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End Of An Era: Salem Diner Closes Friday After 78 Years

SALEM (CBS) -- It's last call for the historic Salem Diner. On Friday, the restaurant housed inside a streamliner will shut down for good.

It's played host to actors, dignitaries, and even Red Sox legends like Johnny Pesky. But customers said it's the regulars that helped create a special place on the North Shore.

Rory Raven, who lives nearby, said he's really sad to see it go. He said, "It's a great place and there aren't a lot of places like this left."

The building was assembled piece by piece on a wedge of land between Salem's Loring Avenue and Canal Street in 1941. It's sat on that exact location for the last 78 years.

SALEM diner

Marblehead native John Gilbert Ray III said, "I remember coming here as a little kid and it was a big treat." Nowadays, he said he comes to enjoy the community.

The restaurant is just one of two streamliner diners left in New England. That's a fact that has landed it on the National Registry of Historic Places. It was purchased by Salem State six years ago. The university has run it through campus food services but says the expense has become too much, which is forcing the school to shut it down.

On Thursday, regulars came in to get their favorite meals and say goodbye to employees who have become friends.

Deb Small has been coming to the diner for 20 years. "Wonderful memories and wonderful BLTs, and like I said, the people here are fantastic. They are so friendly. They made us feel like we are part of the family," she said.

Salem State has put the diner up for sale. They are hoping someone will purchase the streamliner and move it to a new location.

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