Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sisson's Diner

 Sisson's Diner is located in a rural area of South Middleboro, Mass.  It incorporates the body of an old Wason streetcar, #229,  from the Middleborough, Wareham, and Buzzards Bay Railway which ran past its present location.  It was removed from railroad service and turned into a diner in 1923, 90 years ago!  It is currently being refurbished by new owners who plan to put it back into food service.  I found it a fascinating example of adaptive reuse.

Last week I was able to examine the car both inside and out.  A surprising amount of the original car's fabric is still present.  Here is what the outside looks like, with its added roof and building behind it.  A painter was at work on the exterior.


Most of the car's original roof is intact.  What you're looking at here, from the top down, is the "new" shingles on the added roof structure.  Under that, you can see the clerestory windows, and below the windows, the original roof canvas on the hips, tacked to the tack molding!  Below that is the car siding and window frames, newly repainted.

Here's the interior, while the painter takes his lunch break.  Most of the rear wall, away from the road, was removed, and this counter and seats placed in the usual configuration.

Here we're looking towards the north end, and off into the additional seating area.

The ceiling has been covered with new material, and new light fixtures installed.

But in this area part of the lower roof remains exposed, and it too has the original canvas still in place.

And then, here we are looking at the clerestory again, on the side away from the road.  It's been covered over, but two of the steel carlines are still projecting out.  They would be resting on the top rail, which was removed for most of this side of the car.

The new owners hope to have the car open for business later this year, and promise to serve the best clam chowder in New England.  I will be sure to check it out when I next visit the area.  If you get there first, please let us know what you find!

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