‘Paradise Diner’ by Chuck Parrott (1995)

In 1995, the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, published Lowell Then and Now: Restoring the Legacy of a Mill City by Charles Parrott, longtime historic architect at the LHPC and then Lowell National Historical Park, with contemporary photographs by Gretchen Sanders Joy, a planner at the LHPC.—PM


“Sometime prior to 1936, the Paradise Diner opened its front door on busy Bridge Street. The flat ground on which it stands was created in 1926, when the south wall of the Eastern Canal across from the Boott Mills was raised several feet, eliminating the previously sloping bank. The peculiar American phenomenon of the diner was a common sight along Lowell’s streets in the early twentieth century, as they were around the country, particularly in northeastern cities. A few survive in the city today, but the presence of the Paradise beside the looming Boott Mills especially recalls the day when the workingman’s eatery, often open around the clock, was an important adjunct to life in an industrial city.”

The Paradise is a Worcester Lunch Car. Web photo courtesy of 61.thriftpower.com