purchased the property later that year and Harrison was connected to outside world.
The next few years saw the opening of the First National Bank of Harrison, the Opera House, various drug, grocery, hardware, furniture, clothing & jewelry stores along with tailoring, blacksmithing and shoemaker shops, and restaurants, hotels and a hospital. For a time around the turn of the century Harrison was the largest town in Kootenai County. In 1911 the City Directory reported a population of 1,250. Harrison’s growth was a result of the development of 8 or more sawmills & box factories. With the mills and woods jobs, approx. 280 men were employed with a combined monthly payroll around $25,000. Millions of board feet of timber were stored in the lake at Harrison. Lake Coeur d’Alene and the St.Joe and Coeur d’Alene rivers were the major transportation routes for timber coming out of the areas forests.
In 1917 the Grant Lumber Company caught fire and the ensuing blaze consumed about half of the business district. Much of the town was never rebuilt. The easiest way to get to Harrison was by water. The OWR&N Company which absorbed the OR&N railroad, constructed a 600 passenger steamer called “The Harrison” for transportation. There were several other steamers such as the Georgie Oakes that carried passengers and freight making the depot a popular place for area children. Passenger service was discontinued in the early 1920’s but they continued to haul freight until 1932 when the line was abandoned.
Many early day photo’s are on display at the Crane Historical Society Museum along with a lot of information about Harrison. Community spirit continues today with the Old Time Picnic, which is always held the last weekend in July.
“The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes” is a welcome addition to the Harrison area. The Trail is 72 miles of easy riding and runs from Plummer to Mullan. If you have time, bring your bike (or rent one) and see for yourself.
There have been changes in ownership of some businesses, some new businesses up & running , and more expected. Check it out.