The Odessa Record -

Harrington news

Chamber; Odessa troupe performs


August 9, 2018

--Photo courtesy of Ed Haugan.

On July 9, US Bank's Harrington branch manager, Summer Shockley, right, presented a $1,000 US Bank grant award check to Harrington Opera House Society member Billie Herron.

Chamber of Commerce

The Harrington Chamber of Commerce met August 1 at noon at The Post & Office with Tim Tipton, Cindy Haase, Paula Harrington, Rollie Behrens, David Michaelson, Mark Stedman, Jill Plaskon, Heather Slack, Chris Paxton, Bunny Haugan, Cherie MacClellan and Nick Clarke in attendance. Slack is working on a Chamber fundraiser idea of a map of "places to visit in Lincoln County" with Haase, Behrens and Tipton, with the creative artwork being done by Leslie LePere. She presented a working copy to the Chamber. This map will have ad space for the cities in our county to showcase a point of interest as well as an opportunity for businesses, annual events, etc., to be listed on the back. The plan is to have Tipton travel to some of the prospective places with a mock up of the map so he can present the idea to business and civic members. This will happen in late September/early October with the plan to print and be ready in the spring.

The upcoming Fall Festival was discussed. Karen Robertson is updating the website's Fall Festival page for the upcoming event. The mud bog event and petting zoo will not be held this year. A schedule of the events and vendors is being compiled. Vendor areas in the park will be numbered and assigned as the vendors register. The Chamber voted to do a $30 boosted post on Facebook again to promote the Fall Festival. Tipton will create the post on Facebook and coordinate with the EDC, which has reached out and wants to help promote the event from their Facebook and Instagram pages. Chamber will contact Lincoln Co. Fire District #6 to check on parade sign-up and line-up sheets, as those topics need more coordination.

Haase is in contact with someone who makes window clings reading "Harrington Area Chamber of Commerce Member" in white text on a clear background. A couple different options and lettering styles will be presented. She offered to pick up the cost for 25 of them.

A committee including Haugan, Haase and Paxton was formed to look into a kiosk-type brochure rack for City Hall, as the one that is there needs updating. The idea is to have the surrounding areas' and the City's brochures available when people visit City Hall.

The deadline for submission for the next Chamber mailing is August 24. The total number of copies needed is 326 for any group to have their flyer included. Contact the Chamber for more info.

Opera House confusion

This writer is constantly searching out additional news items from the "Citizen" to add to the local history, in particular for the Harrington Opera House. It was with sheer delight that an item appeared before my eyes that seemed to be of great appeal for all readers of The Odessa Record, the first sentence stating: "Coming March 17th (1916). The Odessa Home Talent Troupe will present 'Nevada' or 'The Lost Mine' at the Opera House Friday night, March 17th." Some trivia regarding the participants follows.

Dr. Fred Balmer was a veterinarian in Edwall from about 1905 to 1910 when he relocated to Odessa, bringing his Belgian stallion. His brother Emil drowned at Astoria, Ore. in 1906, and his brother John died in Edwall in 1908 from typhoid fever. Balmer was noted for his line of "remedies" as well as his business acumen, as he was advertised to be reopening the Old Rainier Bar with Geo. Kuest. His wife also played a role in the play. When the Balmers left Odessa, they moved to Ritzville. Dr. Balmer consulted frequently with Dr. Mawhinney of Harrington, as was the case in 1918 when Henry and George Gettman lost seven good work horses which it was determined to have been caused by swamp fever.

John Schoonover graduated from Odessa High School in 1913 and was admitted to the firm Schoonover & Son. In 1916, he was identified as the treasurer of the Odessa Concert Band. He and Gus Weber served in France in the World War.

Oscar F. Minch, a grain dealer from Abercrombie, ND arrived in Odessa about 1902. He was a bookkeeper for the mill and a charter member of the Odessa Commercial Club. By 1905, he was manager of the Odessa Milling Co. In 1911, he was Mayor of Odessa. He was reputed to be a steadfast and devoted husband to his wife who suffered with tuberculosis for five years prior to her death in 1918, leaving him with three children to care for.

C.N. Clark was part of the Odessa Concert Band and played with the band orchestra. He later took charge of the tailoring department at the Janikula men's store. He was active in the regular baseball team.

Fred George was a member of the old Odessa Rod and Gun Club with Art Kunkel, the Guths, Fred Balmer, Schoonover and others.

Born about 1890, Lloyd Stanfield was the son of S.A. and Emma Stanfield and attended the Irby school in 1901, 1903 and 1904. In 1909, he was an active member of the Woodmen of America. He was also on the baseball team, playing shortstop.

Art Kunkel was one of Odessa's many pioneer barbers, documented in the Odessa Museum in the Del Kirstein Barber Shop Collection, which included photos of Kunkel. He married in 1910, raised a family with his wife and then moved to Seattle in 1927.

Regarding the play, the Citizen recorded the following: "Miss Guth, as Mother Merton, was indeed a typical mother of a camp. Miss Bowns sustained the character of Agnes Fairlee, the school teacher in a manner that brought much favorable comment, while Mrs. Balmer as Moselle, the waif, made the hit of her life with the audience. The male characters were equally good. It has been said that comedy was Dr. Balmer's strong role, but he never showed it to better advantage than he did that evening as the demented wanderer. Probably no character was more eagerly looked for than John Schoonover, who as Silas Steele, the missionary of health, kept the house in an uproar with his dry wit. Vermont, the old miner, was presented by O.F. Minch in his usual able manner and C.N. Clark as Tom Carew, Fred George as Dandy Dick and Lloyd Stanfield as Jerden the detective, are still receiving congratulations on the able manner in which they sustained their parts. Last but not least was Art Kunkel, as Win Kye the Chinaman, and R. McDonald as a negro miner whose every move and dialect brought out everything possible in their respective parts. It was a play of which each member can be proud, and the fire department are grateful indeed for the work they did to make it such a success.' Tickets: Children 25 cents. General Admission 50 cents, Reserved Seats 75 cents. Dance after the play. Tickets for dance and play $1.00." (Citizen: 3-10-1916)

It was with some disappointment that it was seen that this performance did not occur at the Harrington Opera House, rather, "The Odessa Record says: 'The home talent play 'Nevada' or 'The Lost Mine' given under the auspices of the Odessa fire department and under the direction of Dr. Fred Balmer last Friday night was the greatest success ever given in Odessa, the attraction drawing a $173.25 house. It was not only a success from a financial but from a dramatic standpoint, and is really admitted as the best balanced cast of characters ever presented by home talent on the Odessa stage'." This news item serves to remind us that most of the communities in Lincoln County had an "Opera House."


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