Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Can you imagine how much that stuff would be worth on eBay now?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Playland Pier

Last Friday marked the 34th anniversary of Playland Pier burning down. I wrote about the history of Playland Pier in this blog at FYI North Idaho but had more memories of what a great place it was as a kid.

If you had a dollar, you had a whole day ahead of you. Ten cent ice cream cones, most arcade games were a penny, nickel or dime and for two cents you could get a souvenir postcard postcards from one of two machines, one with movie and singing stars, the other with mostly custom cars like those of George Barris. Like so much stuff we all had when we were kids, I curse myself for not keeping all those cards, like James Dean. Sheesh.

My all time favorite arcade game was an early version of foosball. It was a freestanding metal and glass case that cost a penny a ball to play, and believe me, I put a LOT of pennies into that machine. The playing surface was a lumpy soccer field covered with players fixed in place. Because it was enclosed the ball would eventually roll in front of a soccer player. On the front were two handles, each activating one team (you could even play by yourself). When the handles were flipped it would move a goalie back and forth and make all the players "kick". The harder you flipped that handle the harder the kicks. The back panel was painted like a full stadium and the front and sides were glass. For old glass it was damn tough. When we played we always tried to kick that little steel ball as hard as possible and although it may have been the loudest game in the arcade, that glass never even cracked.

The bumper cars were great except by the time I was old (and tall) enough to drive them, they were usually broke down or not in operation. I left dejected more often than I actually got to drive them.

Everybody's favorite was the swings. Like a sort of suspended merry-go-round, each swing seat swung out with centrifugal force and actually put you out over the lake. We always wondered how fun it would be to have one break shooting a rider out into the waters.

The merry-go-round still exists and about ten years ago there was even talk about bringing it back to Coeur d'Alene. I can't remember all the details but it was (probably still is) owned by a guy who collects, maintains and operated old carousels around the country. And his mother actually worked at Playland Pier once upon a time. Last I heard it was back east somewhere and it still has paintings that represent Coeur d'Alene and the lake.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Empire Builder stops at Stryker, Montana

Uncle Ray was 20 years older than my Dad. He worked for the railroad and moved west from Virginia in the 30's. In the late 40's he was the Station Master at Naples, Idaho. Up until the mid 60's he was SM in Stryker, Montana, along the route of Great Northern Railroad's Empire Builder between Whitefish and Eureka.

When I was young we'd go visit, riding that train from Sandpoint. On rare occasion I'd even get to sit up in the Vista-Dome car, which felt like it was going to roll going around every corner. Such beautiful country. Too bad you go through it in the dark. AMTRAK still runs that same schedule.

Passengers looked wide eyed wondering where it the heck they were when the train stopped to let us off. Stryker consisted of about six houses at a junction. Uncle Ray and Aunt Mary lived in a small log cabin between the main road and the so-called station. They had a guest log cabin that we'd stay in. First place I ever used a chamber pot. Ray was a hunter and bear rugs were plenty.

The little station was fascinating for me as a little kid and loved the place. I got to sit at the main desk with the front window and make Uncle Ray or Aunt Mary translate the Morse Code from the telegraph. They also had a teletype machine and would relay messages to trains.

They'd tie the paper with a string then tie it to ends of a Y shaped pole sticking up the height of the train's window. A Conductor would reach out and snag the message as the train went past. I used to try and see the guy but it went by with such commotion all I ever saw was one second it was there and the next it wasn't. Standing on the platform maybe 15 feet from where the trains went by full speed was pretty impressive for a little kid.

Years ago we were in California seeing my brother, Ron. One day we went to the California State Railway Museum. One of the best museums I've ever been to. One of the displays is a mail car from the Empire Builder that you can walk through. Fun reading all the drop boxes, each and every little place on the line. Including Stryker, Montana.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Hole Story

Wednesday before Thanksgiving I found a message from the City Water Department on my recorder. Said 68,000 gallons had passed through our system in the last 2 weeks. We had work to do that started with a hole to dig.

Thankfully my son dug 80% of the hole and I had neighbors that also pitched in. Travis next door helped on Sunday by capping off the sprinkler pipe and providing some good advice. Monday morning we found the hole full of water and about the time a City Water guy came to tuen the water off Bob across the street brought over a small sump pump to clear the hole. Herb on the other side loaned me a breaking bar as we had broke my old one the day before trying to pull out a bush. Seriously, we broke a steel breaking bar.
The job was made much easier with the help of the great guys at the CdA Water Department. They were so wonderful I wrote the mayor the following letter.

Dear Sandi,

I was recently informed by the City Water Department that I had a leaky valve that needed replacement, and I must commend Jim Markley's crew for the excellent service I experienced during this predicament.

Rob Stark called me last Wednesday and was very helpful in explaining the entire situation and the job I had ahead. We dug yesterday and this morning I called to shut our water off. Josh Mayne arrived right on time and answered all my questions and made helpful suggestions.

As we excavated, I kept having questions and turned into Rob's #1 caller today. Rob dropped by to check the job and, seeing we were at the critical part, jumped in the hole, pulled out the part, drove me down the street to Consolidated Plumbing then followed up with the install. Rob didn't like the PVC job the sprinkler guys had used, so he zipped to the shop and returned with a short piece of pipe that was much improved. Rob put this back together, tested everything and we got the thumbs up to start the refill. Rob and Josh retuned later and replaced the top vault on the water meter as the old one was cracked.

