Artifact Spotlight: Blue Top Lunch Wagon

Thanks to a successful fundraising campaign, the BMI was able to repaint this one-of-a-kind artifact.

Like most objects in the BMI’s collection, the Blue Top lunch wagon has a unique Baltimore story.

For many years, the Blue Top Diner was a popular hangout for neighbors, truck drivers, and politicians in the Canton area, and eventually served as the inspiration for Barry Levinson’s 1982 film Diner.

Though the diner itself had limited seating, owner Bill Tangires also operated a sizeable fleet of branded lunch wagons. These mobile kitchens served Blue Top fare to hundreds of hungry workers at factories and construction sites each day.

When the Blue Top went out of business in 1987, Tangires donated one of his lunch wagons to the BMI and it has been a popular part of the museum campus ever since.

Located next to the newly restored Bethlehem Steel shipyard crane and updated waterfront terrace, the Blue Top lunch wagon is a reminder of the important role that family-owned businesses play in our region’s economy.

Come see for yourself how these improvements have beautified the BMI’s waterfront campus and helped preserve Baltimore’s industrial past for future generations.

Thank you for this announcement! I got a sneak preview from Jane. Our family is excited to see the lunch wagon back in its original colors. We’ll look forward to seeing it!Helen Tangires

Thank You to the community members whose support made this restoration possible.

Baltimore Washington Chapter,
  American Truck Historical Society (ATHS)
Karl Briers
Caroline Jill Morrel Coleman,
  In Honor of J.S. Morrel inventor of TCAS 
Dale Croston
Mary Alice Furman

Howard & Cheryl Johnson
Julia Johnson
Ken Jones
Connie & Ed Matricardi
Earl Medlin
Cynthia Pyle & Scott Roper
Thomas & Sue Rinker

Elizabeth Shively
Helen Tangires
John Vannatta
Jesse W. Walter, Jr.
Robert Webber
Michael & Mary Wojnowski
John Worth

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