Moondance Diner; The Encore!

Project Moondance Diner was interrupted last week after accumulated snow damage became too much weight for the walls of the near century old building. Just as we begun the project with passion and good intentions, Vince and I continue to look forward to the completed project. Our general contractor, Donald Hacklin (Hack’s construction) and his faithful crew Larry Stepp and Rowdy Hedrick were inside the Diner last week working when the roof came down; an experience they will not forget. Shaken but uninjured; the team enthusiastically shares our “keep on movin’ on” attitude towards the final project: Moondance Diner. We had planned on craning the Diner over to its new foundation and permament dwelling and as it so happens we will be sectioning the Diner and moving it accordingly. Our original plan to ensure that as many of the original materials and structure of the Diner be preserved still holds true. We have been storing much of those materials the past couple of months (including stools, some appliances, memorabilia, chairs and the sign)  while the excavation for the foundation and setting forms have taken place. We were well aware of the possiblity that the “wooden” structure of the walls may not have the integrity to withstand the rennovation process…. yet it was Wyoming weather that was the force to be reckoned with. Since the damage last Thursday, team Moondance has begun the necessary task of removing the metal window frames, the stainless steel upon the false front, the south wall (which includes 2 of the unbroken windows we hope to salvage and reinstall in the rennovated structure), some of the pleated stainless steel on the interior and the remaining steel on the rear of the Diner (still showcasing the first layer of New York graphiti). We have decided to re-install some features of Moondance Diner that were an integral part of it’s history at some point… including the skylights (a classic feature of Tierney and O’Mahoney Diners). Locating the skylight on Moondance was considered yet the difficulty of fashioning it out of the existing roof could have proven to be quite difficult. Replacing the tar-ridden barrel roof will not only satisfy Wyoming building and safety codes; it will allow us to include the skylight almost seamlessly. We have researched Diners and the “Lunch Wagon” and have seen the skeletal blueprints of the signature barrel roof. It is quite a process but will be well worth it. There was once a door on the South side of the Diner that we will include again. Patrons can access the Diner directly from our outdoor patio area. We have plans to include some of the exterior siding fashioned with New York graphiti in a most creative way in the Diner interior.  After segmenting, sorting, and storing the materials for future use; team Moondance should have some signifcant progress at 584 S. Main. The forms are ready for the remaining concrete and we are working on scheduling electrical lines to be dug and ran to the location (weather permitting ofcourse). We have spoken via e-mail with Frederic Schwartz, the renouned architect from Manhattan and he has indicated he may be by for a visit this spring. His support is truly an honor and we are anxious to welcome him to Wyoming. I have also had a brief and interesting phone conversation with Jim Rogers (the brilliance behind the face of Moondance Diner… he designed, built and installed probably one of the most recognizable features of the Diner; the grandiose sign with the revolving moon.) It was like visiting with an old friend and he has offered his assistance with replacement of the flickers (the tiny metal sequins surrounding the letters) as well as help with fine-tuning the motor that rotates the moon. We are keeping the “positive” flame lit for this project and appreciate all those who have called or e-mailed us with kind words of encouragement. As first time Diner Dreamers, Vince and I are learning that success is also a process; not a shiny trophy, metal or ribbon of accomplishment. There is no failure in our love and committment for Moondance Diner; failure would mean having fallen without getting back up. Experience Moondance magic all over again…the encore to come this spring.

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