Historic White Diner will rise from the ashes
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Morgan Jones Jr., co-owner of the diner, digs through piles of debris. Jones said he found a couple old coins dating back to the mid-1800's.
A longtime landmark dating back to 1932 is coming down in West Penn Township.
Owners and contractors spent the last few days tearing down the last remnants of the devastating fire that destroyed the White Diner on September 18 of last year.
Current owners, Helen and Jim Fulmer, and Helen's brother, Morgan Jones Jr., stated they have worked hard to keep the restaurant operating and plan on continuing that tradition. They are planning a new, expanded version of the restaurant.
According to Morgan, the only things that were saved from the fire are a 25 by 25 foot section of the brick dining room and a few memorable knickknacks.
The South Tamaqua eatery has been a long time staple in the area and had multiple owners over its 80-year lifetime. In the 1940s and early 1950s, the diner was known as Jake's Diner. Then Earl G. Wester owned and operated the White Diner from 1953 to 1972. He died in 1999.
Patrons recalled the picture that was hung inside the diner that showed the current dining room area as a connected gas station. Morgan's sister owned the business since 1986.
In addition to owners, the diner has gone through numerous renovations and additions, including two trolley attached cars from Tamaqua and one from Lehighton, dating back to the 1800s, which formed the "L" shaped section of the restaurant. Sadly both trolley cars were destroyed in the fire and by termites that attacked the wood after the fire.
Jones, who also owns the Broad Street Deli and Bagel Factory in Tamaqua, stated that the community has been very supportive of their family business, pointing out everyone's words or encouragement or offerings of assistance.
"Even my sixth grade elementary school teacher stopped to offer assistance," he said. "Our family is so thankful to everyone, and with the added support from the West Penn Township supervisors, we hope to be back on our feet again soon."
Family members of the diner posted a message on Facebook.
"Your support has kept us all motivated throughout this stressful time, and it will continue to help us to create something to serve you even better in the future," it states.