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Property Lines - Scott Olson

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Real Estate & Retail

Indiana Landmarks adds diner to threatened list

May 5, 2010

Plainfield DinerThe 1950s-era Plainfield Diner at right has made the newest list of the 10 Most Endangered Indiana Landmarks. The diner, which closed in 2009, is one of five new buildings on the list. Bush Stadium remains on the annual list compiled by the not-for-profit Indiana Landmarks organization. The full list is here. Here's more on the Plainfield Diner from Indiana Landmarks:

In the mid-twentieth century, 5,000 roadside diners were favored stops for blue-highway motorists. Now diners represent a dying breed of landmark, rendered obsolete by fast-food chains, urban sprawl, and interstates. So when the Plainfield Diner closed in 2009, a preservation alarm sounded.

The Plainfield Diner on the town’s Main Street has served guests at a neighboring motel and motorists traveling the National Road (U.S. 40) since 1954, when it was manufactured in New Jersey and transported by rail to Indiana. The diner’s Streamline Moderne-style, coffee cup sign and pink tile interior created a setting inspired by speed and the motor age. Especially popular in the 1940s and 1950s, diners drew patrons looking for convenient, made-to-order food—hot breakfasts, tenderloin sandwiches, chili platters, and steaming coffee—at cheap prices.

The Plainfield Health Department closed the restaurant last summer, citing structural deterioration. The landmark sits on a sprawl-afflicted section of the National Road at Ronald Reagan Parkway where the land is more valuable than the structure. Financially unable to repair the diner, the owner has listed it for sale at a price based on the land value—far too high for anyone interested in keeping the site as a diner. Many people in the Plainfield and the preservation community recognize the diner’s rarity and want to save it.

Any ideas on how to save the diner?

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