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Eau Claire and Bow River Lumber Company fonds


Physical Description:
53.5 cm of textual records. -- 10 photographs

In the early 1880s Kutusoff MacFee, an Ottawa lawyer, hired a number of experts from the logging centre of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA to investigate timber stands west of Calgary, Alberta. The experts reported favourably, and MacFee obtained the rights on 100 square miles (260 square kilometres) of timber flanking the Bow, Kananaskis and Spray Rivers. The Eau Claire and Bow River Lumber Company was chartered by the state of Wisconsin in 1883 to exploit the timber. The company's president, Isaac Kendall Kerr, and its manager of operations, Peter A. Prince, were both from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Charles E. Carr became manager in 1916. The company remained American until 1928 when its was reorganized. In 1886 a mill was set up in Calgary and two logging camps were established, one on the Kananaskis and one on the Bow at Silver City west of Banff. Timber was cut every winter, floated to Calgary in spring, and sawed into lumber in summer and fall. Log drives continued until 1944, and the Calgary mill ceased operations in 1945. Until around 1900 the mill had been the main source of lumber in the Calgary area. The lumber supply portion of the company, Eau Claire Sawmills Ltd., was sold to Northern Asbestos and Building Supplies Ltd. in 1955. I.K. Kerr and Peter Prince's other enterprise was the Calgary Water Power Company, Calgary's sole source of electrical power for 1889-1906. The company was bought by the Calgary Power Company in 1928. For further information see "The Wooden River" in The River Returns : An Environmental History of the Bow / Christopher Armstrong, H. V. Nelles and Matthew Evenden. -- Montreal / Kingston : McGill-Queen's University Press, 2009, p. 86-119.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of Eau Claire and Bow River Lumber Co. records: Canadian licence (1886); correspondence (1883-1914); articles of association; agreements, bylaws, and legal cases (1883-1954); balance sheets (1916-1950); financial statements (1938-1953); monthly operating statements (1937-1941); tax records (1915-1941); lists of employees and accident reports (1918-1923); photographs of company buildings (1928, 1940s) and officials (ca. 1883) and Kananaskis lumber camp (1880s or 1890s); share certificates; shareholders' records (1889-1950); company appraisal (1928); inventory; company history; crown timber returns (1910-1912); field notes (nd); plans and maps; account books of Ghost Camp (1921-1922); and miscellany. Includes Eau Claire Sawmills Ltd. records: annual statements (1928-1941), company appraisal (1945), stock ledger, employee statistics (1942), photographs of mill (1928, 1947); and Calgary Water Power Co. Ltd. records: bylaws (nd), balance sheets (1923-1929), legal cases (1913-1923), and maps and plans of water system and holdings of the company.

Source of Acquisition:
Gifts of Northern Asbestos/Eau Claire Lumber Building Supplies, Ltd., Helen Carr McCormick and Mary Lou Scott, 1963-2006.

The material is in English.

No restrictions on access.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Other Eau Claire records are in the Isaac Kendall Kerr fonds, Peter Prince fonds, and Carr/McCormick Family fonds at Glenbow.

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-1564, M-1565, M-8324, M-9167, PA-703, NA-1015

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