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One of the pioneer merchants and enterprising, progressive business men of Hailey, Simon J. Friedman, was born in Germany, April 5, 1846, a son of Itzig and Bertha (Usher) Friedman, also natives of that country. The father is still living, at the age of ninety years. Our subject was educated in Germany, gained his mercantile experience in his father’s store, and in 1869, when twenty-three years of age, came to the United States, for he had heard of the superior advantages and facilities afforded young men in the new world, and resolved to win success here if possible. He first took up his residence in Salt Lake City, Utah, and accepted a position as salesman in the store of Fred Auerbach & Brothers, with whom he remained for eleven and a half years, gaining a thorough knowledge of merchandising and of the methods of business as practiced in America. He was a most trusted and faithful employee and had the entire confidence of the house with which he was connected.
From Salt Lake City Mr. Friedman went to southern Utah, where he opened a store on his own account. In the spring of 1881, learning of the great silver and gold discoveries in the Wood River country of Idaho, he was among the first to reach this section. The town of Hailey had just been laid out and a few tents raised. Mr. Fried-man put up a tent twenty by forty feet and there in began the sale of dry goods, clothing and boots and shoes. This was the small beginning of what has become one of the leading mercantile establishments of the city. In the fall of 1881 he erected his fireproof building, twenty-eight by fifty feet. He was the architect of the structure and superintended its erection. Over the building he put a foot of dirt, covering the whole with a roof to turn snow and water. His store has since been enlarged until it is now thirty by ninety feet, with a forty foot basement filled with a well selected stock of dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes, and such have been the liberal and honorable methods that have marked the conduct of his business that he now has a large patronage and enjoys the confidence and regard of his customers. His was the first fire-proof building of the town, and when the great conflagration of July 2, 1889, swept over the city his store stood un-harmed, he remaining in the building during the progress of the fire and caring for his property. In recognition of his efficient and able labors during that time of great excitement the Union Insurance Company sent him a letter of thanks and presented him with a silver pitcher and tray.
In addition to his mercantile interests Mr. Friedman has extensive and important mining interests. He is one of the stockholders in the Venus group of mines on the East Fork, including eight mines in all, some of them very rich and promising large returns. Some have been large producers, others are leased and others are not being worked because of the low price of silver. By great diligence, keen discrimination in business, careful management and judicious investments, he has acquired a large amount of property and has erected one of the good residences that adorn the town, yet he is conservative and takes but little money out of his mercantile business, using only the profits in outside investment.
On the 11th of April. 1886. Mr. Friedman was united in marriage to Miss Lucia Meyer, a native of Germany, and their union has been blessed with four children. Beatrice. Myrtle, Jerome and Frederick. He and his family are liberal members of the Israelite faith, and he is a valued representative of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He belongs to Utah Lodge, No. 1, in Salt Lake City and having been connected with the fraternity for a quarter of a century, is numbered among its veterans, and has been presented with the Veteran Odd Fellow medal. His pleasant, genial manner has made him popular in â- social circles, and his sterling worth commends him to the confidence and good will of all with whom he has been brought in contact.