For most of its history, the Hotel Harrington was a private residence for two families – the Harrington family and the Plastow family. The home was converted into a five-room, Harrington House Bed and Breakfast in 2009. In 2012, the entire operation was modernized and expanded into a 14 room hotel. The hotel draws its name from the original 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.
Maurice’s father, James S. Harrington married Margaret Gahan. 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.
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. 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 pipe crossed through the back of the neighboring property to the Harrington House.
Smoke bellowed from the tall (300-350 feet) high, yellow, brick smoke stack with HARRINGTON and CO. accented in black bricks. The coal was burned to heat water tanks that produced steam to heat the Harrington Creamery and house, as well as power for the town’s fire whistle.
The Harrington House began the second chapter of its history, in 1983 when Jerry and Aimee Plastow purchased the house to establish a dental business and their residence. In 1992, the Plastows purchased the adjoining property which was on the south-side of the house. In 2009 they expand the commercial use of the property by converting the upper two levels of the house into a Bed and Breakfast called the Harrington House B&B.
The success of the bed and breakfast and the opportunity to purchased the property on the north side, motivated the Plastows to expand the business. In 2012, the couple built a 10-room annex on the north side of the Harrington House which converted the B&B to the Hotel Harrington with both a south and a north wing. An exercise room, a laundry room and an expanded breakfast/social room was added as well as a new front entrance, reception area and breakfast room.
Today, it is the only hotel in Dushore.
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.