This week we’re back in Harrington, Washington with Karen Allen of Hotel Lincoln, The Electric Hotel. Karen and her husband Jerry have a love for restoration and their work on this hotel, originally built in 1902, is a labor of love that is ten years in the making. It was called The Electric Hotel because the building was provisioned for electricity before the City of Harrington had electricity supplied to the town. At the time it was very innovative and a cornerstone for the development of Harrington. Now Karen and Jerry want it to be the cornerstone for redevelopment.
Living in the middle of nowhere was never a thought that crossed this city girl’s mind! I know you’ve heard this scenario a time or two — “city girl meets country boy.” I can truly say there is something that magically happens when country meets city. I call it, “Wheat and Roses.” In my early 20’s, falling in love with my farmer/rancher was all things exciting, new, and came with lots of learning curves. This new found country lifestyle was packed full of changes for me.
In 1980 I moved back to Harrington to work the family wheat farm. This allowed me to independently develop my art and design career. With the newly regenerated community enthusiasm in Harrington to awaken the past, and push to the future, a new spirit has arisen. I have spear headed the effort to repaint and electrify old and new neon and signage to enhance the downtown look. My past love for graphics has now found a new life in Harrington. I have become a passionate member of the Rural Revival.
I left my job working for the county almost four years ago to be more available to our ranch. Even though our older boys became extremely helpful, there was always more to do as we grew our herd and then of course our family. We had Cass in 2016 and my role on the ranch took a different turn. Looking for ways to create income from home while chasing a toddler, Ag Swag was born.
While Josh always dreamed of one day owning and operating a farm, there was one problem: neither he nor I had a family farm to come back to. Josh’s dad worked as a farm manager locally, and that’s where he realized his love of farming. In 2006, we heard through the small-town grapevine that a farmer named Jim in Harrington was getting ready to retire and didn’t know yet what he wanted to do with his farm. Josh decided he was just going to write Jim a letter and I remember him saying, “What’s the worst he can say? No?”
I know growing up in a small town and a farming community has helped me exponentially in life, from work ethic to common knowledge and motivation to go out and accomplish something I want to achieve. I think all kids should have to spend a summer working harvest or stretching miles of fence. It seems to give people a different level of respect for the things that you have to work for in life. I want my children in the future to know the value of hard work and a handshake...I want them to grow up in a community like this.
This week on the podcast we’re in Harrington, Washington (pop. 424) with Justin and Heather Slack of The Post & Office — a local coffee shop and co-working space. As self-described ‘accidental business owners,’ Justin and Heather are sharing about their quick move to Harrington and the adventures that have followed — from opening up new businesses to Justin’s new role as mayor. Plus, you’ll appreciate the perspective they gained from their time spent living in a big city, and the ‘why’ behind everything they’re doing: to bring the community together.