The “Steaming Tender ” restaurant is situated in a 19th century romanesque style train station. Owners Blake & Robin Lamothe have been undergoing the restoration project since 1987, along with their effort to enhance New England’s top railroad enthusiast location the “Town of Seven Railroads.”
Railroad enthusiasts from all over watch and take photos of the station and the many passing trains and view the many antiquities that furnish the impressive atmosphere. To add to the stations historical theme the Lamothe’s acquired a 1915 Porter Steam Locomotive and its Tender that is currently on display at the historic railroad station. Young and old can enjoy a piece of railroad history!
The Palmer Railroad Station was the 3rd largest station in Massachusetts and was designed by the world-renowned architect, Henry Hobson Richardson, whose untimely death at the age of 47 cut short a brilliant career. His major works included the designs for Trinity Church, Boston; Harvard’s Sever Hall and the Harvard Law School; The New York State Capitol in Albany, Albany City Hall, Hampden County Court House, Springfield and the Marshall Field Building in Chicago.
Richardson, a large man weighing over 300 pounds, designed buildings that were a reflection of his size. He used heavy arches and stone blocks to form massive buildings rich with texture. In planning the station for Palmer, Richardson was challenged to design a building that would serve both the New London Northern Railroad and the Boston and Albany replacing the two existing stations. The result was a unique trapezoidal design placed in the triangular area formed by the crossing of the lines. The roof is the chief feature of the station even today though the long passenger sheds have been removed. In his design, Richardson strove to express the building’s purpose to mark the fact that a station is not a house but a shelter, not a place to live in but, rather a place to wait under. Union Station was built by the Flynt Construction Company at a cost of $53,616. The station was opened to the public on June 1, 1884. To give an idea of the building’s extravagance, Thorndike Street School was built as Palmer’s first High School in 1888 for only $5,000.
Many famous people have passed through Palmer on the Boston and Albany train, dignitaries including: James K. Polk, Al Smith, Jenny Lind, Andrew Johnson (Vice President), Teddy Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, Abe Lincoln and Mark Twain. Some stopped for just a few minutes others such as Jenny Lind had lunch at the hotel and others such as Al Smith got lost and missed his train. The railroad station reached its peak of activity in the early 1900’s when 30 to 40 trains stopped daily at the elegant station. The Lamothe Family welcomes you to the “Town of Seven Railroads”!