Harrington, looking south
Harrington is a town of about 400 in Lincoln County due north of Ritzville. In appearance it is more like the communities of the more prosperous Palouse wheat country than its southern neighbors of the hardscrabble region. However, it suffers the same notable vacant buildings and limited businesses. There is a small grocery store, a gas station out on the highway, a beautifully maintained cemetery and a lush looking golf course which has the only café in town.
Abandoned Gas Station, Harrington
As I was taking the gas station photograph a pickup pulled up and a man got out. I asked if it was ok to be here, he said “fine.” He then proceeded to water some plants that were in the bare dirt parking strip. He explained that they were his wife’s squash plants. His name is Ed Haugen, his wife is the city clerk. Among other things Ed is an avid gardner. He offered to show my friend Susan and me the Opera House, a restoration project of which he is rightfully and extremely proud. He gave us a tour explaining all that had been done which was considerable, and included a new roof and beautiful wooden staircase. He also told us of all the plans for future projects as money becomes available. (I just heard that they received a grant for an elevator.) Some months later Ed arranged for me to exhibit my work in the art room of the Opera House for which I am proud and grateful.
Lobby, Opera House
A year or so after my introduction to the Opera House I was able to attend a concert there by Tayla Lynn, the granddaughter of Loretta Lynn. At least a quarter of the population of Harrington attended, and included families of three generations. We all had a great time.
Opera House (with new roof)