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A Visit to Harrington Tower

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

It's always a pleasure to visit a restored railroad interlocking tower. It is gratifying that folks are so enamored in the history of such structures that they take the effort to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. Such is the case in Harrington, Delaware, where the Greater Harrington Historical Society saw to it that their local treasure got saved from demolition when it was no longer needed by the railroad.

I was joined on a recent Sunday by my friend Darren Reynolds as we ventured to "The Hub of Delaware" for a visit. (We also visited some lighthouses along the way, but that's a different story.)

There was a tower at Harrington as early as 1909, fifty-three years after the Pennsylvania Railroad came to Harrington, but the present structure which replaced the earlier one was built in 1920. It was staffed with operators directing traffic along the mainline and into the station yard until technology intervened in 1981 and the tower was closed. Later that year the Greater Harrington Historical Society purchased the building from Conrail (successor to PRR and then Penn Central) converting it into a museum. Today, the railroad that runs through town is Norfolk Southern.

Also on display adjacent to the tower is a watch box for a crossing watchman, originally from Farmington, Delaware. A 1926 Pennsylvania Railroad caboose was donated to the museum by Conrail in 1988.

The tower is open by appointment weekdays from 11 A.M. to 3 P.M., and on the third Sunday of the month from 2 P.M. to 4 P.M.

Twenty-four hours notice is requested. Visits may be arranged by calling 302-398-3698.