The economy of Trois-Rivieres was based on the industry from the middle of the 18th century.
Indeed, the St. Maurice ironworks, the first Canadian foundry, were opened as early as in 1733. However, economic development was rather slow until the middle of the next century, when the building of American and Canadian lumber mills changed the face of the Mauricie for ever.
By the turn of the 20th century Trois-Rivieres would become one of the main centers of newsprint production, sending its products to New York, Boston and Chicago. A few architectural patrimonial houses still witness to that era. The William Ritchie patrimonial House, a painted brick house, located at 693, rue des Ursulines, was built in stages beginning in 1893.
It was built by William Ritchie, a famous politician and entrepreneur in the region, who opened a sawmill in 1896 on St. Christophe Island in the delta of St. Maurice River. Whitehead House was built in 1850 by then mayor of Trois-Rivieres, J. - E. Turcotte. The residence which faces the harbour in old Trois-Rivieres was later home to local industrialist Alexandre Baptiste Whitehead and his brother Charles. This house stands at 858, Terrasse Turcotte.
In 1910, Charles Whitehead opened the Wayagamack mill on the De la Poterie Island at the month of the St. Maurice River.
The mill produced craft paper, newsprint and paperboard. It exists till now, but it's now owned by the Kruger Company. Company row houses can be seen at 785-819 St. Paul Street. In the past foremen, master electricians, engineers, managers and other skilled workers lived there.
Passionate about by his city’s history, Dr. Conrad Godin devoted his life to the promotion of the cultural heritage of Trois-Rivieres. Tirelessly, he accumulated data, archiving the regional history and popularizing it through his writings, the media and a thousand and one guided tours. He did everything in his power to save such endangered monuments as the old prison, the St. Maurice forge, the seigniorial windmill in Pointe-du-Lac, the big hammer, and the Pacifique-Duplessis gate. Frm 1969 to 1971, he was president for the Federation of Historical Societies of Quebec. He was very active in public education and health, areas where his engagements are too numerous to list. He served on the School Board for twenty-eight years, and taught nurses and college students voluntarily. In short, he very much cared for the well being of his community. He mingled with the lofty and the lowly; at heart, he loved people and his fellow citizens loved him: their appreciation was his recompense. Dr. Godin livet at 669 on Ursulines Street, close to the former powder magazine built of stones which arrived in 1708, coming as boat ballast from La Fleche in France, and these were later used to build his house. There lie the graves of American soldiers, fallen in the battle for the conquest of Canada on June 8, 1776 (supported by Canadian Heritage). Photo: ProvinceQuebec.com