Transportation is the key to survival for small towns. Harrington is no different, depending first on horses, then trains, then automobiles to bring in visitors and residents. The many businesses that once stood on 9 North Third Street tell the history of the changing face of transportation in Harrington. The Studebaker shop currently occupies this piece of property, one in a long line of automobile businesses in Harrington. It started out in the 1800s as a livery stable, most likely the O.K. Livery Stables owned by the McInnis brothers. When the livery burned down in 1916, a new building was built on the land, and the first business to occupy it was the Harrington Garage.
By the 1940's the Harrington Ford Motor Co, with W.B. Hose acting as mechanic moved into this location. The business continued to change and by the 1960s it had transitioned into the Harrington Motor Co. & Ford Sales. By the 1980s the building had become the Grange Automotive Service, also known as the Grange Auto Service Garage. When that went out of business, the building sat empty for a while before A.J. Barth bought and renovated it in 2011 for his Studebaker shop. Barth now fixes classic Studebakers and services old Fords, giving a nod to the history of the building.
The popular shift from horses to motor cars also affected other businesses in Harrington. Stone pillars were built on either side of the north-central highway in 1930 on the approach to Harrington to welcome visitors. These pillars remain visible today. In the 1960s the first drive-in restaurant, the Buy-n-Bye, was built on the north end of Harrington, along with a Chevron Station nearby. In August of 1970 Harrington received its first blinking red stop light, installed at the corner of Main and Third Street, where highways 28 and 23 intersected, in the hopes that it would be more noticeable than the stop sign that had been there previously.
As the shift to motor cars had an effect on Harrington, so did the highway changes. Designated in 1913, State Route 28 was one of the first cross state highways in Washington. Also known as the Sunset Highway, it runs right through Harrington and brought much needed visitors to the small town. In 1923 it became State Route 7 and was already competing with Route 2 through Davenport as a major roadway for the small towns that littered it landscape. The businesses in Harrington reflected the change and by the 1950s and 1960s, Interstate 90 was created, redirecting traffic around Harrington and taking it off the beaten path.