Our Founder: Irving Red Harbour

I.C. Red Harbour

Our founder, Irving “Red” Harbour, was born in 1911 in the Chicagoland suburb of Elmhurst, Illinois. The seeds for his successful career in construction were initially planted in 1943 as he enlisted in the Army Corps. of Engineers during World War II. As an active member of the 1879th Engineering Aviation Battalion, Red Harbour was required to relocate to New Guinea and the Philippines. Upon arrival, his work included building airstrips, repairing highways, railroad bridges, and other local infrastructure in demand of repair or construction.

Building the First Toll Highways in Chicago

After retiring from the service, Red returned home to the United States. His expertise from the Philippines developed into a true skillset and craftsmanship. Red then operated and managed the construction services for some of the first toll highways in Chicago, the area’s tri-state tollway (I-90/I-294).

The Birth of the I.C. Harbour Construction Company

Red harbourDuring the construction of the tri-state tollway, he developed an everlasting bond and friendship with Paul Butler. At the time, Paul Butler owned Butler Paper. Their relationship strengthened with time, and the two collectively formed I.C. Harbour Construction Company in May of 1959. In the early years of I.C. Harbour Construction Company’s history, the team collaborated on notable projects such as the Chicago Skyway and the Dan Ryan Bridges over the Chicago River.

Construction for Noteworthy Oak Brook, IL Projects

Between the 1960s and 1970s, the two partners teamed up to build most of the buildings in Oak Brook, Illinois. Their construction contributions at the time included the noteworthy Drake Oak Brook Hotel and Butler National Golf Club.

Butler National GolfWith the great achievements of Red and Paul’s new construction company came the immediate need for more staff to join and support the growing team. During this time, all five of Red’s sons joined the company. The five brothers strongly expanded the firm’s service area to much of the Midwest.

Red, Senior, and BobbyEventually, the Harbour family bought out the Butler family’s share of the I.C. Harbour Construction Company. With all the Harbour’s on board, the company’s name evolved to Harbour Contractors, Inc. As the company’s name changed, Harbour has continued building significant structures, including One Lincoln Centre, restoring The Rookery Building311 South Wacker Drive in Chicago, Chicago West Loop’s first cannabis dispensary, logistical centers for Sears, Wrigley, and most notably, the addition of O’Hare’s International Terminal 5.

With each project’s safe and successful completion, Harbour remains the industry-leading firm created by Red in 1959. We have grown into a well-established, family-owned, operated construction service provider working nationwide.

Red’s Legacy and Our Promise with Integrity

We are extremely proud of our company’s deep family roots. As a team, we work daily to uphold Red’s legacy of building with integrity and honor while providing quality craftsmanship and respect to every client.

With our eyes on the future, we continue to innovate and grow while staying grounded. We know that our industry success is due in large part to the strong foundation of integrity that Red Harbour instilled over 63 years ago.

Currently, our executive staff is comprised of Zachary Harbour (Vice President), Patrick C. Harbour (CEO), and Patrick S. Harbour (President). [Photographed with Illinois Supreme Justice Mike Burke at in-house Harbour Plainfield Networking Event: May 2022.]

Harbour Contractors, Inc. is not affiliated with Morgan/Harbour Construction.


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