The Odessa Record -

Historical fires; Senior Meals; golf course dinner/auction; school to have music

Series: Harrington News | Story 23

Last updated 4/8/2019 at 11:35am


Pioneer days must have been terrifying when a fire was out of control. One of the earliest recorded fires in Harrington was that of a saloon building owned by F.B. Wright that was totally destroyed by fire on a wintry January night in 1893. The fire caught from a defective flue. The building was a wooden structure and burned rapidly. Two men were sleeping in the building, F.C. Lee and Harry Long, and they were nearly suffocated by the intense smoke. The only item salvaged from the burning building was the piano. The loss was estimated at $1,200 with about half that amount covered by insurance.

A devastating fire in March 1894 consumed the large Wilson brick building, with nothing whatsoever being saved. The fire caused about $25,000 worth of damage, although nearly all was covered by insurance. “The fire was discovered about 5 o’clock in the morning in the room occupied by Cain & Ellwood, saloon keepers. Their loss is said to be fully insured. The Great Eastern Clothing Company was the heaviest loser, its loss being estimated at $15,000. King & Reeves, druggists, lost $3,000. The total loss is published at $25,000, but is nearly covered by insurance. The Wilson brick valued at $4,000, was insured for half that sum. It is rumored that the fire was the work of an incendiary, and that an investigation will follow. The building was by far the best in the town.” (Lincoln County Times: 3-09-1894)

When such massive fires occur, it is easy to understand how false reports can happen. “A report came into town last Sunday morning that Harrington had been destroyed by fire the night before. Investigation proved that no fire had occurred at Harrington, but that a barn belonging to Mr Johnson a few miles this side, had burned down.” (LCT: 9-07-1894)

The first recorded Harrington fire taking a life was that of the old Harrington Hotel in the fall of 1904. “The old Harrington Hotel went up in a blaze Wednesday morning at three o’clock. John Leathers and Frank Brown were the first to see the fire and give the alarm but before the fire department could get out, the building, a huge frame structure, was a mass of flames. All that could then be done was to save the adjoining buildings, and fortunately there was no wind to carry the burning pieces and by diligent work the flames were kept from spreading. The building was owned by George Wilson, who was in Wenatchee at the time. The total loss is in the neighborhood of $5,000, partially covered by insurance. Henry Fay was running the hotel. The hotel was erected 20 years ago this summer, being one of the old landmarks of the town. The sad part of the fire was the death of Lawrence Tierney, who was sleeping in room 9 and was evidently suffocated by the smoke before the flames reached him, as he was found lying as if in bed, but burnt beyond recognition.” (Citizen: 9-23-1904)

The Harrington Hotel was on Main Street, just west of the present US Bank. It is seen in the earliest of Harrington photos. In April 1904, Johanna Dyke, formerly Johanna McCann, sold the hotel to George R. Wilson for $4,500. The legal description was “all of the S ½ of Blk 32 of the Town of Harrington, being lots 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, of said lots being 50 ft. wide front & rear and 120 ft. deep said property is bounded on the East by Third St. on the South by Main St. on the West by Fourth St. and on the North by the alley in said Blk.” One report stated that the hotel had been built in 1884. There is evidence that it was in business in 1885, although many early reports of businesses in the town fail to mention it by name. Wilson intended to build east of the hotel where the bank presently sits.

At the time of the fire Henry Faye was running the hotel. Authorities had determined that the cause of the fire was arson and immediately set out to arrest Faye. “The charge is a serious one, as it will be murder in the first degree.” They also placed W.W. Sweezy under arrest as an accomplice, former proprietor of the Harrington Hotel. Before his case could go to trial, Sweezy committed suicide with his revolver. He was in very poor health and people in Harrington were left with the impression that he was innocent of any involvement in the fire. By the time Faye and his cook, Mrs. Taylor, went to trial, the story developed that Sweezy had hired Faye and Mrs. Taylor to burn the building for the insurance. Faye went to the penitentiary, and Mrs. Taylor quietly removed herself.

Senior Meals

Okanogan County Transportation and Nutrition has notified the director of Harrington Senior Meals that complete meals will be sent from Davenport. Sides and salads will no longer be made in Harrington. Susie Harding resigned her position, and OCTN hired Sharon Schultz as the new site director for serving the meals.

Harrington Golf Course Auction

With an advanced sell-out for their prime rib dinner and auction event held March 30, the Harrington Golf Course was seemingly very successful. Cars lined the streets, side-streets and parking lots prior to the event at the Harrington Memorial Hall. Details were not obtained prior to going to press.

Panther newsletter

With so many comments this past season regarding the lack of a music department and teacher, it should be with great pleasure that readers will learn: “We are hiring a music teacher. If you know anyone, please share our website: under menu: employment opportunities. I hope spring has started out great for you and you have been able to get outside and enjoy the weather. Tiffany Clouse, note from the principal.”


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