We all know the 1910s Richfield gas station on Foothill Boulevard west of Archibald Avenue, which may be resurrected as a museum. You’d have to have lived here a lot longer to remember the old railroad car that rested in the lot next door.
It was camouflaged as a pseudo-respectable structure, as the photos show, but as the photo at bottom shows, there was a railroad car underneath.
It was operated as Dee’s Diner from 1959 to 1974, according to research by the diligent Kelly Zackmann of the Ontario library’s Model Colony History Room, and stood at 9656 Foothill. The dining car may have a longer history; the same address had the Milmar Drive-in in 1948 and Mil Mar Diner in 1951.
Lore has it that Dee’s can be seen in the 1974 B-movie “Big Bad Mama” with Angie Dickinson and William Shatner, or possibly the 1987 sequel. Both are available in full on YouTube (the links are embedded in the previous sentence) but I don’t have the patience to watch them. If you spot Dee’s, let us know where.
The photo above was contributed by Jane Vath O’Connell and the one below comes from Ed Dietl’s Images of Rancho Cucamonga book (but sent by Jane). The one at bottom, which would seem to show the arrival of the railroad car, came from the Ontario library via Dietl; it’s undated. Note the distinctive gas station’s garage in the background.
The car evidently still exists somewhere, I’m told, although the owner prefers anonymity. The lot next to the gas station is still vacant, but a commercial development is expected to break ground. I suspect it won’t include a restaurant in a beat-up railroad car.
If you remember anything about the diner, leave a comment, please!