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Historic Camden: Yorkie's Diner

Jan 27, 2013
Courtesy of: Camden Public Library

Yorkie's Diner — "Where you can get the best food on the Maine coast" — was located at 44 Chestnut St.

Erskine York was born in Rockland in 1892. He began a career as "Yorkie the Clown" in 1926 and worked with Charlie Sparks Circus, Cole Brothers Circus and Ringling Brothers-Barnham and Bailey Circus, among others. He went into the restaurant business in Camden in 1944 but continued to make appearances as a clown at parades and other local events. He was known as a delightful and colorful character and storyteller.

Yorkie ran a hot dog stand on Elm Street before opening a restaurant on Chestnut Street, which became quite a destination. The diner's walls were covered with autographed photos of famous entertainers and from "Peyton Place," which was filmed in Camden in 1957. He published a cookbook of recipes from the diner. In 1958, he sold the Camden restaurant and moved to Camden Road — Route 1 — in Rockport, where he continued to run a hot dog and hamburger stand. He died on Oct. 16, 1966, and according to his obituary, on Oct. 18, "in respect to Yorkie's memory all business in Camden's Main Street observed half hour cessation from 2 to 2:30."

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Comments (4)
Posted by: Ragna Weaver | Jan 28, 2013 17:06

That was the best restaurant to eat at. I have the cookbook, & every recipe

never fails. Should be part of every kitchen.

Posted by: Wilber Eugene Roman Sr. | Jan 28, 2013 07:30

I was in a local band back then playing a gig at the YMCA next to Yorkies.During the break we decided to go to Yorkies for something to eat.It was funny,my band consisted of Chris Rogers ( drummer / vocal... still drumming today),Dicky Winchenbaugh Rythm guitar / vocal ,myself Bill Roman Bass guitar.I had been part of several groups then that I forget who the lead/vocal was at that time.Being kids  and the dancing audience also being kids Ole Yorky saw us coming and actually opened the door for us and closed it after from the stampede of screaming and yelling kids that followed.I never forgot that time and Yorky laughing as he did it.......nice memory


Posted by: David & Becky Gibbs | Jan 27, 2013 18:29

I certainly remember "Yorkie the Clown"!  He was such a funny & kindhearted man....surely missed by many!  I worked at Yorkies when the Koelle's owned it, (not sure of the spelling of their last name).  It was very sad when they demolished Yorkies....yet another landmark gone. 

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jan 27, 2013 15:36

Remembered for always having a warm smile and a kind word. People like "Yorkie" make a difference in this ol' world. :)

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