The Odessa Record -

Harrington news

Summer reading program, Women's club photo help needed


--Photos courtesy of Karen Robertson.

The 1928 Women's Club of Harrington was active in community activities. The aproned ladies were helping with Harrington Mule Days back in June of that year. Help with identification of the ladies is requested.

Summer Reading Program

Eighteen energetic and vivacious children modified the normally quiet atmosphere of the Harrington Public Library on Thursday afternoon about 2 p.m., when they descended from the Summer Camp Program at the school for their last two hours of the day. Emma Aldrich led their lesson with an inquiry as to what the students already knew about space. The children looked through "The Science of Everything" from National Geographic and "Science Encyclopedia" by Graham, Taylor, Farndon and Oxtale. There was much interest as the topic of exploring space, questioning where stars are in the daytime, learning of the seven planets, hearing facts and fiction of the Sun and hearing that in space it is completely silent. Children were challenged as to why they should learn about space. Space exploration was shown to be helpful to apply technology to our earth as well as have the opportunity to develop new worlds, to express human curiosity and to expand the horizons of the human race.

The students had an "Egg drop activity." The children were given an egg which they were to imagine held an astronaut, and they needed to build landers to drop from Martian orbit (which was going to be the top of the slide in the city park). The children were to follow the engineering design process. This was: question, imagine, design, create, build, improve. Their materials were a plastic bag as a parachute, dixie cups, paperclips, yarn, straws, popsicle sticks and tape. One can only guess how these 18 managed to carry their astronaut in the egg shell from the library to the city park without traumatizing the shell. Apparently, each arrived safely and was allowed to learn the effectiveness of their particular design.

Following the astronauts' successful launch from the slide, the children played with their parachutes in the park. Most of the children returned to the school from the park while those not participating in the Summer School Camp program returned to the library with Bridget Rohner.

Investigating the photo

Heather Slack brought a photo into the library of 22 women, all adorned in aprons. The photo was entitled "The Woman's Club of Harrington, June 8, 1928." The only person identified in the photo was Belle Talkington. From the Harrington Citizen archives at the library, the date of June 8, 1928, was the Harrington Mule Show. Those short-lived Harrington Mule Days were first conceived at a December 1, 1924 mulemen's banquet that was held at the Hotel Harrington with 110 guests from all parts of Lincoln County. They voted to hold the first Mule Day on June 5, 1925 in Harrington.

That first year they had a large parade that started at the hotel and went down Third Street with two big white mules in the lead, followed by eight of Bill Armstrong's prize mules ridden by Geo. M. Wilson, J.J. Tierney, Gene Craig, Mr. Gillespie, J.J. Cormana, A. Kloster, N.L. Provost and Hugo Kembel. The 5th Annual Harrington Mule Show in 1929 was as successful as any of the previous ones; the pre-mule show dance drew 106 couples and the Mule Skinners' grand ball on Friday night was attended by 330 couples. Early in 1930, the sale of mules began by the carload, first with Joe Spelts a buyer from Nebraska who purchased 35 mules from Louis Schultz and three car loads of mules belonging to W.B. Armstrong. The estimate of 25 mules per rail car was given.

In 1928, it was the 4th Annual Mule Show, "The Biggest Mule Show on Earth." Twenty-mule teams had been arranged for the parade. Four airplanes were committed to appear for participation at the show. The air would be filled with music. The main banquet in the evening at 6:30 p.m. at the High School Gym was arranged by the Woman's Club of Harrington.

Headquarters for the event was at the Harrington State Bank, located in the Bank Block, corner of Willis and Third. It was estimated that 3,500 to 4,000 saw the Fourth Annual Mule Show which was captured on film: "Three moving picture cameras from vantage points on the top of a business house were busy recording the events for the eyes of the world as the four twenty-mule teams, led by the brass band came proudly marching past. A professional roper entertained the spectators with a wonderful exhibition of his skill with the lariat." Princesses and attendants from the county were also in the parade, including from Harrington: Bernice Baker, princess; Eleanor Fallert and Doris Talkington, attendants. Some of the mules pulled combines by Holt, Harris, Advance-Rumley, Case and McCormick-Deering. Businesses advertised with automobiles of various makes: Richardson-Monks Hardware, Yale's Store, the Palm Barber Shop, the Camp Fire Girls, the Boy Scouts, Moore's Grocery, Banner Meat and Harrington Artesian Water. Tickets at the pre-mule show dance numbered 144 and 461 for the grand ball on the evening of this event.Although not identified, one single airplane at the landing field at Harrington did a good business taking up passengers at $3 a trip, making a trip about every twenty minutes, one person per trip.

For the midday meal, "the Ladies of the Community Congregational church served a splendid chicken dinner but ran out of food. The Hotel Harrington conducted two dining rooms all day and fed a multitude of mouths. A number of hot dog stands were busy feeding the multitude and all did a rushing business. The Royal Cafe was busy with an added force, and the Ladies of the Evangelical church also had a stand. In the evening at the High School Gym, the ladies of the Harrington Woman's Federated Club served 320 at the Mule Skinner's banquet."

The ledgers of the Harrington Woman's Club for 1927-1929 show the following women as members: Bertha Allin, Harriet Allin, Maude Armstrong, Icelone Baker, Harriet Ball, La Dona Barmeier, Fern Barnhart, Nettie Bassett, Alice Bumpus, Alee Cormana, Marjorie Cormana, Ruth Cormana, Zaida Cormana, Mary Coombs, Gertrude Cobb, Lois Cobb, Flora Dorsey, Geraldine Elliott, Nettie Ellis, Hilda Fink, Fannie Frazer, Ruth Gateley, Olga Gay, Thelma Gilbert, Ruby Gohlman, Ella Grant, Bertha Hinshaw, Winifred Hodgkiss, Ilah Hopp, Eva Imus, Jessie Jahn, Rosa Kramer, Vera Kriegler, Anna Lamp, Hulda Lamparter, Margaret McKinnon, Milly Miller, Ova Lee Ray, Grace Richardson, Adelia Scott, Bessie Sheppard, Gertrude Shrader, Helen Smith, Ora Soash, Rachel Stiles, Veryl Stone, Belle Talkington, Edythe Talkington, Katie Taylor, Florence Timm, Thelma Timm, Agnes Turner, Jennie Turner, Lyle Turner, Minnie Turner, Alma Watson and Elizabeth Weisgerber. From this listing of names, it is hoped that the ladies in the photograph will each be identified.

Children in Harrington's summer reading program at the public library are kept busy with all kinds of interesting activities.

As reported in a previous Record, the Woman's Club was involved in the purchase of the bronze memorial for the fallen soldiers of WW I. From their ledgers a few new details can be added to the picture: "Mr. Caissin and Mr. Fairbrother of the Empire Granite Products Co. and Mr Chainey of Washington Monumental Co. met with us to discuss a suitable monument as a soldier's memorial. After general discussion motion was carried that the soldier's memorial be ordered from the Empire Granite Products Co. and they pick out the bronze plate best suited." (Sept. 8, 1926) "Communications were read from Empire Granite Products Co stating that they were sending sketch of bronze plate for Soldier's Memorial, and that they had selected piece of Granite for memorial." (Oct. 13, 1926) Unfortunately the amount of the expenditure was not recorded.


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