An Abandoned 1950s Diner In Indiana
In Clarks Hill, Indiana at the southeast corner of Tippecanoe County off of U.S. 52 sits the rusting remains of what was once a landmark diner in the area.
According to the Historic America Buildings Survey and J&C Archives, the diner was built in the early 1950s, and brought to its location in 1952 by way of rail. It was delivered in two separate units, which were then pieced together and remodeled on the site by the diner’s original owner, Mr. Rackly. The original structure housed the kitchen and restrooms, but in 1953 the dining room addition was added.
When it opened in 1953, the diner was called the Rose Haven Diner, but would go through many new owners and name changes over the years, including Shirley’s Restaurant, Country Crossroads, Alexander’s Sit-n-Bull Café, U.S. 52 Diner, Duck-In Diner and Flo’s Roadside Diner. Of all of these names, the diner had become most popularly known, at least locally, as the Duck-In Diner.
The historic diner was manufactured by Mountain View Diners, a company based out of Singac, New Jersey. The company had produced more than 400 prefabricated diners between 1938 and 1957, with this particular diner’s serial number being 420.
In the early years, the diner had become a well-known local spot for families to get together and have a meal. Being surrounded mostly by farms, there wasn’t much else in town, but everyone was close-knit and things were comfortable. It was a true small town diner.
During the 1980s, they would serve many of the railroad workers who would stay at the Lincoln Lodge, which was right behind the diner.
Former owners Bill Eubanks and Sandra Logan had closed the diner for the first time in 1999. At this time, it was known as the Duck-In Diner.
Last operating as Flo’s Roadside Diner, it has sat empty now for the past decade after closing for the final time around 2010.
The diner is now owned by J&J Food Mart, who since 2018 has been tossing around plans to build a gas station on the property. It had been expected that the project would be finished by the end of 2020, but as of 2021, still nothing has happened.
In October 2019, an SUV traveling northbound lost control and crashed into the side of the diner, leaving a large hole in the wall. The SUV was driven by 24-year-old Kiersti Sickbert, who was traveling with her family to celebrate her son’s birthday in Lafayatte. The crash was caused by a careless driver entering from Indiana 28, pulling in front of Sickbert’s SUV, forcing her to swerve out of their way, sending her into a ditch, which launched her into the air, across the lot, and finally into the sidewall of the diner.
Thanks for checking out Architectural Afterlife! If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy checking out these other abandoned or historic places in Indiana.