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Peter Prince (1836-1925)

Peter Prince photos, from Glenbow Archives NS-1360-2

“Peter Anthony Prince was born near Trois-Rivieres, Quebec May 4, 1836. Prince lived in Ontario where he learned the millwright trade and lumber business. In 1866 he migrated to northern Wisconsin where he joined the Northwestern Lumber Company and became an American citizen. Prince moved to Calgary in 1886 and became the Manager of the Eau Claire and Bow River Lumber Company, a position he held until 1916.

He built the first water wheel on the Bow River, he invented and patented the Sherboom (an important piece of logging equipment) and he dug out the lagoon that created Prince’s Island Park. He dug it out so he could better capture logs that came down the river from Kananaskis.

Prince quickly became involved in other business ventures and with I.K.Kerr, president of the lumber operation, built a flour mill and elevator which later became the Robin Hood Mill. The Robin Hood building was Calgary’s first skyscraper at the present Gulf Square on 9th Ave. and 3rd St.  Prince also operated Prince – Kerr ranch at Brooks, became president of the Calgary Iron Works, the Louis Petrie Company, and held an interest in the John Irwin Company grocery business.

In 1889 Prince signed a contract to supply Calgary with electricity and formed the Calgary Water Power Company which he ran until his death in January 1925 at age 89. Calgary’s Prince’s Island is named for the “lumber baron”, Peter Prince.”

In Calgary, Alberta’s Heritage Park there is a house known as the Prince House. The house was built in 1894 based on plans Peter found in the November 1893 edition of Scientific American, Architects and Builder’s Edition. It originally stood at 4th Avenue and 2nd Street in the Eau Claire district before being moved in 1967. Apparently ghosts are regularly sighted at the house.

At the young age of 80 he bought and learned to drive a Red Rambler, the first gas powered car in Calgary.

His family still owns the large Prince Kerr Ranch near Brooks.

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