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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The "The Cool Town With A History: Part VII - The Empty Space Known As Bingy's" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Heading back to my car after an hour or so of walking around the town of Lititz, PA, taking photographs of many of the historical buildings for my multi-part story on Lancaster County's "Coolest Small Town in America".  As I stood at the entrance to Lititz Springs Park, looking east, I held up my camera to my eye to take a photo of the Parkview Hotel.  What a great name for a building directly across from the park I thought; then I heard the voices from behind me.  "Whatcha taking photos for?" was the first question.  I turned to see these two "oldtimers" who where standing nearby, watching intently.   I walked over to tell them why I had just spent the last hour taking photos of their town.  "We saw you!" the other one said to me.  Seems these two gentlemen, whom I never got names to go with their faces, were watching me as much as I was taking photos.  We talked about the restaurant/hotel, the General Sutter, on the corner across the street,  the park behind us and the Moravian Square where they were members of the Moravian Church.  But, the thing they wanted to talk to me about was the one photo I wasn't going to be able to take today.  
Bingeman's Restaurant on Broad Street in Lititz, PA.
That was a photograph of Bingeman's Restaurant, Bingy's to them, which stood next to the Parkview Hotel to the north, along Broad Street.  Restaurant was first called Colin's, then Lane's and then Weaver's.  Eventually both the restaurant and an auto store were torn down, leaving a big hole between the Parkview and the railroad tracks that are still in place.  "Bingy" was actually Lester Bingeman who was the owner, with his wife Mary, of Bingeman's Restaurant.  
Photo I found of the counter in Bingeman's Restaurant.
They took over the restaurant in the early 1960s and made it the place to go for breakfast.  Creamed chip beef and coffee to start the day with the Chicken pot pie or the "soup of the day" were big favorites for lunch according to my new tour guides.  It was the best place to get a "home-cooked" meal in Lititz with another favorite being the Oyster dinner.  They told me about the many characters, including the owner of the newspaper, who would meet there with them to talk about and make the news of the day.  They had heard talk recently about someone who may build in the empty space and open a new restaurant much like the one that closed 27 years ago.  I can't imagine how many residents, like these two oldtimers, would love to have a place along Broad Street where they could get a a cup of coffee in the morning and talk about the old guy who they saw taking photographs of their town one morning in order to write stories for something called a blog.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.   

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