This post is full of unabashed nostalgia and I will not apologize for it.
I can imagine a time when employees posed in fully uniformed pride for staff photos, when drinking a shake or eating a sundae was a treat and not an every-other-day occurrence, when having two straws in your soda meant you were cool, and when taking a break from shopping or errands was as easy as sitting down at the counter.
The newest exhibit from the Archives of the City of Kingsport takes a look back at a time when nothing could be finer. Here are some of my favorite images from the exhibit, which date from 1940-1965. Above: The Belvue Dairy-Land, 1955, was located on E. Center St. near Robinson Middle School (the current location of Belvue Christian Church).
The left exhibit case contains photos of Honest John’s, Belvue Dairy-Land, Dipsy Doodle, Clinchfield Drug, Center Street Grill, Mason-Dixon Cafeteria, the United Nations Restaurant, and Earle’s Drug Store.
The right exhibit case contains photographs of Burger Chef, Morelock Motors Luncheonette, Barger Tourist Camp and Sandwich Shop, Clinchfield Drug, Center Street Restaurant (now the abandoned Auto Club office), Mead Paper Cafeteria, Texas Steer Drive-In, and Handy’s Restaurant.
Morelock Motors Luncheonette, 1956, was located inside the showroom on Center St. (Bristol Hwy). They served ice cream, as you can see, but would your food taste like tires? I am not sure I would have eaten there but I can stare at this photo for hours. Fascinating.
Graduates Day at Clinchfield Drug, c. 1940-41. The archives’ records only show this event occurring for 2-3 years. There are some wonderful pictures from it, however. I included one in each case. Clinchfield Drug was once on Shelby, then Main St., then finally on Broad St.
Feature image: Look closely at the photo across the top of the blog. If you are a Kingsporter, you will recognize the carved wooden Indian which now stands in front of Pratt’s Barbecue. It was originally carved by John D. Barker and here it is seen standing in front of his Honest John’s Restaurant, 1960, on Stone Dr.
Dinner at the Diner will be on exhibit on the main floor of the Kingsport Public Library through the end of April 2017.