The Rosedale Diner became famous after it was abandoned off a state highway in southern Pennsylvania, and a photograph of it was used for the cover photograph of Hall & Oates’ second album. Abandoned Luncheonette was modestly successful, but its single, “She’s Gone,” was a local favorite which received substantial airplay on KQRS at the time — this is why you’ll see so many copies of this album in the Twin Cities still today.
Like any abandoned structure in the woods, the empty diner was probably a pain in the ass for local authorities. Besides a stream of souvenir collectors, there were surely local teenagers who visited the chrome-clad car. It was burned to the ground in 1983 and the vacant land developed. You can see all kinds of pictures and read the history of the Rosedale Diner here.
During the years the Rosedale Diner went from being an abandoned luncheonette to a famous abandoned luncheonette, Hall & Oates hit their stride. A cover of “She’s Gone” by the Tavarres topped the R&B chart, and the duo left Atlantic for a more successful run of albums with RCA, leading to their first #1 single of their own (“Rich Girl”). The years after were a lot like most of the love stories in their songs: a little up and down, but always pretty good.
If you’ve visited your friendly neighborhood record shop from the St. Paul side of town, you’ve driven past the Hi-Lo Diner. They’re due to open soon — follow them on Facebook and you’ll be the first of your friends to know! Turns out its not the fabled abandoned luncheonette, but another Pennsylvania relic, this one from Gibsonia on the western side of the state. It was formerly the Fodero Diner, and was moved here last fall (you can watch footage of it being lowered into place here).
We are more than a little excited about this new addition to the neighborhood!