Harry Winford Morrison came to Idaho from Illinois in his early 20s to work on the Lucky Peak Dam.  Seeing opportunities in government subsidized irrigation projects, he started a Boise construction engineering firm in 1914 with Morris Knudsen, who he met while working on the New York Canal project.  The Morrison Knudsen Company played a crucial role in developing the area.  They were responsible for completing projects such as Bogus Basin, the Cascade Reservoir, and Boise Memorial Bridge as well as numerous roads, railroad lines, and power projects.  Harry traveled all over the world with his wife Ann, securing large jobs such as the Three Mile Falls Dam, the Hoover Dam, the San Francisco Bay Bridge, the Grand Coulee Dam, and the subway system in Buenos Aires. 

 

Harry and Ann lived at 912 Harrison Blvd. in the historic North End.  Ann Morrison was known as “the First Lady of Construction” and traveled with her husband from project to project.   In 1951, she wrote a book about their 37 years in the construction business called Those Were the Days. She was described as being an incredibly kind and generous person and was the driving force in the formation of the Morrison Knudsen Foundation—a charitable organization that continues to help those in need today.  When she passed away in 1957, the company magazine paid the following tribute: “And now she is gone. But, the eternal radiant spirit that never dies and that glowed in her heart, warming the hearts of her beloved construction people the world around, will live on as a cherished inspiration.” She was buried in the Morris Hill Cemetery.  In 1959, Harry purchased 153 acres of land on the Boise River and Morrison-Knudsen employees built Ann Morrison Park in her honor.  

 

After Ann’s death, Harry married Velma Shannon, a California restaurant owner.  His company became a major builder of missile facilities and also expanded into mining.  Harry died July 19, 1971, at the age of 86. In 1996, Morrison Knudsen Company was acquired by Washington Group for $380 million.  Today, the company and its owners are still remembered for their contributions to our city and for the employment of its citizens.