Farming, lumbering, saw mills, ship yards, and shipping were the principal industries up until the 1920's in Bear River.  These industries, along with the services required, kept the community flourishing.

Several trades were needed in the building of a ship: carpenters, caulkers, fitters, riggers, shipsmiths, and labourers.

The Ethel Clark was built in the Benson shipyard with a crew of 25 to 30 under the direction of John Benson, master builder (shown below).

A total of 115 sailing vessels were built in Bear River, all of them covered many World routes.