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American City Diner

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1987, Kullman Industries. 5532 Connecticut Ave. NW
  • American City Diner (Franz Jantzen)

This shiny blue and silver aluminum, stainless steel, and glass-block diner incorporates features from 1940s diners originally made by Kullman Industries of Newark, New Jersey. In 1948 there were thirteen manufacturers of diners; in 1987 there were four. In hopes of reviving the diner, Kullman Industries put together the most striking and typical diner elements, relying principally on photographs of a 1945 classic design (for which the plans are lost) to make this prototype at a cost of $1 million. Curved corners of glass blocks and the curved aluminum cornice give a snug exterior appearance to a surprisingly large interior, measuring 1,800 square feet. To increase its “authentic” nostalgic ambiance, the billboard mural was painted from a photograph taken by Margaret Bourke-White in 1937 for Life magazine of a billboard in Louisville, Kentucky.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "American City Diner", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 378-378.

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