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Diners & Drive-Ins

Stylized Diners and Drive-Ins Mural

Drive-ins were the forerunners of modern drive-thru windows, but they were much more fun! You’d back your carload of friends into a parking space, order from a “carhop” who’d bring your burgers out on a big tray that hooked onto the driver’s window, then everyone passed around the food!

Of course, half the fun was honking & waving to classmates, hopping in & out of friends’ cars, driving ‘round & ‘round the parking lot, getting into mischief, and generally feeling cool!

The first drive-ins opened in response to Americans’ desire for speed and efficiency. Customers wanted quick service, so carhops—sometimes on roller skates—had to take and deliver food orders as quickly as possible. By the 1950s, drive-in owners had speakers that enabled parked customers to call in their orders. By then, drive-ins had become a hub of social activity, especially for local teens. Many dates in the 1950s & 60s consisted of a trip to and cruise around the drive-in. The drive-in was also the place to show off your car!

The first drive-in is credited to J.G. Kirby, who opened a barbeque called the Pig Stand on the Dallas-Fort Worth Highway in 1921.  The idea took off and continued to grow, reaching the height of popularity after World War Two: just when Americans fell in love with big, fast, chrome-laden cars.

Butler had its fair share of diners & drive-in restaurants. Spiro Keffalas opened diners on Route 8 south and north of Butler. The Terrace Drive-in was on Route 8 South, and a favorite on Route 8 North was “Chicken in a Basket.” These popular places did great business because Spiro offered good food at a reasonable price and was an excellent host. 

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Mural Details

Artist

Andrew Patrick Henry

Sponsor

Dr. George Lloyd, MD, FASAM

Location

117 S McKean St, Butler, PA

The A & W Root Beer stand was on New Castle Road, across from today’s Advanced Auto Parts Store. Jim and Ann Geibel owned the stand and later sold the building to Burger Chef.

 

Bill Morgan started his Diner and Drive-in businesses in 1953 with the purchase of Dight’s Diner on S. Washington Street. He then built the Morgan’s Wonder Boy Drive-in at Bon Aire which had the first “Teletray Curb Service” in Pennsylvania. Another Morgan's Wonder-Boy opened on North Main Street Extension in 1966.  These drive-ins employed many local people and were a great place to hang out, grab some food, and listen to music.

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