Saturday, December 08, 2007

Order Up

Letters: 12-06-07

Worcester Magazine
Written by staff
Thursday, 06 December 2007

Order up
I am so happy to see the article in Worcester Magazine about the restoration of the Sherwood Diner (City Desk / "New hope for the Sherwood," Nov. 21) but I must correct a gross error in the first paragraph, namely, that "the restoration is part of a project to raise money for a juvenile-detention facility in Rhode Island." Any money raised goes directly to the restoration of the diners.
This project was the brainchild of John Scott, community liaison for the Rhode Island Training School. John, originally a culinary teacher at the school, was promoted to his present position in 2004. He wanted to teach the post-secondary students something they could use as a craft when they eventually are released from this facility. He liked diners, looked on a computer and found Daniel Zilka's American Diner Museum. Thus began the creation of the New Hope Diner Restoration Project, in which the students have been learning historic skills by restoring diners.
Some family members and I toured the facility this past week and viewed three diners being restored. Daniel also joined us. I met Daniel 12 years ago when he came to see my mother and I. In 1969, my brother had removed the five booths and marble countertop and we had many things from the diner in our cellar because the diner was going to be used as a storage building on Route 20 after being taken by the Worcester Redevelopment Authority. We donated all of these items in 1995 to the American Diner Museum and these items will now be put back into the Sherwood. The Rhode Island Historical Society sponsored a four-month diner exhibition in 1995 featuring the Sherwood.
Although I have heard rumors of a feud between Daniel and I, it must be said that if Daniel wasn't around these diners would have been long gone. I indicated to Chet [Williamson, author of the article] that I would not be supporting the project if the Sherwood didn't remain in the area. I do hope it does but to see it restored and functioning anywhere would be great. So I have already started to raise funds for it by selling the New Hope Diner coffee and mugs and have many more ideas for the spring.
Interestingly enough, Daniel told me that in the early 1990s he approached someone at the Worcester Historical Society about having the diner museum here. Unfortunately the man replied, "Why would we want a diner museum in Worcester?" Daniel has all the original office furniture of Mr. Van Slett, who bought the Worcester Lunch Car company. He would love to recreate his office here in Worcester where it was originally. Hopefully, someone will come forward to make that a reality.

Virginia Ryan-Worcester

American Diner Museum

P.O.Box 6022 Providence, Rhode Island 02940, United States
WWW.AMERICANDINERMUSEUM.ORG - American Diner Museum a member of the New Hope Alliance is a Federally recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation and all donations may be tax deductible. The Museum will provide the necessary documentation for tax purposes. However, an appraisal of non monetary gifts will be the responsibility of the donor.