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!