem with this is 231 Court Street was still the address of the Jacobs house, one of the oldest homes on the street which wouldn’t be razed until a few years later when Montgomery Ward built its store on the plot of land. Yet, shortly after the Pullman car was installed, advertisements in the classified ads began to be placed for help wanted at the location, under the name of the Eleanor Diner, or Eleanor Lunch Wagon, which opened in 1927 on the corner of State Street and Armstrong Place where Solomon’s Temple stood.
The Pullman car was actually placed at the front of the 231 residence, but whether it was relocated to State Street is not known, though in a 1929 article regarding the razing of the Jacobs property, it was noted that “Recently, a lunch wagon has been located on the front of the property.”
This would put the same wagon potentially still being there after the Eleanor relocated sometime between June of 1927 and July of 1928. As shown in the first two photos in the gallery here, the car resembles the one from the Eleanor Diner, but couldn’t possibly be the same one because both locations were obviously running at the same time in the early 1930’s.
It is most likely that the car in question was moved from the Jacobs home to the small, open lot between it and the Liberty Theater sometime prior to the Jacobs home being razed in 1929 to make way for the new Montgomery Ward building which opened in 1930 and Alvin J. Jerge, with his connections in East Aurora, had a similar car delivered to the Eleanor’s new location,, though this hasn’t been confirmed.
What can be confirmed, however, is the S and B Diner’s first mentioning found in print was 1934 with its address of 233 Court Street. It was operating in a rail, or Pullman, car, for in 1937 it would be reported by the Watertown Daily Times that–
The operators of the S and B Diner, 233 Court Street, have been given permission by the city engineer to erect a portable restaurant building on their property. The building, erected, will be worth $5,000, according to the building permit.
The present S and B Diner will be removed to the railroad lot at the corner of Factory and Polk Streets, it is said.
This lot at the corner of Factory and Polk streets would evidently become the second S and B Diner located within the city, operating at 100 Factory Street from 1937 until sometime before 1949 when it was known as the North Star Diner.
The S and B Diner on Court Street would ultimately see the writing on the wall as urban renewal brought new meaning to the saying, “there goes the neighborhood,” as block after block was torn down and their customer base went up in a poof of smoke.
With dwindling traffic, the S and B Diner would cite urban renewal as its reason for closing its doors for good in 1966.
Note: “S and B” was used in lieu of “S & B” due to url and seo factors; the internet isn’t kind to character usage and/or names/titles with periods and/or apostrophe’s such as St. Patrick’s.