Founding of McLean (1903-1912)
Colin McLean was born in 1844 in Nova Scotia to a family of Scottish descent. He left home at an early age and spent 10 years at sea on a merchant ship, travelling to the Mediterranean and around Cape Horn. Colin grew tired of life at sea, and gave it up for good when he landed in New York Harbor. He became a sandhog on Brooklyn Bridge, but found that his size, 6 feet 6 inches, was not conducive to working in small spaces. He became an independent contractor, and took on work building the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, and a few years later, cleared Johnstown, PA after the 1889 flood that decimated the town. Colin continued receiving contracts, and gained experience constructing buildings, bridges and piers in New York and Philadelphia. Colin arrived in Baltimore for the first time to manage a contract for the Western Maryland Railroad, and stayed for the rest of his life. He formed McLean Contracting Company in 1903, and immediately began to build his business with an abundance of work generated after the great Baltimore Fire. Colin took on additional railroad and marine work in Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas, until his death in 1916.