Harrington Historical Tour
A walking and driving tour of the rich history of Harrington Delaware. Use the Harrington Through Time book as a great reference for all of these locations
Built in 1875, this small church was constructed by the Episcopal congregation. It is now part of the Greater Harrington Historical Complex.
Welcome to the Greater Harrington Historical Society. We here at the society strive to preserve the history of our area through the collection of artifacts and living history. Whether you are looking to see how our city began, what businesses have been in our town, or look back at our churches and civic organizations, we have something for everyone. Our collections also includes documents and photographs that anyone who is working on genealogy will find invaluable in learning more about their family tree. No matter if you are a lifelong resident, a Harringtonian at heart, or just interested in history, we here at the Greater Harrington Historical Society will be happy to give you a tour you will find interesting and full of fun.
The Clark Family were the founders of Harrington, then called Clark's Corner. The monument is located on the family cemetery location. The cemetery location was unknown until it was found in the 1990s. The marker was placed to honor the family graves that are still located on the site.
The Wolcott Mansion is one of the oldest homes in the city. It was built in the late 1800s by Henry Clay Wolcott, one of Harrington’s first entrepreneurs and a philanthropist. He would later go on to donate property to several churches in the city for their buildings and have a street named in his honor. Today the house is being restored to its former glory.
This humble church has undergone major changes since this it was orginally constructed. It has also witnessed changes in the groups that have called it home. Built by the Baptist Union, in 1903 it was sold to Harrington Pilgrim Holiness and the Church of the Nazarene. In 1909, a split occurred between these two groups, and the church was turned over to the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene. It was later sold to the Mount Carmel Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and still serves this congregation today.
Founded in 1888, the First National Bank of Harrington was the town’s first bank and is still in business today. Before then, locals who needed to do banking had to travel to Milford. The building is the oldest commercial structure in the city. The building was constructed in 1888
The Harrington Post Office was constructed in the mid-1930s. The old storefronts built in the mid-1800s were outdated and were torn down for the new post office. A wax tempera mural, Men Hoeing, was painted in 1941 by Eve Salisbury inside the post office. The program was funded by the US Treasury as a part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal. Prior to its construction, the site was home to Denny's Store, one of the first stores in Harrington to offer home delivery. Harrington was the first city in Delaware to offer free rural mail delivery in 1898
The Delaware Railroad came to Clarks Corner in the summer of 1853. The first station was no more than a barn. The second station was constructed in 1886 and later the railroad consolidated with the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroads. At its peak in the early 1940s, this station stood witness to as many as twelve passenger trains and twenty freight trains a day. Now serving as the district office for the Delmarva Central Railroad, a division of Carload Express, the station still retains its original look and stands as a silent reminder of the golden days of railroading in the United States.
In 1993, the Greater Harrington Historical Society saved a local landmark from destruction and in the process preserved what has turned out to be one of the few structures of its type left on the DelMarVa Peninsula. The Railroad Tower and Caboose are located on Hanley Street, just two blocks from the main museum. The tower has been restored to its original operating condition and houses many items used during the heyday of trains in Harrington. Items include a watchman shack, a conductors uniform, and several examples of tools used to operate and maintain the railroad operations. Next to the tower is a restored Model N5 Caboose, which was built in 1926. The caboose houses items used during daily operations of the railroad and shows was a workers life would have been like while working for the Pennsylvania Railroad Corporation in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Trinity Methodist Church had the same beginnings as many other churches in Harrington. The first services were held in the local school when the church organized in 1880.
Residential Section of Commerce Street: With the east side of the street still lined by the same trees that existed when the town was founded, the street is now home to some of Harrington’s largest homes. The block in the foreground of the street is home to Smith families and their relatives, building almost all the homes in the first block. Today these homes have changed little, and most have been or are currently undergoing restoration.
The second Asbury Methodist Church in the area began as the first Sunday school in Harrington on March 30, 1853. However, the first church building was not constructed until 1870. It was rebuilt as seen in this picture in 1890. In 1915, the church had a beautiful pipe organ installed with the financial help of Andrew Carnegie.
Precut Kit Home, Built in the 1910s: Precut homes were a trend starting in the early 1910s. Companies such as Sears and Aladdin Homes sold all the supplies needed to construct your home, except for masonry needs, directly to the consumer. Once ordered, the supplies would be loaded onto two train boxcars and delivered directly to the customer’s town for assembly. All the wood, down to the smallest details, were numbered, allowing for the owner to simply hammer them together. Still a residence today, this home shows little change from its original construction.
Harrington High School In 1928, a wing built along side the brick school building that was constructed in 1910. It was designed to hold an additional 150 students and faculty was constructed. Above the door you can see the words "High School". By 1956, another wing was again constructed to house the ever-growing student population. The final construction on this building occurred in 1963 when the original school structure that had been built in 1910 was razed in order to construct W. T. Chipman Junior High School. The last change to this entire complex occurred in 2008, when once again a new school, this time for the elementary grades, was opened.
St. Paul’s African Methodist Church was constructed in 1895 on land purchased from Henry C Wolcott. It was the last of the 11 AME churches built in Kent County between 1867 and 1895.
Metropolitan Methodist Episcopal Church in Harrington was the first African American church founded in the area.
The Delaware House Hotel was built in the 1850s by Levi Cain as a warehouse for the railroad. In 1861, it was made into a hotel by William Sapp and Thomas Dorman. The hotel was sold in the 1920s and moved to Reese Avenue, where it was made into three houses.
The Fleming Mansion, Circa 1860: Still one of the largest homes ever built in Harrington, Ezekiel Fleming built this nineteen-room mansion in the 1860s after marrying Elizabeth Booth. Fleming’s lumber and flour mills were located on the properties next door.
January 12, 1920, was a date that not only affected the citizens of Harrington but has come to draw hundreds of thousands to the area each year. On this date, a group of local businessmen gathered to discuss the formation of a fair. The Kent and Sussex Fair Association was created, and the month of July in Harrington would never be the same. In 2019 The Delaware State Fair will celebrate 100 years of fun!
Hollywood Cemetery was opened in the 1880s and was the first public cemetery in the Harrington area. Prior to that time burials occurred in family cemeteries or small graveyards attached to local churches.