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Municipal Heritage Committee recognizes Harrow’s history



by Sylene Argent

Harrow’s rich history is now posted for everyone to read about as the Essex Municipal Heritage Committee unveiled the sixth municipal-wide commemoration piece in its Heritage Plaque program last Thursday afternoon.

The new plaque, which is the first to be displayed in Harrow through the program, is located at the entrance of the Harrow Veteran’s Memorial Park. It was unveiled just as the 164th annual Harrow Fair got underway last week.

“These plaques are designed to engage residents and visitors with local history. One of our community’s greatest assets,” Essex Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said, who is also the Chairperson of the Essex Municipal Heritage Committee.

“This interpretive plaque tells a story, a story of how Harrow came to be. It traces the community’s roots, starting in 1824 with the introduction of Plan 202, known as the Hopetown Survey, which drew the boundaries for the community on 850 acres of land,” Meloche explained.

He added the swampland surrounded the remote outpost. Its origins had slow growth initially, until the late 1800s when, “Hiram Walker’s railway brought a boom of commercial activity and trade, providing farmers access to new markets and bolstering the local economy.”  

The historical plaque, Meloche added, also recognizes the important role agriculture has played in the growth of the community.

“Today, Harrow continues to reflect the pioneer spirit of its early settlers and is recognized as being a community dedicated to fostering innovation, creativity, and pride of place amongst its residents,” Meloche said.

Meloche thanked the members of the Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society, the Essex & Community Historical Research Society, and the Essex Municipal Heritage Committee for the time they dedicated to providing the historical content and photos for the plaque.   

  The plaque includes a photo of the first Harrow Council, circa 1930, which is the same year it officially became a town. Before that, the area was known unofficially as Munger’s Corners. It also highlights the early origins of the Harrow Research and Development Centre, which began in 1909 as the research facility known as the Harrow Tobacco Station.

 The plaque also highlights that there were devastating fires in 1894 and 1895 along the main street, but the business community was able to rebuild.

 Richard Herniman, President of the Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society, said the Heritage Plaque Program was a great idea to implement, and because of the newest plaque, community residents can now easily learn bout 200-plus years of Harrow history.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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