The Harrington School is considered the birthplace of public education west of the Mississippi. The school was named after local legislator and first mayor of American Fork, Leonard Harrington. Built in 1903 by renowned architect Richard C. Watkins, State Architect of Schools, the Harrington School survives today as the oldest and most significant example of educational architecture in American Fork and one of the few remaining buildings of its kind in Utah.

  

 The Harrington School, American Fork, UT

The Harrington School, American Fork, UT

Design 

The Harrington School is a fine example of the Victorian Romanesque style which dominated educational architecture in Utah around the turn of the century. The school is one of two remaining public buildings in this style in American Fork -- the other is the recently renovated City Hall standing south of the school, also built in 1903. Characteristics of the style include round arched doorways, entryways and windows, rough-faced brick accents, and a rough stone foundation. Original interior features include wainscoting, stairways, blackboards, paneled doors and maple floors.


 Peteetneet School, Payson, UT

Peteetneet School, Payson, UT

Richard C. Watkins, Architect

Richard C. Watkins, State Architect of Schools who, during his long career, designed some 240 school buildings. Watkins was especially active in the design of schools south of Salt Lake City. He designed several other schools, churches and commercial buildings in Utah County including the Peteetneet School in Payson. Watkins masterfully employed the Victorian Romanesque style in all of his schools of this period. 


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History of Education

The Harrington School was built in 1903 with a matching 1934 addition to the north.The expanded Harrington Elementary School continued in operation until the late 1960s when new elementary schools were built and its mission was changed slightly to accommodate learning disabled students. This use continued until about 1985 when a new facility for these students was constructed.