The adventure below is the latest in a series sharing my quest to explore Pennsylvania by visiting each of the sixty-seven county seats and eating a hot dog while in town.
We headed up to Bradford County to check off our second county on Route 6. Bradford County was created on February 21, 1810, from parts of Lycoming and Luzerne Counties. The northern border of Bradford County is the New York State Line. Originally called Ontario County, it was reorganized and separated from Lycoming County on October 13, 1812, and renamed Bradford County for William Bradford who had been a chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the second United States Attorney General. I found the following tidbit to be very interesting. On August 2, 1791 Bradford represented General William West and argued the first recorded case before the U.S. Supreme Court, West vs Barnes. Bradford lost the decision. Note: he lost the decision. Twenty days later on August 22, 1791, Bradford was appointed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. After losing the first case argued before the United States Supreme Court William Bradford was appointed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. It must be true that success comes not from what you know but who you know!
Our destination on this day was the County Seat, Towanda which means “burial ground” in the Algonquian language. I have to leave that one alone! We stopped at The County Peddler (a familiar shopping spot) and snapped a photo of the courthouse (that’s My Jane standing in front of the statues) but the real treat of the day occurred when we stopped for the hot dog at the ‘Living Museum’ that is the Red Rose Diner.
The Red Rose Diner was built as rail car #1215 at New Rochelle, New York in 1927 . To give a little time perspective; Calvin Coolidge was the President of The United States and Charles Lindbergh made the first non-stop Atlantic solo flight in The Spirit of Saint Louis that year.
The Diner got it’s start in the food business as the Lackawanna Trail Diner in Stroudsburg, PA. It was moved to Lancaster, where it was re-named ‘The Red Rose Diner’ before making the journey to Towanda approximately ten years ago. The diner is the first to entice women customers. The phrase, “Ladies Invited” is printed on the sides of the diner and little tables were added for their comfort. Stained glass windows were install to give the lady’s privacy from ogling passers-by.
Betty has been cooking and serving up hot food at the diner for ten years. She has been in the restaurant business for fifty years, once owning a restaurant across the river in Wysox. Her goal is to never retire from the restaurant business. The French Fries started as whole potatoes which Betty cut and fried just the way I like them. I ate half of My Jane’s quarter pound Nathan’s hot dog while she ate a piece of her favorite Rhubarb pie.
The old-fashioned phone on the wall is a working pay phone and the prices on the menu board are reminders of days gone by. Listed under sandwiches are: Western 20 cents, Fried Ham 15 cents, and listed under ‘to order’ are: Cheese Omelet 35 cents, Bacon and Eggs 40 cents and Sirloin Steak 45 cents.
Eating a hot dog was never so much fun. The next time you feel like taking a nostalgic journey tool on up to Towanda and The Red Rose Diner. You will be glad you did.
On the way back home we stopped at the Marie Antoinette Over Look to view the spot where French refugees established a colony named Azilum in 1793. It is believed the French Loyalists hoped Marie Antoinette would be able to ‘eat cake’ with them in this new community. She, of course, never arrived here having lost her head over the French Revolution.
We spent some time exploring the little community of Wyalusing looking for quilt squares on buildings. The quilt squares symbolize something important or special to the family who owns the building.
See you next time.