In 2009 tragedy struck the Borough of Irwin when the 113 year old Irwin Hotel was lost in a massive inferno. While the loss of the hotel left a void in the community, it also brought forth opportunity.
After the 2016 Grand Opening of the newly renovated Lamp Theatre, focus from the board of directors and volunteers alike shifted to the now vacant lot next door which was generously gifted to The Borough of Irwin and to be combined with the Theatre itself.
The question of what to do with the acquired lot was pondered over by committees and patrons of The Lamp. While many ideas were offered, one in particular struck a chord throughout the hearts of many. Saving and restoring a historic diner became the new goal set for The Lamp Theatre board of directors and volunteers.
Within just seven short months, a plan was formed, a diner was purchased, and Main Street in downtown Irwin was closed. For the first time in Irwin's history, Main Street was traversed south to north by a delivery company with the 1951 Ritter's Diner in tow, a spectacle observed by many residents and local news outlets.
With the diner now set in its final position, restoration efforts became the new task set for The Lamp Theatre's volunteer group and Diner Committee. This was found to be no small task. Through a true community effort of volunteerism, and hundreds of hours, once again The Lamp Theatre was given the opportunity to host a grand opening of the Harper Family Diner & Courtyard in May 2019.