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The Back 40 Junction, which has been in business for approximately 60 years, is unfortunately losing a piece of its well-known vintage decor as the executive railroad car, located on the north side of the restaurant, is being dismantled and removed this week.
Clete Miller, the original proprietor of the historic attraction, said that back when he was establishing the restaurant he heard of a railroad company in Garrett that rented the railroad cars for weddings and celebrations, similar to the Trolley Cars in Fort Wayne.
What Miller was really interested in, he said, was the old Roosevelt Campaign car the Garrett company owned. However, when he contacted the owner, that little piece of history had already been sold.
That's when Miller heard of the executive car that was currently being stored in Garrett. With the help of Bunge North America, then known as Central Soya, Miller was able bring the railroad car from Garrett to Decatur, even laying down the tracks for the car to rest on.
Miller said one of the best features of the car was that people waiting for a table had a place to go and something, rather than simply waiting outside in a line.
"We had a bar in there, some tables and chairs, and people could go in and have a seat, maybe a few drinks, and talk to one another while they waited for their table," said Miller. "There are some really great memories there for a lot of people. A lot of happiness."
Miller owned the Fairway restaurant where McDonald's is now located before moving north on 13th St. and erecting the current Back 40.
The current owners of the restaurant, Azar's Corporation, were unavailable for comment.