Memories/Growing Up in Gloucester City in the 50's and 60's
Friday, October 24, 2008
By Bill Yeager
You asked me about the Gloucester Diner and I have been thinking about it. I will tell you what I remember about the Gloucester Diner and the other places we would hang out back in the day.
Photo:Although this is not the Gloucester Diner this is what it looked like in the 1950's
There were originally two (2) Gloucester City Diners (I think). The first one was like an old trolley car or railroad car across from the Twin Bar between Market and Powell Streets. Kings Drug store was on Market Street across from the Twin Bar. A Merit Gas Station was on the south corner of Market and Broadway and the little dingy diner was next to the Merit station. I was only in there a few times because it was very dirty looking and the coffee tasted like swill.
Then they built the new Gloucester Diner ( I think it was in the early 50’s) one block north of the old Diner on Broadway between Market and Joy Streets (where the liquor store stands today).
It was a great improvement. All the young people in Gloucester, who had cars, went there at night. The food was pretty good.
After the dances (usually on Friday nights) Park dance, Gloucester High and Gloucester Catholic everybody would go to the diner to eat and occasionally get into a good fight. After the last call in the bars, 2 o’clock in the morning, people would all stop in for the bacon and eggs. And on the weekends the sailors came over from Philly and they would get into a fight with the Gloucester guys.
There are many more stories about the diner, that I can’t think of right now but I will tell you my story.
Photo of a 1950 Mercury known as a Hot Rod back in the day.............
It was the summer of 1954 and I had just turned 17 years old. I was racing Lowell Hubbs on Lane Avenue. A Gloucester City policeman, Pete Sherman, followed us with his lights out. He pulled me over and gave me a reckless driving ticket. I lost my license for 60 days. Lowell Hubbs was the lucky one. He got away scott free.
After I lost my license I would walk down to the Gloucester diner in the evenings to catch a ride with someone. On one particular Saturday night I was supposed to meet Frank Boden and a kid from Westville named Ozzie ( I don’t remember his last name). On my way down to the diner I stopped at St. Mary’s church and went to confession. By the time I got to the diner Frank and Ozzie had already left and there was no one else around. I was mad and walked home.
The next morning, I was washing my father’s car for something to do. My uncle, Tom Yeager, came over and asked if I knew what happened to Frank Bowden the night before. My uncle Tom was a neighbor of Frank’s. I told him I was supposed to go out with him, but missed him. My uncle told me that Frank and Ozzie had a head on collision at Delsea Drive and Olive Street in Westville.
They were racing another kid from Gloucester. The kid who was the other driver in the crash was Ludd Juergen from Woodbury.
I went to visit Ludd in the hospital and I told him who the guys were in the other car and that the accident was not his fault.
Both Frank and Ozzie were killed instantly.
I won’t go into any more detail other than there were other places we hung out around town:
1) Powell’s luncheonette on Broadway in Gloucester
2) Ann’s Sweet Shop in Gloucester Heights on Nicholson Road
3) Security Restaurant in Gloucester Heights on Route 130
4) Thelma’s on Route 130 across from Gloucester Auto Body
5) Del Val Diner on Route 130 where King of Pizza is now
6) Dan’s corner, Route 130 and Browning Road across from
7) Ship Diner on the Brooklawn circle
8) Murphy House on the other Brooklawn circle
9) Weber’s Root Beer, on Route 130 Brooklawn is still there
There were other places where
the kids hung out but these are the ones that I remember.
Note: Bill Wibby Yeager is a former resident of Gloucester City who now resides in Delaware. He is active member of the Breakfast Club