Fifty miles west of Spokane sits the small town of Harrington, WA. A small hamlet of wheat farmers and railroad workers, the town boasted something a little unexpected: its very own luxury hotel. On January 11, 1902, the doors to the Hotel Lincoln were opened and it quickly became the place to stay on the way between Spokane and Everett. The hotel was (at its time) luxury at its finest featuring electricity, an upscale restaurant, and, after a remodel in 1912, steam heating. Harrington soon became a weekend getaway for the surrounding farmers, as well as Spokane residents looking for a good time just a short train ride away.
The town was founded in 1882 by land prospectors from California, in anticipation of the Great Northern Railroad making Harrington a depot on its route across the state. By 1901, the Harrington Improvement Society began plans to turn Harrington into the Chicago of the West. Along with water supply, electricity and the leasing of land, its main goal was to establish a hotel in Harrington to attract visitors. That building became the Hotel Lincoln, a two story brick building constructed with local materials. The timber was shipped from nearby and unloaded off trains just up the street from the hotel. Each brick was made by local company Pratt and Rehms, and laid by a construction group headed by J.E. Lowery. At its opening the hotel had 24 rooms, public restrooms and showers, a restaurant, and was fully staffed with cooks, waiters/waitresses, hostesses, and maid service.
In 1912, the hotel underwent renovation that added more rooms as well as employee living spaces, along with the steam heating unit. Rooms were rented out nightly but also at a monthly rate. Common guests included farmers, travelers of the railroad, investors, and socialites from Spokane. One of these socialites was a local celebrity. Although it is not documented, legend has it that Bing Crosby, who grew up in nearby Spokane, visited Harrington regularly with his brother to get away from relatives for nights of singing and drinking. While other hotels popped up in town, the Hotel Lincoln was the only one to stand the test of time remaining open until the 1980s.
The City Hall located across the street from the hotel was once used to house prisoners in a small jail house. Prisoners were occasionally lead across the street for lunch at the hotel. One day in the 1930s, due to the hotel's proximity to the train depot, three of these inmates decided to make a run for it. They bolted out of the hotel and onto the first moving train they could find. Unfortunately for them, trains can only go one way on the track, so the authorities knew exactly where they were going. Not far outside Harrington, the sheriff of Bluestem captured the fugitives and returned them to Harrington.
The hotel is currently under renovation and planning to open its doors once more to the public in the near future. The new owners are Jerry and Karen Allen. With past experience in the hotel and construction field they are resurrecting the Hotel Lincoln to once again become the place to be when traveling between Eastern and Western Washington. For more information you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.electrichotel.info.