Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy News Cafe

Today' picture was taken in 1937, and it shows the Happy News Cafe ni Washington DC. Interesting that the sign on the door on the left says there is a ladies dining room upstairs. I am not sure why women would be seated separately at this time.


  1. Goodness knows that even today in some places a lone female can be subjected to all sorts of rude suggestions, and it was probably worse "way back when". A lady might have preferred to eat in a private dining room just to be away from the stares and remarks.

  2. I worked my way thru college as a waitress. Many's the time I saw an elderly woman alone, eating by herself. Everyone else was there with family or friends. Very sad. If ladies have a dining room of their own, they WILL strike up conversations. Women just love to talk to each other. ;- ) I think the ladies dining room, in addition to shielding us from the rude, is a lovely way to ease the loneliness.

  3. BTW, there is only one word for the progress you have made as a Gentleman Farmer -----


  4. When I returned from active service in 1992, the local bar, Leger's was closing down. It had never allowed any women inside. If you told your wife that you were at Leger's, she knew you were not messing around with other women.
    Lorenzo Poe

  5. Bernarr MacFadden was an interesting fellow. I had never heard of him until you posted this picture.

  6. Found something about the ladies dining room being for women dining alone. A woman might be allowed into the men's dining room but only if escorted by a man and then only rarely. If a man came with his wife they were usually expected to eat in the ladies dining room

  7. In Canada in the mid-1960s eating/drinking establishments still had separate entrances for men and women. I'm told the Aussies did much the same. Must be some sort of blue law thing.

  8. Why not a ladies dining room? The ladies don't always want to dine with those uncouth gentlemen!

  9. I love this week's topic.

    Providence, RI is considered the birthplace of the diner.

    We have a number of great diners here in Rhode Island, many of which are still housed in the original "Worcester" lunch cars from the 1930s and 40s and are listed in the National Historic Register.

    The most notable diners are:

    The Liberty Elm Diner in South Providence, which is in an original 1947 Worcester lunch car and was featured by Guy Fieri on the Food Netwwork earlier this year:

    The Modern Diner in Pawtucket, which is housed in an original 1941 Sterling Streamliner dining car:

    And the infamous Haven Bros. diner, which is the oldest (and supposed first) mobile diner in the country.

    The Haven Bros. diner was started as a horse-drawn lunch wagon in 1893 by Anne Haven with the proceeds from her late husband's life insurance policy.

    Although it has changed hands numerous times, Haven Bros. diner is still in business today and is current housed in a 1949 Fred W. Morse diner car.

    Every afternoon at 4:00 pm, the diner is towed to it's official site in the middle of downtown Providence, in a side street next to City hall.

    From 4:00 pm to 5:00 am, it attracts everyone - from the people leaving the clubs and theaters, to the Brown University students, to the biker gangs, to the city political elite.

    Famous for their hamburgers and weiners, Haven Bros. is considered to be the first diner in the country.

    You never know WHO you're going to see there!!

    We had breakfast at the Liberty Elm this past Sunday, and it's fantastic.

  10. Separate ladies accomodation in restaurants and bars was once the norm. Check out the play "Anna Christie" (by Eugene O'Neill.) Much of the action takes place in the ladies parlor of a saloon. Women without male escorts or men and women used the ladies parlor. No woman would go into the regular bar, not even the shady females of "Ann Christie".

  11. i certainly wish we had a diner like that around the corner!! what a great picture!


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