Blue Plate Special - January 24, 2014
Q: From the late 1930s through the mid-1970s, a Wichita company manufactured thousands of these buildings and shipped them all across the country. Many of these buildings are still in use today. Tell us WHAT these buildings are… and give us the NAME of the company that built them.
(Hint: We would love to get an answer before Feb. 14!)
Taken from a late 1950s catalog for Valentine Manufacturing, Inc. These diners were manufactured in Wichita from the late 1930s to the mid-1970s. You may still have one of these in a local community near you! (Image via Kansas Historical Society)
A: diners / Valentine Diners (or Valentine Manufacturing, Inc.)
Many Valentine Diners are still in use today, including Dot's diner, now located in Shady Dell RV Park in Bisbee, Ariz. (Flickr Photo by Dennis Larson)
Made in Wichita and shipped all over the country, Valentine Diners were small pre-fabricated buildings that were ideal for small business owners. Seating eight to 12 people, these tiny diners were usually shaped like small boxes (or A-frame houses) and could be shipped and set up to operate almost anywhere. Founded by Arthur Valentine, Valentine Manufacturing, Inc., made these little eateries from the late 1930s to the mid-1970s in Wichita. A person with very little capital could purchase a Valentine Diner on credit and pay for the building over time, as the restaurant made money. Business owners and the public loved them, which is why many are still in use today, all across the country, either as diners or as other businesses. Visit the Kansas Historical Society to learn even more.