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Hart, Ray M.


Prominently associated with many of the business interests which have helped to boom the commercial importance of the more recently developed portions of our great northwest, Ray M. Hart has been a significant factor in the upbuilding of Coeur d'Alene. Born in Ionia county, Michigan, June 20, 1873, he acquired his education in the common schools of his native locality. When eighteen years of age he began work, securing employment with the Frank Brothers Implement Company, at Colfax, Washington, and after two years was engaged as bookkeeper and cashier in the firm of Lippett Brothers, general merchants in Colfax. He remained with them five years when he removed to Bozeman, Montana, where he engaged in business in partnership with D. J. Morton, establishing a dry-goods store. Two years later the firm dissolved partnership, the store was sold and Mr. Morton returned to Ireland, while Mr. Hart secured a position as a traveling salesman for a wholesale dry-goods company of St. Louis, Missouri, in which capacity he continued to serve for ten years, until 1908, and during this period became financially interested in a number of general merchandise stores throughout Montana, mainly at Billings and Lewistown. He is still president of the Hart Albin Company of Billings, Montana, and is also interested as stockholder in a large number of banks situated in various parts of this western country. On February 9, 1909, when the Blackwell Lumber Company was organized, with headquarters at Coeur d'Alene, Mr. Hart became secretary and treasurer of this concern and in consequence came to Coeur d'Alene, where he has remained in the same capacity ever since. He is interested in many other enterprises, being a director in the American Trust Company of Coeur d'Alene and in the Panhandle Lumber Company of Spirit Lake, a director likewise in the Idaho and Northern Washington Railroad Company and in the Railway Land and Improvement Company, and a stockholder in the Portland Cement Company of Metaline Falls, Washington. Always ready to help in any project that might aid in securing better transportation facilities for the people living in the remoter localities and in making the larger towns more easily accessible to the rural dwellers, Mr. Hart was largely instrumental in securing the construction of the first electric railroad in Montana, organizing the Gallatin Valley Electric Railway, a rural line running from Bozeman, Montana, of which corporation he was president until the road was sold to the Chicago, Milwaukee & Puget Sound Railroad Company. Always alert for every chance to build up his commercial interests and to enlarge the sphere of his activities, he has availed himself of every opportunity held out to him and now is accounted one of the foremost business men of Coeur d'Alene, enjoying an ample income from his investments and possessing unlimited credit among his associates in the financial world.

On August 27, 1908, Mr. Hart was married to Miss Blanche Blackwell, a daughter of F. A. Blackwell of Coeur d'Alene. They are the parents of one child. The Hart home at No. 820 Sherman avenue, is one of the handsome residences in the town and is frequently the scene of social gayety and mirth. Mr. Hart has been a Mason since the year in which he attained his majority, having joined Hiram Lodge, No. 21, F. & A. M., of Colfax, Washington, and he is also a member of Lodge No. 468, B. P. 0. E., of Bozeman, Montana. In his political affiliations he is a republican. Always adhering to high standards of business ethics, Mr. Hart has attained his success justly and by reason of his own efforts and keen discrimination. Large in his view of a situation he is the type of man who has supplied the leaven that has created the western spirit of indomitable determination and ability to win.

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