For Sale Butte Land & Inv.Co. sign. Red, so you won’t miss it! 28w x 13h.
Price on request.
The Butte Land and Investment Company was the successor to a real estate business started in the 1880s by Simeon V. Kemper to develop farm land he owned on the south edge of Butte, Montana. The company was incorporated June 13, 1895, with the objectives of buying, selling, leasing and improving real estate; platting, developing, and dealing in town sites and subdivisions; erecting, renting, and selling buildings; operating street railways, water works, electric plants and other auxiliary improvements needed for the company’s real estate; buying, selling, and leasing mines; loaning and borrowing money; buying and selling securities; and related activities.
The original trustees were S.V. Kemper, J. W. Kemper, and James A. Canty, E. Starrett Shields, S.V. Kemper’s brother-in-law, joined the firm as its secretary, a position he continued for many years. In 1909 Simeon V. Kemper’s oldest son, William Arthur Kemper, (known as Arthur) gradually began to take over the business. By 1916 he was president of the company with Simeon V. Kemper in semi-retirement as vice-president. The senior Kemper continued to be involved with the company until 1940.
Under Arthur Kemper’s management the company expanded its operations into investment and property management. After the Butte mines began to decline in the 1920s, the company’s business turned more and more towards managing property for owners who had left Butte. This involved arranging rentals, maintaining houses in repair, and seeking possible buyers. The company also became a mortgage broker, matching borrowers with private mortgage lenders.
The Butte Land and Investment Company had a number of subsidiaries, including the Montana Land and Securities Company (to handle their investment business); the South Park Mining and Realty Company (to develop the South Park Addition); the Daly Addition Company; the Washington-Butte Mining Company; and two mining companies at Contact, Nevada: the Brooklyn Mining Company and the Salmon River Mining Company.
Simeon Vandeventer Kemper was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, on June 21, 1855, the youngest of four children of Thompson and Lucy Ann (Smiley) Kemper. In 1862 the family moved to Kansas, and then to Colorado. Eventually they arrived in Ravensburg, Montana Territory, in 1871. After several years of home tutoring by his older brother James W. Kemper, Simeon entered Helena High School and studied mathematics with the idea of becoming a surveyor. To augment the family’s farming income Simeon worked as a miner, carpenter, and sheep shearer. In 1877 he bought 40 acres of land on the outskirts of Butte and began a vegetable farm. However, smoke from the nearby smelters eventually made the farm unproductive. Kemper subdivided the land as the Kemper Addition and went into the real estate business, gradually building one of the foremost real estate development companies in Butte. With his partner W. V. Ladler, Kemper platted the Kemper and Ladler Addition.
Simeon V. Kemper and his wife Sallie B. Shields Kemper had five children: William Arthur (1881-1955), Mary B. (1883-1899), Sallie Virginia (1885- 1950), Helen E. (b. 1892), and Simeon V. Jr. (b. 1895). Sallie B. Kemper died in California in July 1933. S.V. Kemper died December 2, 1946. Simeon’s brothers James W. Kemper (1848-1939) and Edward W. Kemper (1850-1931) were also involved to varying degrees in the Butte Land and Investment Company, James serving as president for a period prior to Arthur’s taking over. They also had a 640 acre ranch just north of Dillon, which they operated until they left Montana in the late 1910s or early 1920s.
William Arthur Kemper was born in Butte in 1881. He studied civil and topographical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), graduating in 1904. After graduation, he was appointed to a survey team of the United States Coastal and Geodetic Survey working in the Philippines. He spent the next three years there doing survey work and traveling to China. After his return to the United States he worked briefly in New York City and then was hired by the New York State Water Supply Commission to do survey work for the construction of the Sacandaga Reservoir north of Albany. In 1908 he married Constance Richardson, whom he had met while at MIT They moved to Butte where Arthur took over management of the Butte Land and Investment Company. They had two children Richardson Vandeventer “Dick” Kemper (b. 1912) and William Arthur “Billy” Kemper, Jr. (b. 1914). Arthur and Constance were divorced in 1922 and she moved with the two children back to Massachusetts. W.A. Kemper died in October of 1955.
Arthur’s sister Helen E. Kemper (b.1892) was a school teacher in Alhambra, California. She traveled extensively on vacations, including a trip to Europe in the summer of 1939 just before the outbreak of World War II. On her return from that trip her ocean liner was sunk by a German submarine, but she was among those rescued. After Arthur’s death in 1955 she took over management of the Butte Land and Investment Company with the help of her other brother Simeon V. Kemper, Jr. Simeon V. Kemper, Jr. (b.1895) served in the Navy in World War I and then was recalled to service during World War II. Between the wars he worked for a social service agency in Alhambra, California. He moved to Butte in the 1960s to help his sister manage the business of liquidating the Butte Land and Investment Company.