Hotel Harrington History

The Harrington House

  • Original Harrington House

    Original Harrington House

  • Harrington House Bed and Breakfast

    Harrington House Bed and Breakfast

For most of its history, the Hotel Harrington was a private residence for the Harrington family and then the Plastow family. The family home grew into the Harrington House Bed and Breakfast for several years years. In 2012, the entire operation was modernized and expanded into a 15 room hotel. The hotel draws its name from the Harrington family that designed, built and lived in the original house for over 50 years.

In the 1920′s, James S.and his son Maurice James Harrington planned the house for the family’s main residence. The home was purposely located next door to the Harrington & Company dairy plant which the father-son team, owned and operated in Dushore. At one time the Harrington’s milk and ice cream plant in Dushore was the largest single employer in Sullivan County and thus, an essential factor in the welfare of Sullivan County.

The Harrington family was of Irish descent. Maurice’s father, James S. Harrington was born in 1851 the eleventh of twelve children by Cornelius Harrington, an emigrant from the county of Kerry in Ireland and his wife Mary Ann Litzelswope. In 1880, James S. married Margaret Gahan in Elmira, New York. The couple had five children – Maurice James (1886), Mildred [Snyder], Mary, Helen (d. 3 y/o) and Margaret (d. l y/o).

Maurice James or MJ, the only boy, married Mary Lane in 1910 and they, along with their children Robert Maurice and Margaret [Peg] lived in the house until the mid 1940′s when they passed the house to their daughter and her husband, Jack Gerrity. The Gerrity’s then raised their five children, John Martin, Mary Kathleen, Patrick Maurice, Peggy Ann and Maureen, in the Harrington House.

After spending the final years of their life in the Harrington House living with their daughter Peg and son-in-law Jack, Mary Lane Harrington died in 1976 at the age of 90 and Maurice died in 1979 at the age of 92 at the Harrington House.

The Harrington House has an interesting history beginning with the lot. The home’s lot had another house on it, so instead of tearing it down, wheels were used to move it down the street. The House’s style blended Georgian Colonial and Colonial Revival styles which were popular in the early 1900′s and it’s cinder block walls with brick fascia made for a stately appearance. However, the simplicity of design and classical refinements, set the Harrington House apart from the more elaborate Victorians that dominated Dushore’s streets due to an abundance of lumber. Because Harrington located the house as close to the ice cream plant, known to locals as “The Creamery,” as possible, he used the steam generated from the dairy’s heating system to heat the house as well. An above ground, insulated pipe crossed through the back of the neighboring Litzelman property.

Smoke bellowed from the tall (300-350 feet) high, yellow, brick smoke stack with HARRINGTON and CO. accented in black bricks while dump trucks would carry coal from a very large coal pile [located where the current town sewer equipment sits] and make the short haul to a dumping station on the side of the Creamery. The coal was burned to heat water tanks that would not only produce steam to heated the Harrington Creamery and house, but also, the steam provided the power for the town’s fire whistle.

The front entrance to the Harrington House was offset from the center of the facade, breaking the rules of central door symmetry, but allowed a more practical use of the interior space. The gable roof was accented by a circular dormer and central chimney. The house was framed with classical cornices and dentil moldings. The plentiful, large windows on all floors were rectangular, iron clad, multiple paned and arranged symmetrically around the house. The front door was framed with a portico, pediment and pillars. A side porch ran along the north side of the house and contained three entrances to the home. A sun room accented the back of the house on the second floor.

The interior featured walnut woodwork, crown moldings, pocket doors and rosette glass knobs. A walnut stairway and banister complimented walnut moldings that framed the windows and doorways throughout the house. The walls were plaster and room flooring was narrow-planked hardwood. Black and white tile lay in the main hallways.

Both the interior and exterior of the home remained virtually unchanged until 1983, when the Harrington House began the second chapter of its history without a Harrington. In 1983, Jerry and Aimee Plastow purchased the house to establish a dental business and raise their three children.

The Plastows changed the facade of the house; new energy efficient windows were installed and a few interior walls were removed for better functioning. The kitchen was overhauled, back porch enclosed for a laundry room and side porch sealed off for the children’s playroom. The ground floor was converted into dental office space. One addition on the lower level added a two car garage and a second addition on the north side increased the square footage of the living area.

