Harriston Historical Society member releases book on local building history

HARRISTON – As the COVID-19  pandemic brought many organizations to a halt, the Harriston Historical Society suspended all group activities, and the John Webb history room in the local library has been closed for eight months.

But behind the scenes one dedicated member, chair Mark MacKenzie, has continued to be a regular at the Wellington County Museum and Archives in Aboyne. Between in-person visits and online access he has tallied up hundreds of hours over the years following up on queries from individuals wanting history on either their families or their house.

His late parents, Grant and Shirley MacKenzie, were dedicated historical and genealogical researchers, so MacKenzie was entrenched in antiquity from an early age. The three MacKenzies have traveled around the country searching cemeteries, libraries and municipal records to complete information for family trees

At the January 2020 board meeting of the Harriston Historical Society someone asked if MacKenzie was aware of the history of a certain house in town.  He then told the group that he had for some time been investigating Harriston houses.  His goal (or dream) was to find the history of each older house, and he had been physically going up and down every street taking pictures and doing the research.

What captivated him was that so many of these buildings were the subject of fascinating anecdotes. The executive  of the society encouraged him to continue his efforts.

MacKenzie’s efforts have at last come to fruition.  His new book Beyond Harriston’s Boulevards, is hot off the press and ready for sales before Christmas.  For information contact MacKenzie at 226-337-0755 or mark2641@gmail.com.

MacKenzie and the Harriston Historical Society extended thanks to the Wellington County Museum and Archives staff, plus the Wellington County Historical Society.

“The mandate of the county society is to foster public awareness of the rich history and heritage of Wellington County and as such financial assistance was gratefully accepted towards the production of this newest chronicle,” Harriston Historical Society officials state.

Willa Wick