Boston & Albany Railroad ~ Quick Lunch Car
Courtesy: Oct. 12, 1917 Fire......Westborough Historical Commission
The smoke continues to rise from the Oct. 12, 1917, fire that destroyed the Westborough Trunk & Bag Co. (formerly the National Straw Works), the Hassle Lace and Curtain Co. and the residence of George Barnard (formerly the Westborough Inn). Flames then leaped over Union St. and destroyed the Staples Block, leaving nothing but ashes and rubble on East Main Street.
Although firefighters from surrounding communities as well as Worcester and Framingham responded to the scene they were only able to stop the conflagration from spreading across East Main Street then to High and Summer streets. If not for a deluge of rain and shifting winds, the entire downtown may have burned to the ground.
In this Bower photo is the Quick Lunch car built by the Worcester Lunch Car Co. and like many others was owned by the Boston & Albany Railroad. The cars were located near a retail, business district or busy railroad crossing and were the forerunner of the Worcester City Diners. The car appeared in downtown Westborough as early as 1911 and is photographed at the railroad siding on East Main Street. When the massive fire broke out, the car was moved from its location between the Staples block and the railroad spur and returned after the fire to resume business.
Westborough’s Quick Lunch Car
The etched glass windows were the trademark of the Worcester Lunch Car Co. (est. 1906). The car had a kitchen area with a take-out window to the left separated on the inside by a bar with stools and a small dinning area. The sliding entry door in the middle of the car allowed patrons to enter and sit at the bar or a table. The car was open for business every day and early evening hours and offered sandwiches, eggs, coffee, milk, pie and cigars. As part of the downtown redevelopment program in 1930, the railroad was asked to remove the aging lunch car to make way for redevelopment. Although the car is long gone, the site later became that of Dacey’s Diner. References: Worcester Lunch Car Co. Richard Gutman, Westborough Chronotype.