WALT’S 42nd Street used to be on the south east side of St. Georges Ave in Linden. O’Keefe’s Miniature Golf was down the street toward Rahway from it and a golf driving range was behind Walt’s. Walt’s had great hot dogs and the best french fries (crinkle cut) that I have ever tasted!!!
The building and the surrounding dirt and gravel parking lot were around 3’ higher than the grade of the street. There wasn’t any curb for the entire width of the property so you could pull strait up to the building as shown in the painting/card. http://www.lloydgarrison.com/xmasgallery.htm
When leaving from the a front parking spot, you would back out as you do in a multi-lane parking lot and there was enough room to angle the car to enter oncoming traffic. Then St. George was widened and the exit turn became tighter.
The building size and shape are somewhat distorted in the painting/postcard. I think a little artistic license was used to fit Walt’s and The O’Keefe’s Miniature Golf sign onto the same canvas. If you looked at the building from across the street it looked more like this:
___________! Walt’s 42nd
!    ! [_______] [_______] [_______]]
Looking at the front, the left section was the dingy mortar covered cinder block wall bar. That’s why it’s brown colored in the painting. The bar was only about 3’ further out from the cooking area. It looked just like the area of foundation that is visible between the ground and the bottom of the house of so many homes. Unlike my attempt at a MS Word drawing the bar was square and not rectangular and there was a door in the center with one window on either side of it.
The right ¾ of the building was the cooking/serving area and was constructed of wood. Each of the the 3 wide openings could accommodate 6 or 7 adults standing side by side. The bottoms of the openings (Counter) were around 3.5’ above the concrete sidewalk. Those wide openings were covered by hinged panels of painted plywood that when open were latched to the ceiling of the overhang.
There were at least 20’ of grills in the front, 20’ of grills on the end, and 20’ of grills in the rear. All of them were flat steel grills. At any given time there would be 50 hot dogs in various states of doneness slowly grilling and being either flipped up to 10 at a time using long tongs, or turned (rolled) by the cooks/servers. When they were busy there were probably a few hundred dogs on the grills
The roof overhung the 7’ or 8’ deep concrete sidewalk that ringed the open-air cooking/serving area. By open air I mean that when you stood at any of the wide openings in the front, right end, or rear you could see through the building, there were no windows or screens. The painting shows the upper façade where the painted words and pictures of hot dogs and hamburgers were located vertically even with the lower exterior of the cooking/serving area. Those sections were temporary and were removed when warmer weather arrived.
This photo is from 1947 and shows Walt’s at the lower center, the intersection of St. George and Stiles St at the top and the trailer park at the lower left.
This is Walt’s and O’Keefe’s Miniature Golf at it’s original location in 1963: This is Walt’s and O’Keefe’s Miniature Golf in 1966 after O’Keefe’s moved closer to Walt’s:
This is Walt's in 1957. You can tell by the building shadows that its mid morning:
I have a lot more photos that show the development in that area from 1931 to 2006. You can get these for yourselves by going to: http://www.historicaerials.com/default.aspx
They sold the property and the first Pathmark in the area replaced it. The miniature golf course became parking lot and the driving range turned industrial. A very small Walt’s that had one of the original signs was built on the other side of the street near the White Diamond that was further down St. George toward Elizabeth in one of the used car lots on the Linden side of St George. I went there a couple of times but since there was only on street parking and the very small building was located at the rear of the lot, it was inconvenient. I believe it closed in less than a year.
At that time the White Diamond was located on the Cranford/Roselle side of St. George and was surrounded by a huge dirt parking lot. It was subsequently moved to the other side of the street to a smaller property.
When they were closing the original Walt’s I bought a dozen small beer glasses for a buck.
That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
The existing former location of Walt's can be viewed at the earlier post. Walt's was near the street in the large parking lot in the center of that satellite photo and the existing building is where the raised berm on which the golf tees for the golf driving range were located. O’Keefe’s Miniature Golf was located at the lower left of the parking lot.
A funny thing about that painting/card is that my first car was a Chevy Orange ’57 Chevy Sport Coupe and I probably parked at or near that spot on many occasions before I got drafted in “68. Except for the wheels it looked just like this: http://www.allposters.com/gallery.asp?aid=1027123476&apnum=3490719&DestType=7
<message edited by Food_Fan on Mon, 02/16/09 7:47 PM>