The Odessa Record -

Harrington news

Kids learn during summer reading; downtown eatery desired; building renovations


August 3, 2017

--Courtesy photo.

The former post office in Harrington is now owned by Justin and Heather Slack who are busy renovating the structure for a future business.

Summer Reading Program

With eight eager children attending Thursday's Summer Reading Program, the group was much quieter than the previous session with 18. Interestingly enough, more books and DVDs were checked out by the eight. Two sisters brought a stack of books to the counter, and it was refreshing to hear the older one help the younger to check out her books. The topic for this session was entitled "Wild With Water." Children were taught a multitude of facts about water and its importance. The lesson began with the reading of "Water in the Park" by Emily Jenkins followed by making them familiar with H2O and the periodic table. Their activity was to build water molecules which were marshmallows that were connected with pretzels. The children enjoyed this activity particularly when they stuck together when thrown on the floor. A demonstration by staff was given showing the difference between ice, water and clouds with the formula: "movement of molecules = temperature = state of matter."

To aid in the learning of the materials, they returned to the periodic table and discussed elements that can combine chemically or physically as with dirty water. Children were asked: "What do we do about dirty water? Where does clean water come from?" For this they had another activity: the filtering of water. Each group was given a jar of dirty water (muddy water with beans, popcorn kernels, soap bubbles). The assigned task was that each group needed to get their water as clean as possible by engineering a filter. They were to "draw the design first." The materials they were given included Popsicle sticks, paper clip, rubber bands, yarn, coffee filter, plastic Tupperware. By 4 p.m., the children were all dry and none showed any signs of being stuck in the mud.

Harrington Haus

A town without a year-round cafe, restaurant, tavern or drive-in can be a real hardship on the community as a whole, and the travelers that come specifically to Harrington are left with no place to obtain meals. The old cafe has long been closed and for a few brief periods of time the Carrot Patch filled some of the needs for food service in town. The loss of the Harrington Haus was a serious blow to the availability of food when it closed, although in its last years irregular hours made it unpredictable. The old cafe and the Carrot Patch were both in Block 39 near city hall. The Harrington Haus in Block 38 is across the street from City Hall and is again seeing some promising activity with its new owner Jay Gossett. When a city is desperate for an eating establishment small increments of change bring surges of hope.

The existing structure is the result of several efforts to rebuild the establishment, beginning in 1906 when the present south wall was constructed. The north wall went up in 1916, and the east and west brick and glass portions were built in 1920 when the last roof was built. That final construction work in 1920 was ordered by its owner, Bart Schmitz, and executed by John Flemming working on the contract by the Harrington Lumber Co. Incidentally, this was the site of the old US Cafe. In its more recent history Pamela and Gene Dietrich operated the Harrington Haus until October of 2013. In 2015, John Dempsey and family members attempted to purchase and restore the building. Long and exhaustive hours were spent removing carpeting and interior structures, cleaning and even rebuilding portions of the interior. An attempt was made to seal the roof, however, the winds ripped up a corner of the roof, opening the building to further abuse by the elements. Little was known of Dempsey's situation until one day he announced he was going "trucking" and had little to say about any potential return. During his occupancy of the Harrington Haus, the painting by Luke Williams was beautifully restored by Bonnie Hardy. It was originally painted in 1947.

The Harrington Public Development Authority, the Harrington Chamber of Commerce and Harrington City Council each expressed concern over the past several years that the town needed an influx of energy, cash and interest in the availability of food for the public. Many involved in civic affairs were well pleased to see activity occurring on the face of the Harrington Haus building in which the old awnings were removed and the front appearance radically changed.

The Old PO Building

While new changes are occurring at the Harrington Haus, down the block to the corner of 3rd and Main streets, the old Harrington State Bank building which in later years housed the old post office, work continues as the windows are cleaned and repaired by the Justin Slack family. It is truly a family affair during the summer season, the children following the lead of the parents, carrying out rubbish to the dumpster and bringing in small supplies as needed. The Slacks own the two buildings, one on the corner, and next door, the building which houses Leffel, Otis and Warwick; both had been owned by H.C. Turner 100 years ago. Specific plans for the buildings are not known, but tentative plans are to bring in some vending machines to make available some food purchases. Anticipation is on the increase as civic minded people observe the progress and sense that the town is regaining hope for increasing prosperity.


Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday, July 5, the Harrington Area Chamber of Commerce was called to order by President Tim Tipton to a nice gathering of interested citizens including Rollie Behrens, Cade Clarke, Cindy Haase, Bunny Haugan, David Michaelson, Paula Pike, Jill Plaskon and Heather Slack. Due to the passing of Vice President Allen Barth, the VP position was open. The group unanimously voted Cade Clarke to fill the position.

Discussions were held regarding organizing a "Clean-up Day" before the Harrington Fall Festival on September 23 and regarding the planned benches and grass for "Opera House Square." Supplies for the clean-up day were arranged. Tipton mentioned the newsletter mailing prior to Fall Festival, which needs to be in the mail by the first of September. It was announced that the Harrington Historical Society will be designing a new brochure with all of the historical buildings, including pictures and history.


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