Boyertown Museum Unveils Its Restored Fegley Diner

BOYERTOWN PA – Fegley’s Reading Diner, which was cocooned inside the former Fegley Family Restaurant in Exeter PA for more than 50 years, has been restored and on May 19 (2011) will become the newest exhibit to open at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles, 85 S. Walnut St., Boyertown PA.

The Fegley Reading Diner in some of its past glory

The exhibit’s grand opening will be accompanied by an invitation-only celebration involving museum members and patrons, local dignitaries, and representatives of the non-profit Archbury Foundation, which saved the diner from demolition in 2003. The Victory Bank of Limerick is sponsoring the event.

The diner is a 1938 Jerry O’Mahony Monach model built in Elizabeth NJ. In 1950, owner Howard Fegely moved it from one side of U.S. Route 422 in Exeter to the other, and built a new restaurant as a shell surrounding the original vehicle. The restaurant closed in 2003, but the foundation – which is dedicated to “preserving and presenting the American Experience 1935-1945” – intervened and purchased the diner.

The museum received it as a donation in August 2009. Its renovation and extensive cleaning, begun earlier, has taken about 30 months. Now it’s ready for permanent display, museum Curator Kendra Cook said.

The May 19 celebration at 7 p.m., exactly eight years after the restaurant closed, will feature a short program to thank those who made its rescue and renovation possible, Cook added. They include contractors and companies who donated time and supplies for the project, as well as contributing museum and foundation volunteers who contributed.

While the diner itself will no longer operate as a restaurant, its typical diner fare – such as pie and ice cream – will be served in the museum lobby for refreshments.  Historic photos will showcase its history, and diner merchandise will be available for purchase in the museum gift shop at reduced prices.

The exhibit will open to the general public May 21 (2011; Saturday) as part of the museum’s admission fee. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; it is closed Mondays.

The museum intends to preserve the transportation history of southeastern Pennsylvania, and displays more than 80 locally manufactured cars, trucks, carriages, motorcycles, sleighs, and other types of vehicles.  Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for students age 5 and older; those younger than 5 are admitted free. For more information, call 610-367-2090.