Herald-Dispatch file photo Today the 11th Street site of the former Circus Boy diner is a parking lot.

Editor's Note: This is the 296th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

HUNTINGTON - It was June 25, 1982, when the Circus Boy diner grilled its last hamburger.

The tiny diner was located at 410 11th St., directly across the street from the Coal Exchange Building, which provided most of its customers.

Many people who worked in the building regularly lunched at the Circus Boy.

But the combination of an ailing local economy and growing competition from fast-food restaurants ultimately prompted the diner's owner, Colbert Cecil, to call it quits.

Cecil and his wife bought the building and fixtures shortly after he retired from the Chessie System in 1969.

But the property the building sat on belonged to someone else, and when their landlord raised the rent by 25% that was the last straw for Cecil.

Before the Cecils bought the diner, it had been called the Whirlygig. (For years there were two Whirlygig restaurants in downtown Huntington, the one on 11th Street and another on the nearby corner of 5th Avenue and 10th Street.)

Cecil said he and a former partner decided to call their diner the Circus Boy because that's what they named their big hamburger.

Today, the site of the former diner is a parking lot.


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