19th century lunch wagons were forerunners of modern diners

Olga’s Diner, Marlton NJ c1960s

Who doesn’t love going to a good diner?

Years ago, my favorite was Olga’s Diner. Their coffee and cheesecake were the best!

I hear that construction of a new Olga’s Diner, unrelated to the former one, is underway less than a mile from the original diner.

Chuck Cherris, one of many contributors to the images shown here, generously provided these scans of his vintage postcards in 2005.

A google search for Camden images led a recent visitor to inquire if we could help him find a vintage photo of a lunch wagon in Camden, c. late 19th – early 20th centuries.

Maybe a reader out there in cyberspace can help Michael Gabriele, a Clifton, NJ author, find one.

Michael explains…

Six years ago I wrote a book about NJ diner history, published by The History Press (see attached image).

I’m in the final stages of a new project and trying to track down some material on lunch wagons (the precursors to modern diners) that operated in Camden in the 1890s and early 1900s. In particular, I’ve come across info on a Lunch wagons were the lunch wagon that operated at the Arch and Federal “triangle” intersection in downtown Camden.

If any of your colleagues has information, I would greatly appreciate it if they can share it with me. It would be super if someone has a vintage postcard collection that depicts a lunch wagon on the streets of Camden.

Let us know if you can help, or leave a comment about a Jersey diner.  -JMc

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John McCormick

Teacher at Riverton School 1974-2019, author, amateur historian, Historical Society of Riverton Board Member 2007-2023, newsletter editor 2007-2023, website editor 2011-2023

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