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The Silver Top Diner was built by Kullman Diner Company of Harrison, New Jersey, in 1937. At the height of its activity, the Silver Top was one of several small restaurants and one of only two dining cars flourishing amidst the then-vibrant industry of Harris Avenue and the nearby downtown. Open 24 hours a day, the diner catered to local factory workers who frequented its counter on their way home from the exhausting third shift. The sleek metal, glass, and chrome exterior featured a large neon sign on its roof advertising “infra-red broiling,” “air conditioning,” and “vaculator coffee.” Blue and white stripes adorned the lower exterior and matched the blue and white awnings, one of which still hung in 2000. Inside, powder blue tiles cover the base of the counter and extend onto the floor.

Industrial flight coupled with the waning urban population throughout the latter half of the twentieth century resulted in the diner’s gradual decay and the eventual sale of the underlying property by the City to make way for Providence Place Mall. In an effort to save the diner, PPS included it on the 2000 Most Endangered Properties list.

Any attempt to relocate the Silver Top Diner close to its original plot proved impossible due to encroaching developments associated with the mall, I-95, the Foundry redevelopment, and Harris Avenue residential projects. To the dismay of preservation enthusiasts, the lack of available and economically viable downtown locations forced the removal of the dining car to the intersection of Blake and Middle Streets in Pawtucket.

LOST: The diner has been moved out of Providence, a definite loss to historic Providence.

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© 2024 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved. Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.