Marcus Wright: The Tie King of North Idaho

By By ROBERT SINGLETARY/Special To The Coeur d’Alene Press

Robert Singletary Special To The Press
| November 13, 2020 1:00 AM

Marcus Wright, a native of Kentucky, moved to the village of Spokane Falls in 1877. By the early 1880s he had formed a partnership with Charles Wesley Wood and together they platted the town Rathdrum.

At the same time, the Northern Pacific Railroad was constructing a line through North Idaho and needed railroad ties. Marcus Wright went into the tie business. His first sawmill was located at Hayden Lake. It was later moved to the banks of the Spokane River, just west of Coeur d’Alene and named the Atlas Tie Lumber Company. In addition to becoming a very successful lumberman, Wright played a major role in the organization of early Kootenai County. He served as the county’s first assessor and tax collector.

Wright also played a major role in the mercantile business in Coeur d’Alene. According to the 1910 City Directory, he was president of the Lake City Hardware Company and vice president of the Lakeside Furniture and Lakeside Pharmacy. Wright also owned a large block of stock in the First Exchange National Bank of Coeur d’Alene. He was a prominent and active member of the new Chamber of Commerce in Coeur d’Alene.

In 1914. Marcus Wright and his wife, Marie, purchased two lots on the northwest corner of Seventh Street and Lakeside Avenue. They began construction of a large brick home at 703 Lakeside Ave. When the house was completed in 1915, it was one of the most modern and well-built homes in Coeur d’Alene. It had the appearance of a Frank Lloyd Wright designed house, although there is no evidence it had any connection to the famous architect.

Unfortunately, Wright did not live in his house very long. He died about a year after the house was completed. His widow lived in the family home until 1927. Over the years the Wright House has served as the Community Hospital, the English Funeral Parlor, the Coeur Public Library, plus other businesses.