This is a sad story with a bonus history lesson. My boss and I had a lovely "working lunch" at Olympia Cafe. Good food, great conversation, and we felt like we had accomplished a lot regarding an upcoming project. Then we went outside and my boss' SUV was gone. We checked to make sure it hadn't been towed (we were parked in the parking lot and had only been there an hour). It hadn't - so we called the non-emergency APD line and got the runaround. Then we tried again and got a lovely message to leave a message and we would be responded to within 24-48 hours. Yeah, not ideal. I called my husband to pick us up so we could head back to work.

Heading towards work I noticed the little substation at Central and Monte Vista. I'd noticed it before (we live in Nob Hill) but hadn't paid it much mind as we'd never needed it before. So we parked and headed in. To my surprise it was decked out like a 50s diner!


We were helped by a very efficient and compassionate Community Service Aide who took my boss' info, entered a report, and got the car listed on a national stolen car database - total time in was about a half hour. No 48 hour waits here!! And we got to sit on cushioned stools at the diner counter - no waiting in the cold for the police or sitting in an uncomfortable office chair. It was a totally pleasant experience in the middle of a totally crappy situation.

I took a few more pictures:

Loved this sign!

A reproduction of an advertisement for these type of buildings.

After I got home I did a little web research about these manufactured buildings. Valentine's Diners were build in Wichita, KS and shipped all over the country. The "insta-diner" concept was totally unique at the time and a great way so someone with a dream and a little cash to open their own restaurant. The one that is now the substation was originally called the Little House Diner and was owned by Joe and Della Hernandez, who operated the diner from 1942 to 1992 on the corner of Eighth and Central. They donated the diner to the Albuquerque Museum and it was moved in 1997 to be used as a substation.

Some owners paid for their diners in installments. The diner owner would put the loan payment in here, and a Valentine rep would stop in and collect the money.


I'm thinking only in Albuquerque has a diner been turned into a police substation - and it's just another reason to love this quirky city! No word on the car yet, we're just hoping it turns up!

Views: 65

Tags: Community, Substation, Triange, apd, car, police, stolen, substation

Comment by Raine K. on February 4, 2010 at 9:06pm
Thanks everyone for the nice comments, the SUV is still not found. We're thinking it's probably not going to be found :(
Comment by Stephanie James on February 5, 2010 at 9:21am
Thanks for sharing!
Comment by Lauren on February 6, 2010 at 8:36pm
Funny....I was just reading the "transplant" article and someone had commented about the crime in this city. Sorry to hear about your car.....I have never lived in a place with the amount of crime ABQ has.
Comment by Raine K. on February 7, 2010 at 10:47am
You know, I have to disagree about the crime thing. I've lived in Dallas, Seattle, New Orleans and Dayton, OH since 2000 - and with the exception of Seattle all of them have worse or very similar crime statistics (Seattle has less violent crimes, but more property crimes) than Albuquerque per capita. I do think Albuquerque's crime is more spread out, ie. you can live in any neighborhood and be a victim of a crime. Dallas and New Orleans have exceptionally, notoriously "bad" parts of town where most of the crime is localized. And Seattle and Dayton have the same to a lesser extent.
Comment by ABQSkippy on February 8, 2010 at 4:31pm
But, Raine, that doesn't follow the narrative that the city is a VERY scary place.

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