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Pinedale Online > News > December 2007 > Moondance Diner update

Moondance Diner. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
Moondance Diner
The Moondance Diner sits up on supports, located a short distance away from the construction area. Workers are tearing out unsalvagable pieces and shoring up the exterior parts that aren't structurally sound. It will take a lot of tender loving care to bring the Moondance back to its former glory.

Interior work demolition. Photo by Cheryl and Vince Pierce.
Interior work demolition
The inside is being gutted to get down to salvageable remnants.

Excavation and footers. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
Excavation and footers
View on Saturday, December 1st. Getting site ready for the foundation. For orientation, this view is looking West. The highway is behind the photographer. The Moondance will sit on the left part of the foundation. The foundation on the right is for the new kitchen and addition.

Coming Soon Banner. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
Coming Soon Banner
The banner and construction are visible from the highway through town. Visitors are stopping by to watch the construction progress.

Note on back of banner. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
Note on back of banner
Pat and Ken from New York wrote on the back of the "Coming Soon" banner: "Take care of our beloved Moondance Diner! We'll be back 4 coffee!"
Moondance Diner update
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
December 6, 2007

Here’s an update from Cheryl Pierce on the Moondance Diner.

- Spent the last week and a half excavating and then poured the footing for the foundation. The forms are in. They hope to pour the foundation this week if the weather holds up. Once the foundation is ready, workers will do some more stabilizing of the diner walls, then it will be moved over with a crane and serious renovations can begin. This will happen in the next couple of weeks, depending on how the weather cooperates (winter in Wyoming).

- Cheryl is still working on getting the financing in place for the renovation.

- Frederic Schwartz contacted the Pierces and is excited about what they are doing. He offered to help their renovation efforts by putting them in touch with resources and materials. In the 1980’s the Moondance Diner was remodeled by Alan Bushbaum. This will be the primary design used to restore the Moondance Diner in LaBarge. Frederic Schwartz Architects have pictures of the design on their website, (Frederic SCHWARTZ Architects is an award-winning, internationally recognized design firm with the expertise to program, plan, design and manage projects requiring the integration of architecture, planning and urban design. Our strength is our ability to create distinctive looking, detailed, high-performance environments for demanding clients, on-schedule and on budget. We have a diversity and wealth of experience in building types including transportation, offices, housing, retail, institutional, and large-scale public architecture.)

- Cheryl now has Moondance Diner t-shirts and bumper stickers available. They are also getting Moondance Diner cookie tins, which will be fun for the holidays.

- They have made arrangements with the folks who make the famous Wyoming Cowboy Coffee to have a private label coffee for the Moondance Diner. It will be a breakfast blend cowboy coffee, ground or beans. These can be ordered in gift sets with campfire coffee cups and packed in a decorative wooden crate.

- Aunt Ilene from Idaho is here helping out now. “Tia” is Basque, and is a great cook! She will be helping to run the diner and helping prepare the great meals. You’ll just have to stop in and meet her to see why this is so cool!

- Mike Hegedus with CNBC’s “Mike on America” Show, contacted them again and said he wants to come back and film when they open. He interviewed them a couple of months ago and did a TV video segment on them, and LaBarge, which was broadcast in September. It was re-aired over Thanksgiving, by popular demand. Mike on America: Talk about a relocation! (September 14, 2007). The video of this program can be viewed on Mike’s website.

- Cheryl and Vince put up a big ‘Moondance Diner Coming Soon” banner and sign facing the highway on the site where the construction is taking place. They discovered someone signed the back of the banner with greetings and well-wishes! On November 19th, Pat and Ken from New York wrote, “Take care of our beloved Moondance Diner. We’ll be back 4 coffee!”

- Many people are still stopping by regularly to see the Moondance, even as it sits perched on blocks with the siding partially removed and rubble around it. The Moondance definitely has seen better days and will need a lot of tender loving care to bring it back to its former glory. Cheryl saw a stretch limo parked at the site about a month and a half ago, with people looking at the diner up on the support blocks. She wasn’t able to drive around the block in time to catch up with them before they drove off. She was really curious who those folks were! (Hopper 1)

- Cheryl received a phone call from a production company that was interested in filming at the Moondance. She had to tell them it isn’t ready yet. “I am bound and determined to open the doors in May,” she said. Cheryl contacted the Wyoming Film Office about what they are doing with the Moondance and they expressed interest in coming out when everything is done and taking pictures so they can get the location listed on their website as one of the interesting places in Wyoming film producers might consider for a location shoot.

- Cheryl wanted to give special thanks to Donald Hacklin and his crew with Hack’s Construction in LaBarge for their work on the Moondance Diner project. Hack’s Construction has been busy doing the foundation, forms and stabilizing the walls.

