Elmira in Chemung County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
A Brief History of the Elmira Popcorn Truck
Frank Romero, the man who made "the best popcorn in town," died at the age of 89, at the Veterans Medical Center, Bath, New York.
A native of Molochio, Italy, he came to this country in 1912 at the age of 17. He served in the military during World War I, and returned a disabled veteran.
He started his popcorn business in 1922 with a pushcart. In 1929, a local car dealer - Alart Chevrolet - furnished a 1929 Chevrolet truck chassis and a Mr. Cooper built the body by hand at his shop on the corner of seventh and Magee Streets, in Elmira. This unique vehicle, known as the "Red Wagon," served him until he retired in 1971.
Mr. Romeo operated the popcorn truck at North Main and Church Streets by Wisner Park from 1930 to 1971, using the income to support his family. He retired in 1971 and then advertised the truck for sale. Mr. Kenneth White of Bearsville, New York, purchased the truck and operated the truck for one year and then took it out of service. Mr. White owned the truck for 15 years. Mr. White sent a letter to the City of Elmira offering to donate the truck to the City, his offer went unabated.
In 1988, while working for the Elmira Downtown Development Agency, Amy Doud discovered a lost letter from Mr. Kenneth White expressing his interest in returning the Popcorn Truck to the City of Elmira.
The initial funding effort for the restoration of the truck was a block party in October 1988 in Midtown Plaza. Mrs. Romeo, wife of the original owner, signed popcorn boxes which were auctioned off.
Community members, organizations and businesses contributed time, money, materials and talent to ensure the truck would be restored to its original condition. The Popcorn Truck Preservation Society members spent countless hours repairing and restoring the truck to its original condition.
The completed restored Popcorn Truck made its debut at Arts in the Park in 1990.
The Popcorn Truck Preservation Society was formed to maintain and operate the truck and began its goal toward finding the Popcorn Truck a permanent home near its original location on North Main and Church Streets, Elmira, New York.
The Society made a presentation to the City of Elmira requesting approval of a site located in the east section of Wisner Park
Upon approval of the site location, the society constructed the Carriage House for the Popcorn Truck at no expense to the taxpayers. The building design blends in with the area's existing buildings and churches.
The local building trades supplied the talent and expertise of its members to construct the Carriage House. Local business, building contractors and many volunteers assisted in bringing the project to a successful completion.
Erected by Popcorn Truck Preservation Society.
Location. 42° 5.392′ N, 76° 48.467′ W. Marker is in Elmira, New York, in Chemung County. Marker is on West Church Street (State Highway 352). Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Elmira NY 14901, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Chemung County World War II Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); AFL-CIO Veterans Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Chemung County World War I Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Medal of Honor Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Chemung County Korea and Vietnam Monument Spanish War Veterans (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Crystal Eastman (about 400 feet away); Old Second Street Cemetery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Chemung Canal (approx. ¼ mile away); Ross Gilmore Marvin (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Elmira.
Also see . . . Elmira Popcorn Truck. (Submitted on November 3, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
Categories. • Roads & Vehicles •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 129 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.