The Eleanor Restaurant Takes A Landmark’s Spot And Becomes A Landmark Itself
The Eleanor Restaurant would get its start at 231 Court Street in 1926 as the Eleanor Lunch Wagon, neighboring the location of the latter S&B Diner. 231 Court Street was the former Jacobs residence, one of the oldest properties and on street at the time for which its estate was not settled.
The old George Pullman cars would become trendy diners around this time, the July 15, 1926 edition of the Watertown Daily Times 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 following year, the Eleanor lunch wagon would be moved to the vacant lot on lower State Street where, in 1879, Watertown N.Y. businessman Solomon Hadcock built what would become known as “Solomon’s Temple,” a large mansion that loomed over lower State Street as a symbol of the city’s affluence at the time.
With an interesting, if not altogether spectacular history of its own, Solomon’s Temple would eventually be torn down in the 1926, about a decade after its then owner, Dr. Armstrong, permitted the city to tunnel a street, now known as Armstrong Place, underneath the mansion which sat on a knoll at the time.
In 1927 the empty parcel would become home to the Eleanor Restaurant which would serve up hearty appetites for moviegoers coming from the neighboring Olympic Theater. According to the Watertown Daily Times November 5, 1966 retrospective on Solomon’s Temple–
Alvin J. Jerge in February, 1927, opened the Eleanor Restaurant Lunch at 240 State Street and by 1954, the Eleanor restaurant was listed at 240 to 244 State Street. Mr. Jerge died Jan. 18, 1954.
The property continued in the possession of Mr. Jerge’s widow until later it was transferred to the V. E. R. company, 131 Sherman Street, according to current records in the city’s assessor’s office. The restaurant operation is leased.
Over the course of its last 10 years, closing around 1975-76, the Eleanor Restaurant would see ownership change numerous times. In 1965, it was “Chuck and Ann’s” Eleanor Restaurant, operated by Chuck and Ann formerly of Patsy’s Pizza. The following year, Chuck was flying solo. In 1969, it was under management of Grace McCourt and VIE. The one thing that appeared to be consistent during the years up until its closing was the amount of break-ins and thefts in and around the Eleanor Restaurant.
At one point, the Eleanor became the longest-operating restaurant in the city of Watertown, in operation into the late 1980s and owned by Allen Piche who previously owned the Aldimar Restaurant on Public Square. The Eleanor would finally get its curtain call in 1991 when it was demolished to make wy for the municipal parking lot that is still there to this day.
2 Reviews on “The Eleanor Restaurant (1927 – 1991)”
I love what you’re doing on this site. A friend forwarded me this page because I am researching the company who built both the Eleanor and the S&B Diners, and I can give you a slew of information to put some pieces of the puzzle together. I’ll fill in a lot more, but basically why you’re having problems with the dates is that the diner that came to Watertown in 1926 went to Ogdensburg(Crescent Diner) in 1929 and the Eleanor came to town in 1927. The S&B came to town in 1935ish
Thanks for any info, that would be very helpful! It’s a bit confusing from the newspapers because, if I remember correctly, they had to move the car or figure out what to do with it when the Jacobs residence was razed on Court Street as it apparently sat in front of it. I believe it was moved off to the side, but don’t know for certain and then assumed it was relocated to the State Street site when the Eleanor moved there. But that adds a whole lot of “what happened” if that was removed to Ogdensburg two years later. There’s no info in Watertown Daily Times on it, which isn’t surprising. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks for dropping a message and I appreciate any info!
Another Urban Renewal parking lot is all that remains. Sad.