- Cheryl and Vince have been enjoying hearing from people who have some connection to the Moondance and finding out their stories. If you have a story to share, please feel free to write them: To contact Cheryl call (307) 260-6503 or e-mail

- We also spoke with LaBarge Mayor, Dennis Hacklin, to get some comments on what is happening in LaBarge these days. Mr. Hacklin owns LaBarge Realty, one of two real estate agencies in the town of a little over 400 residents. He indicated that there is more new building construction going on and they are working on infrastructure improvements to help with town growth. Construction on a new elementary school has begun. Several residential and commercial lots near the Moondance Diner have recently sold since the diner came to town. “There are no rentals,” the Mayor said, commenting on the inflated prices and housing shortage being caused by the oil and gas boom which is impacting all of western Wyoming. “What we need more than anything else is low-income housing so people can afford to live here.” He believes the Moondance Diner will be an asset to the town and give more people driving by a reason to stop and discover the history, fishing, hunting, boating and recreation assets of their area. “We have Names Hill. We have Indian rock art paintings. We have the big lake,” he said. The Moondance Diner will help people find out about those things the area has to offer. “I think it is great,” he said.

Photos by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!

Related Links
  • - Moondance Diner website, with updates
  • Moondance Diner moving to LaBarge, Wyoming - Pinedale Online!, July 31, 2007
  • Moondance Diner Progress: The Moondance is HERE! - Pinedale Online! August 13, 2007

  • Taking off side boards. Photo by Cheryl and Vince Pierce.
    Taking off side boards
    Workers remove the outside boards from the Moondance Diner. The piles of rubble are from layers of old flooring from inside.

    Counter gone. Photo by Cheryl and Vince Pierce.
    Counter gone
    The old counters have been removed.

    Rubble. Photo by Cheryl and Vince Pierce.
    Piles of rubble from the multiple layers of flooring.

    Taking off siding. Photo by Cheryl and Vince Pierce.
    Taking off siding
    The shiny metal siding has to be removed to get to the underlayers.

    Three layers of flooring. Photo by Cheryl and Vince Pierce.
    Three layers of flooring
    There were three layers of flooring inside. New flooring layers were put on top of the old, without removing the old layers. Workers installed flooring on top of dirty floors, in some cases sealing in coins and eating utentsils in the process!

    Removing siding. Photo by Cheryl and Vince Pierce.
    Removing siding
    After removing the metal exterior, workers took off the wood board siding.

    Gutting the interior. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Gutting the interior
    Not a lot of the interior is salvagable. Workers are trying to preserve as much as possible, but a lot will have to be completely replaced.

    Not much to work with. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Not much to work with
    Workers have quite a challenge ahead of them with this restoration project.

    New cross supports. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    New cross supports
    New metal I-beams have been put in to better support the undercarriage.

    Underlayers. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Workers have to reinforce the framework under the Moondance to stabilize it. Some boards are rotted, others are just old and not doing the job to support the building anymore. It's tricky work to rebuild and stablize the undercarriage of the old building.

    Endwall. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    This is the side where the Moondance connected to the New York addition. The new version will also access the kitchen from this end, requiring careful renovation and retrofitting. Photo taken on Saturday, December 1.

    Back side view. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Back side view
    View of the back side of the Moondance and all the graffiti. It presents an interesting question from a preservation standpoint. Does the graffiti itself have any historical significance worthy of preservation in some way?

    View from highway. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    View from highway
    View of the building site, as seen from near the highway, looking north. The next picture was taken walking forward and standing behind the banner, looking in basically the same direction.

    Foundation view. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Foundation view
    In this photo, the highway is behind the photographer. View looking northwest. This is where the Moondance will be placed, front facing to the right. The Diner is sitting off-site in the far distance. Once the foundation is ready, a crane will be brought in to move it onto the foundation. That should happen in the next couple of weeks.

    Note on back of banner sign. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    Note on back of banner sign
    On the back side of the sign, Pat and Ken from New York wrote a cool note. What a great surprise it was to find that greeting! It is really neat to have so many people excited about the new chapter in the Moondance's life. Cheryl and Vince are committed to respecting the history of the Moondance Diner, and all the people before who are an important part of its story.

    New Elementary School. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    New Elementary School
    Construction has begun on a new elementary school for LaBarge. The existing school is the two-story red brick building in the background, behind the 5 tall poles in this photo.

    New construction. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    New construction
    LaBarge is feeling the effects of the economic prosperity impacting all of western Wyoming, resulting in new people moving in and new houses being built.

    3 car garage. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
    3 car garage
    Several new homes that have recently gone in include 3-car garages, a sign residents are doing well economically.
    Pinedale Online > News > December 2007 > Moondance Diner update

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