History

Harrison Walker & Harper is the oldest general contractor in Texas, and arguably the most resilient.  The company’s founding in 1887 in Paris, Texas, coincided with two arrivals — the railroads, and John Winn Harrison, who sought to take advantage of the resulting building boom.

1889
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One of Harrison’s first jobs was the roof of the Wise Mansion in Paris, pictured here.


“…many of the handsome buildings in Paris are a monument to their skill.  It may also be stated that their work has, in nearly every instance, been most satisfactory to the owners, because neither of these gentlemen would take advantage of any loop-hole in a contract to slight the work, either from a material or mechanical standpoint…”

— Paris Chamber of Commerce publication, 1899


1932
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First aircraft hangar at Legion Field


1961
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Campbell Soup foundation planned by Charlie Walker


1973
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Harrison & Walker Metal Buildings Systems formed


1979
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Harrison, Walker & Harper Inc. formed


1887
John Harrison’s daughter Alma’s birth certificate dated February 5 lists her father’s occupation as “contractor,” the first documented date in the company’s history, and basis for founding.

1890-1918
Harrison and his early partners build large elaborate homes for civic and business leaders, which become showcases for fine craftsmanship and new materials.

1929-1936
Following steady growth through the 1920s, the company survives the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II largely on repair work.

1932
The firm completes its first aircraft hangar at Legion Field for $700 — a precursor to the $10 million hangar HWH would build for E-Systems in the 1980s.

1936
The introduction of Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans revitalizes homebuilding activity for Harrison & Son and the industry.  Barney Harrison becomes principal owner upon the death of J.W.

1947
Barney’s son J.W. Harrison II joins his father as partner, shortly after returning from overseas service during WWII.  Post war economic expansion brings more diversification in the late 1940s and 1950s.

1954
Barney Harrison’s unexpected death makes J.W. II sole owner, and he successfully moves the company forward.

1959-1969
Charlie Walker joins J.W. Harrison II as engineer and equal partner in the company.   He develops the site layout for a Campbell Soup production facility and many new industrial and institutional projects into the 1960s.

1970
Chip Harper, J.W. II’s stepson, joins full-time, marking the company’s fourth generation as a family-owned business.

1973
Harper takes the helm of the company’s Delta Steel Building franchise and quickly achieves record sales for the region.

1979
The construction and building systems companies merge as Harrison Walker & Harper.

1989
Chip Harper acquires sole ownership of the firm upon the retirement of the other partners, with sons Holland and Jordan on board as the fifth generation.

1990
New projects in the industrial and aviation segments help propel further growth and development throughout the 1990s.

2000
HWH marks its largest project to date in terms of area, the 766,000 SF Sterilite manufacturing facility in Ennis, Texas.

2011
HWH launches The HWH Group, providing capital strategies and leveraging tax credit and location expertise. We Pack Logistics achieves SQF Level 3 certification and adds Dallas warehouse, fulfillment and packaging center.

2012
The company consolidates leadership and staff in newly renovated office facilities at 2510 South Church Street in Paris.

2013
HWH Engineering established to provide civil engineering services for customers.

2014
Steadily increasing federal work on bases in central and south Texas expands the HWH San Antonio team.

 

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Harrison Walker & Harper.