Created in 1886 as a result of the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad in the area, Harbine is situated on land donated by Fredrick Sandman, George H. Hansen, and Charles Letton. It was named for a prominent Fairbury banker and land promoter Col. Thomas Harbine.
In its history, the town include a blacksmith shop and wagon maker, a physician, a farm implement dealer, a hotel, a general store, and a windmill and pump business. One of the first buildings was a two-story depot with living quarters upstairs. Harbine was also home to a creamery which produced and shipped cheese and butter all over the United States at one time.
Disaster by recession, fire, and tornado took a toll on the community. The town’s bank closed in 1933. A fire in 1946 destroyed many of the businesses and they never rebuilt. A tornado in 1903 leveled the Congressional Church, one of thee churches to exist in the town’s tenure.