In 1992, the Plastows purchased the adjoining Troutwein property which was on the south-side of the house. This added a second lot to the property, increased the dental business parking and provided more outdoor space for the growing family.

The next chapter in the house’s history began in 2009 when the Plastows decided to expand the commercial use of the property. In addition to the dental office which occupied most of the lower level, the upper two levels were converted into a Bed and Breakfast and the property was renamed the Harrington House B&B.

The success of the bed and breakfast and the opportunity to purchased the Litzelman property on the north side, motivated the Plastows to expand the business. In early 2012, the couple began planning to build an annex on the north side of the Harrington House, to convert the B&B rooms to hotel rooms and to use the main rooms of the house as a meeting and event space called The Two-Twenty House. By November 2013, the north annex with 10 guest rooms, an exercise room, a laundry room and an expanded breakfast/social room was added. A new front entrance, reception areas and breakfast room were created to tie both the south wing and north wing together.

Today the hotel boasts of the only hotel in Dushore with modern amenities.

The Ice Cream Business: Harrington and Company

  • Maurice Harrington

    Maurice (MJ) Harrington, Founder of the dairy industry in Sullivan County

  • Harrington Ice Cream Truck

The Harrington family is credited with the founding of the dairy industry in Sullivan County. In the early 1900′s James S. Harrington was a dealer in farm products, and particularly cream for the manufacturing of butter. In 1907, James established a small dairy product’s plant in Dushore along with his son Maurice James (MJ) Harrington, a dairy management graduate of Pennsylvania State University. Beginning with borrowed equipment, a horsepower boiler, a churn, a cream vat and seven cream cans, the two men collected cream from nearby farmers and processed it at their butter manufacturing plant in Dushore. In 1910, James S. Harrington retired from the business and Maurice was placed in charge of operations. Maurice expanded operations by introducing “modem methods and practices.” Around 1912, MJ started manufacturing ice cream, condensed milk, powder milk, and fluid milk processing and bottling. MJ took an active part in the encouragement and development of the agricultural and dairy interests of the county, which has resulted in better crops and increased milk production.

In 1919, MJ organized a corporation called Harrington & Company of which he was President, E.M. Dunne, Vice-president and his sister Mildred was Secretary and Treasurer. It was during the next 27 years that the company developed with milk receiving plants in Benton, Rushville, Leraysville, New Era, Estella and Fairdale. Ice cream distributing plants were established in Sayre, Towanda, Wellsboro, Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. In 1929 a new milk dispensing plant was built in Newark, New Jersey to which 2 cars of bottled milk were shipped via railroad from Dushore daily. The Wilkes-Barre plant was enlarged and modernized to handle both ice cream and milk. Several small dealers were purchased by Harrington and Co. in the Scranton area in order to enlarge the Scranton plant. In 1917, an addition to the Dushore plant, a condensing plant was completed so that the Company could ship cream and ice cream mixtures to manufactures of ice cream in the East.

Harrington’s ice cream product attained a wide distribution and established a name well-known throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New York State.
The Harrington milk was sold under the trade name of Glendale Farms in the cities of Wilkes-Barre, Scranton and Newark. The ice cream was always sold as Harrington’s Ice Cream. During the peak of the Harrington operations, the milk from over 1200 farms was purchased, processed and sold. The daily intake exceeded 750,000 pounds of milk, during the flush season. During the Second World War, the company operations were somewhat restricted, although all operations continued.

In April, 1946, after a series of negotiations, the Harrington & Company interests were merged with the Philadelphia Dairies, who sold ice cream under the Dolly Madison label. Maurice Harrington left the company in 1946. The operation continued with some changes in policy and aims until April, 1956, when they merged into the Foremost Dairies Company.

The Foremost Dairies ran into difficulties with the Federal Trade Commission and was forced to divest itself of its more recent acquisitions. Dushore was one area which was badly affected. The Dushore plant closed in approximately 1973. As a result farmers had to seek a new market for their milk and many employees lost their jobs. The 125 foot brick stack, bearing the name HARRINGTON & CO. was torn down.

MJ Harrington was also president of the Sullivan Silk Company, at Dushore, and was dedicated to the general betterment of Sullivan County.

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