Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jerome Real Estate Developer and Banker Richard Traill [otd 01/19]

Jerome developer Richard H. Traill was born on January 19, 1858 in Belleville, Canada, about 110 miles east of Toronto. He attended the Ontario College of Pharmacy in Toronto, graduating in 1876. Traill immediately moved to Chicago, where he operated drug stores in and around the city for over thirty years.
Drug store, ca 1905. Library of Congress.

Then recurring illness led him to look toward the West in hopes of finding a more healthful environment. Naturally, he also looked for favorable business prospects. At about the same time, the "North Side Tract" opened in Idaho. The Tract was located on the north side of the Snake River Canyon, across from Twin Falls.

In 1907, tract developers selected town sites to serve the plots they planned to provide with water. Jerome, located roughly sixteen miles south of Shoshone, was one such site. They began selling town lots at the end of September, 1907.

Ira Perrine [blog, May 7] had been cultivating investors in Chicago at least as early as an irrigation congress held there in November 1900. Although we do not know the specific connection, Traill liquidated his Chicago assets in 1907, and invested in ranch land and other real estate in the Jerome area.

The following year, Traill became a Director of the Gooding State Bank in Jerome. The fact that water first flowed into the North Side Canal during the year surely must have given his real estate investments a major boost.

In an interview reported (March 4, 1909) in the Idaho Statesman, Boise, Traill said, “Jerome is a wonderful town. It exemplifies to a nicety the push and enterprise of the west.”
North Side Canal, Milner Dam in the background.
Library of Congress.

Appointed as an agent for the State Land Board in 1909, Traill continued in that position for the following five years or so. Coincidentally, 1909 was a banner year for Jerome: The settlement was incorporated as a village, and a branch railroad connected the town to the main Oregon Short Line tracks at Gooding.

Although his biography does not specifically mention the property, it’s possible that Traill helped finance the North Side Inn. A “mission” or “California” style hotel, developers hurried the structure to completion to provide accommodations for the surge in traffic expected with the arrival of the railroad.

For a time after 1910, Traill took an active role in running one of his ranch properties. In 1914, Idaho’s governor appointed him to represent the Jerome area at a National Farmers’ Congress held in Fort Worth Texas. However, in late 1918, he returned to the real estate business in Jerome.

In 1920, Traill represented Jerome County in the state convention of the Republican Party. That same year, he helped organize the Jerome Chamber of Commerce, and became one of its first Directors.

He later moved to Los Angeles, California to live with one of his daughters and son-in-law. He died there in June 1940.
References: [French], [Hawley]
“Banking and Financial Notes: Western States,” The Bankers Magazine, Vol. 77,  (July- December, 1908).
Blair Koch, “The North Side Inn to Rise Again,” Press Release, Crossroads Point Business Center, Jerome (June 22, 2008).