The Crane family first settled here in 1890. Incorporated in 1899, Harrison is located on a one-mile strip carved out of the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation by a bill signed by President Harrison on the night of March 4, 1891. Passengers arrived on the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company Railroad and by steamboat.
Gateway to the Mining District
Harrison prospered as a gateway to the Coeur d'Alene mining district and the development of timber and farming interests up the St. Joe and St. Maries rivers. The 1911 city directory reports a population of 1,250; names lumber, farming, and mining as the main industries; and lists four churches, numerous fraternal organizations, two hotels, a weekly newspaper, and a high school and grade school. Numerous sawmills turning out lumber, shingles, and material for boxes lined the waterfront. Sparks drifting uphill from the mills were common . Early Saturday morning on July 24, 1917, a fire broke out at the Grant Lumber Company. The fire, driven by high winds, burned for two days and destroyed about 30 residences, sawmills, and the business district. Much of the town was never rebuilt.