Three brothers, John, Robert and William Harrison, established mills in Owen Sound. Robert had a grist (flour) mill; William ran a carding (woollen) mill and John had a saw mill.
John’s first saw mill was located along the Sydenham River near the other two mills but after it was flooded out, he relocated it to a location on the Pottawatomi River. John Harrison died in 7 February 1902 but the business continued under the name John Harrison and Sons. An advertisement in Owen Sound on the Georgian Bay Canada (1911) said the company manufactured: pine, hardwood and hemlock timbers, lumber, sash doors, flooring, siding, etc.” This booklet also includes ten photographs of the different stages of the lumber industry.
In an article in the Daily Sun Times of 8 January 1938, E. J. Harrison, President of the company was interviewed. John Harrison and Sons was a year round business. The company had a winter camp at Fitzwilliam Island.
Business had improved in 1937. A housing shortage resulted in the need for lumber due to the renovation of many of the big houses being renovated and made into apartments. The company also provided lumber for the building of Strathcona School, new private residences and the docks on the west side of the harbour near the elevator.
The Company had a tug, the Harrison and a barge for towing and transporting raw material down from the north shore of Lake Huron.
Although this thriving business no longer exists, the family name lives on in the community.
Be sure to visit the 2017 featured exhibit to learn about other Owen Sound industries that played an important part in the life of the people of Owen Sound and area.