The turn of the century saw rapid development in the Texas Panhandle, ranging from the growth of the cattle industry to the discovery of oil and gas. Harrington House represents both eras. Built in 1914 by cattlemen John and Pat Landergin, the House was acquired in 1940 and preserved by Don and Sybil Harrington, leaders in the oil and gas industry and generous contributors to numerous philanthropic causes. Harrington House is an example of the Neoclassical style, with exquisite materials and workmanship prevalent throughout the home. Reception Hall is resplendent with original tapestry wall covering, 18th century parquet de Versailles flooring and a 1697 relief-carved pine mirror, among other significant furnishings.
In designing Harrington House, Shepard, Farrar and Wiser of Kansas City, Missouri, adopted the Neoclassical style, which borrows freely from earlier colonial details. Of particular significance are the virtually symmetrical façade, a full-height entry defined by fluted columns, and balustrades at both the porch and roof levels. Building materials of the finest quality include wire-cut tapestry brick, smooth-cut stone window surrounds, handsome wrought iron, and a Ludowici tile roof.
Fine furnishings and appointments, some of which are original to the house and others which were carefully selected by the Harringtons, enhance the hospitable atmosphere of Harrington House. Warmth of Harrington House becomes apparent upon first glance into the Library. Quarter-sawn oak paneling, leaded glass detail, and tracery on the ceiling seem to transport visitors into Tudor England. The focal point of the Library is a portrait of Mrs. Harrington, who gave the house to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society in 1983. Harrington House was later conveyed to the Amarillo Area Foundation, which manages the endowment established in the continuing tradition of Harrington philanthropy.
Architectural details abound throughout Harrington House, including the fireplace and mantel, which serve as a dramatic focal point in the Drawing Room. The piano-finish mahogany on three pairs of pocket doors, two pairs of French doors, window surrounds, and radiator covers more than suggests the Harringtons’ commitment to preservation. Original lighting fixtures and exact reproduction of the original silk damask wall covering echo that commitment.
Attention to detail captures the visitor’s eye at every turn. A pair of George III-style gilt wood mirrors visually enlarges the small vestibule. Beneath one of the mirrors stands a Regency side cabinet, circa 1810, balanced on the opposite wall by a banquette cushioned with fine 18th century needlepoint.
Fine French and English furniture, exquisite porcelain, crystal, silver, and fine paintings are enjoyed in the setting of the gracious home of Don and Sybil Harrington. A 17th century Pieter Janssens Elinga painting reflected in the rare Queen Anne bureau bookcase, circa 1710, became the inspiration
for the Red Room.
The Harrington collection of decorative arts represents the best from artisans past and present. In the Reception Hall, gilt urn-shaped finials made especially for Harrington House in 1954, blend in harmony with the home’s original newel posts and with 18th century oak flooring. Together, the collection represents the Harringtons’ interest in preserving the decorative and fine arts.