Harrington celebrates 150th anniversary with incorporation dinner

Gov. John Carney, Harrington Vice Mayor Amy Minner, Harrington Mayor Tony Moyer, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Sen. Chris Coons, Chad Robinson and Rob Taylor joined community members Saturday night to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of Harrington. Delaware State News/Jennifer Antonik

HARRINGTON — On the seams of growth and prosperity, the city of Harrington was incorporated March 23, 1869, with the help of a handwritten act voted on by the 75th Delaware General Assembly under the leadership of Governor Dr. Gove Saulsbury.

One-hundred and fifty years later to the day, the dinner party of the sesquicentennial was held at the Harrington Raceway and Casino in honor of that landmark decision for the city.

“March 23, 1869 – let that sink in for a minute. . . 150 years ago today,” Chad Robinson told the crowd Saturday night. “Think about the people of that era. Think about how much the world has changed since that time. Think about what those individuals were thinking about on this very evening. . .”

The 150th anniversary committee chairperson said he hoped the first leaders in Harrington celebrated over dinner and festivities, much like they were doing just nights ago, “to honor the incorporation of their new city.”

The incorporation dinner is just one of many events and celebrations to be honored throughout Harrington over the next year, he added.
“I have never seen a year-long series of activities that you all have put together for the 150th anniversary of your town. So, hands together for all of you,” Gov. John Carney said during the event.

Recalling a time when he visited Lewes for another significant anniversary, he chuckled, saying, “They had one church event. . . Harrington said no way. We’re going to have ten events and we’re going to top it off with a version of Harringtonopoly. That’s impressive.”

Many speeches were centered around the history of Harrington which started when Benjamin Clark opened a tavern where the road from Milford intersected with the road from Frederica, according to the Delaware Public Archives.

The community of Clark’s Corner grew out of this location. The railroad, which brought with it a stagecoach stop, became a place where people passed through for travel and goods. It was the end of the line for travelers, Mr. Robinson said, emphasizing the importance of Harrington as the “Hub of Delaware.”

“This much valued and highly respected community,” Sen. Dave Wilson explained, “served a vital role in railroad industry.”

He added the 150th anniversary was an “extraordinary milestone” while reading a Senate tribute addressed to the growing community now touting more than 4,000 residents.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., also expressed her “warmest congratulations” to the city “steeped in history and tradition.”

She added, “Tonight, we learned that there’s a new term for Harrington: Where Delaware comes together.”

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., echoed her remarks, along with other speakers throughout the evening.

After a catered dinner and photos to mark the memorable night, Mr. Robinson wrapped up the speeches by saying, “I think to sum it up, five words say it best: Happy birthday, city of Harrington.”

For more information on upcoming events, visit www.harrington150th.org.

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

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