Harrington Heritage Day:

History and Engines in Southern Delaware

| January/February 1993

In 1810, Benjamin Clark picked a corner on a southern Delaware intersection for erection of his home and an inn. Mispillion Hundred, the area where the corner was located, was home to numerous good and wealthy farmers. As the local farmers retired, they built homes surrounding Clark's Corner and a town grew.

The arrival of the railroad in the late 1850's helped the growth along, and in 1866 the state legislature changed the name of the town to Harrington, in honor of then state chancellor Samuel Maxwell Harrington. By 1869, the town was incorporated.

Harrington is located in the center of the Delmarva Peninsula and has long been a diversified agricultural center. In 1919 the Kent and Sussex Fair Association was organized here, and it is still the location of Delaware's only state fair.

In the midst of this rich, historical area, an informal group of 30 or 40 gas engine enthusiasts from around the state hold an annual get-together in conjunction with a town celebration, Harrington Heritage Day.

Here at the dealership, one will see a number of exhibitors of engines and tractors. One of the more unusual of these is Melvin Fox of nearby Milton, who runs an antique military braiding machine with a small gas engine.

The big surprise of the day, however, is that at Taylor & Messick there is an enormous private museum, Messick's Agricultural Museum, housed in a series of long metal buildings and sheds.