Originally posted by Ort. Carlton.
One thing he ought to do, though, is to hunt down all the old Yalies (and other seniors who were in the area at the time) and see if anyone has first-hand memories of the place dating back aways.
Yeah, that'd probably be best -- though our own Mr. Hoffman seems to remember the story from before then so that's good enough for me. I'm surprised, though, that nobody's dragged up anything from the Yale Daily News or another campus publication from before then. It seems like the kind of story that would spread like crazy around a college (especially in the Yale campus culture, which in my experience tends to have a preoccupation with superlatives.) Maybe the researchers haven't put that much effort into looking for an earlier reference since the historical record seems to pretty clearly suggest hamburgers came from somewhere else -- I dunno. It'd still be interesting to know, though, how long the Louis' legend has been around.
Texas lawmaker or no, I still side with New Haven
I have a hard time with the New Haven story, just because there are so many printed references to hamburger sandwiches from the early 1890s while Louis' uses a date of 1900. That doesn't reflect on my feelings for their burgers though -- they're pretty good, even if they are snotty about ketchup. And it doesn't mean I support the Texas story either; I just can't disprove it as easily. I suspect the hamburger was developed independently in several places, and thus trying to establish where the "first" came from is probably a fool's errand.
This whole story, I think, underscores the danger of relying on "common knowledge." Michael H. remembers Louis' having been locally known as the birthplace of the hamburger before the 1974 relocation debate. He's never steered me wrong before so I have no reason to doubt his memory. But good stories tend to take on a life of their own even if they aren't founded on the truth and the printed record is pretty clear - other places were serving hamburger sandwiches before 1900. So we have to doubt the local story (or suspect the Lassens just got the date wrong, which is possible but IMO unlikely since you'd think they'd be very careful about pinning down such an important event.)
It also underscores the importance of documenting these stories so they don't die with the old-timers; even if the stories don't check out after one does some more research, they're still interesting and knowing how long they've been around helps future researchers trace the growth of the legends. At the end of the day we need to rely on the printed documentation over the stories, though. Otherwise we'd all have to believe my ex-girlfriend's landlord when he told her she lived in the building where Charles Goodyear invented vulcanization (she didn't) or the legends at every college that the dorms were based on a rejected design for a prison and the library's sinking because they didn't allow for the weight of the books or even acknowledge Gary, Indiana as the birthplace of pizza. :) Obviously, we can't count on local governments to come up with the right story as they have their own agenda. So we have to rely on the printed record, even if it suggests the story we want to believe is not what actually happened.
P. S. I once knew that Mrs. Frisbie's Pies was spelled that way, but I had forgotten it over the years.
The bakery shut down years ago, but the building was still there in Bridgeport down by the dog track until recently (I think the last time I passed through that area it had been torn down but I'm not positive.) Table Talk, I think, ended up buying the name so you can still buy Frisbie's pies, but now they make 'em in Worcester, Mass.
P. P. S. Oh, and by the way, I invented the wheel.
How do you feel about those Geico ads? :)
Originally posted by Michael Hoffman
That's all fine and dandy, but they never built any medical complex at the site of Louis Lunch, although they did move the building a little way up the street.
This article (http://www.louislunch.com/register_small.jpg
) puts the old location at Temple and George. Two of those corners are currently occupied by the Paul Rudolph garage which dates to 1962. That leaves two corners it could've been on if the article is correct and I'm having a hard time picturing them in my head -- do you remember which corner the old store was on (and maybe what they did end up putting there?) That's assuming the article's right, of course.