Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Thompson Grill

One of the items mentioned on the above page is the diner.  I could not see it, but in researching I found a photo of it in the below picture.  The above photo is a page (32) from the 1859-1959 Delmar Centennial Booklet 

Thompson Grill in Salisbury in December 23 1930.  This is a barrel roof Jerry O'Mahony Diner know as the Victory model it is ten foot wide and forty foot long. No they were not railroad dining cars.

Knowing the diner had a barrel roof, looking at the photo again and if you squint hard you can make out a barrel roof in the circled area. 

The Jerry O'Mahony Diner Car Company out of New Jersey was one of the largest diner car manufacturer for its period which was about 1917 to 1941.   A really good website on these diner cars is here;

the O'Mahony factory 

above 1938 ad where the English Grill replaced the old diner with a new Jerry O'Mahony Diner

So about Edward Thompson, his grill and the English grill;

Edward Lloyd Thompson (1899-1969) was born in Brooklyn New York, he seemed to have been a very creative and intelligence person, he was an amateur radio operator, and in the navy reserve,  he also ran a restaurant business.  He married Ethel Evelyn Wingate (1891-1985) in 1920 and they moved to Delmar.  About 1926 he purchased the diner car and had it shipped in by train to Delmar.  It was located where town hall is now. He ran the restaurant for a couple years here in Delmar, Maryland.  In 1930 he had Charles Marvel of Laurel move the diner car to Salisbury and placed it next to the "old” post office.  It was very successful.  It stayed open to 3 AM and caught the night trade and the drunks, in addition it was a Greyhound bus station so it caught the bus trade.   He added a brick and mortar dining room addition to restaurant in 1937.   In a family run restaurant business all the credit does not solely go to the husband, Ethel Thompson did her share in making the business successful.  In 1937 James B. English bought the restaurant and changed the name to the English Grill.   In 1938 Mr. English replaced the old diner car with a new larger Diner car. See ad above.  He shipped the old diner car to Ocean City, Baltimore Avenue Bay side.  In 1954 the new owners of that diner replaced it with a new diner.  They sold the old Thompson diner to a man in Dover and there the trail disappears. 


After 1938 Mr Thompson tried a number of ventures none were as successful as his Grill. In the second World War he was a Lt. Commander in the Navy.   The family eventually moved to Silver Springs, Md and then to Florida. After Edward died Ethel moved to Milford, Delaware where she would die in 1985.  They had a daughter Lucille Frances Thompson (1920-2007) who married Charles W. Cullen, son of George S. Cullen Washington DC in 1943. She was a 1938 Wicomico High School graduate.

Above from The evening Journal 14 March 1898

Ethel Evelyn Wingate was the daughter of Isaac Wingate and Achsah Emma Long Wingate.  Isaac Wingate died at age 30 in 1898 leaving his 24 year old wife (Achsah) and four children;  Ethel, Effie, John and Issac Howard.   The children seem to have placed with family members.  Achsal would remarry about 1900 to Daniel Henry White a farmer outside of Delmar and they would have one daughter Arabelle J. White.  He had a number of children from a previous marriage.  Arabelle would marry Frank Lynch of Delmar.  Daniel would die in 1935, Achsah would die in 1970. Achsah is a bible name and the name still occur.

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