My son, Aaron, and I can shovel dirt. The whole pipe thing was my worry. We had everything exposed and Rob just whipped the plumb job out in less time than I would have spent pondering how I was going to do it.

Like I have discovered so many times before with so many different people of the City of Coeur d'Alene, the Water Department has proven they are not only on the top of their game (I would never have discovered this leak) but have the skills to expertly and efficiently perform their job and with a "can do" attitude to boot. Kudos to them for this excellent customer service.

Not bad for what could have been a much bigger problem.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The 12 Ales of Christmas

I'm all excited for the 13th Annual 12 Ales of Christmas is at Capone's CdA this Saturday night. My (actually Sue's) favorite cousins from Montana are coming over and this is looking like a grand time.

I was at Capone's tonight and the tap count for the list of winter warmers is up to nine. A new entry this year is Dick's Brewing seasonal. I had a taste and found it less malty than many darker winter brews, but it had a nice floral spice to it.

My wonderful daughter, Tia, has bought my 12 Ales ticket for the last 4 years. And to prove how good a gifter she is to me, I've also over the years gotten a DVD 2-pack with Raising Arizona and Fargo (yippee, the Coen Brothers!) and my own version of the Christmas Story leg lamp.

A tip to 12 Ales newbies: drink accordingly. Your ticket gets you at least 12 fills of a 4 ounce glass, sampling at least a dozen high powered brews. You'll be drinking 3-4+ pints not counting the pints of the ones that you really like. Make sure you can still appreciate #12 as much as #1.

For the 2nd year, a taxi ride in CdA proper is included. Take it or call your Mom. You won't be driving home from this.

See ya there!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Read The Press, Made Me Go "Hmmmmm...."

I started the morning like any other, with breakfast while I read the CdA Press. Say what you will about The Press but it is KootCo's best source of local news and info. But while I turned the pages I saw three items that made me go "Hmmmmmmm..."

1. Editorial recommending more parks be named after distinguished locals, citing a Post Falls Park named after Hilde Kellogg.

Nothing against Hilde, heck, I've known her since I was a little kid and she has done much for North Idaho & KootCo. BUT, I always have to wonder about naming parks after people. Here are two good examples here in CdA.
Person Field on 15th. I've lived here all my life and am still a little fuzzy on who "Person" was. And over the years it has been erroneously called everything from Persons to Piersons Field. I'm betting that only a handful of locals could tell me about Mr/Ms Person.
GO Phippeny Park on 7th St. I remember that Mr. Phippeny was a long time educator and the park sits on the one time site of CdA High and Jr. High Schools. But I can't give many more details.
Fifty years from now will anyone remember Hilde and what she did?

2. Letters to the Editor regarding the reversal of suspensions for CHS Viking football players.
First question I had to ponder was, who took the photos of beer swilling, minor students? Could it possibly be an LCHS minor student at the same party in a proverbial calling the kettle black situation?
Just because I was a Viking doesn't mean I'd look the other way. But looking the other way when high school students misbehave is nothing new. Remember when the first LCHS graduating class pulled their senior pranks which accounted for literally thousands of dollars of damage to a brand new school paid for with taxpayer dollars? You don't? I guess we looked the other way that time, too.

3. Yet another news article where Fort Hood killer Nidal Hasan is referred to as a "suspect". Suspect? Alleged? Does anyone actually think he's innocent until proven guilty in a court of law? The guy KILLED people, no if's and's or but's about it. Are we so politically correct that we can't call a spade a spade?

Dunno about you, but stuff like this always makes me go "Hmmmmmm...."

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Old Neighborhood

When I was born my parents lived in a little house at 1220 N. 5th St in Coeur d'Alene. I have no recollection of that house at all. The house is still there, and is currently for sale, right behind the Goodwill store.

After that we moved to 1310 Ash, just a block from Sanders Beach. This house was where my first memories are from. I remember playing in the sand and all the chunks of bark from the sawmill that washed onto the beach. I also remember my babysitter who would lay in the summer sun, a perfect job if it wasn't for the tyke.

Then my parents bought the above house in 1959. It was (is) at 11th & Homestead in what was then the new (first) Monte Vista addition. The house is about 200 yards north of I-90 which was just being finished at the time. I remember laying in bed and hearing the noise from the heavy equipment that would officially bring an end to Hwy10.

The house faced west and the backside living room window looked towards Best Mountain. The trees weren't that tall and you could not only see the big clearing where CHS students would put a big 'C' for all the town to see, but the red light blinking atop the KVNI (1240 on your dial) radio transmitter tower that sat in the low flat just north of the foot of Best on the east side of 15th Street.

The neighborhood was roughly defined in the triangle of 11th, Homestead and Syringa. It may have been the greatest place in the world to grow up. There were over 60 kids of all ages; from college age to tykes. There were families with one kid (like mine) and some with up to a half dozen.

We went to Borah School, just 3 blocks away. I remember days when I actually came home for lunch. I have a hundred stories about the friends I grew up with and the crazy things we did to entertain ourselves in the 60's and 70's. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cowboy Duds

If you wanted to look cowboy, the best place in North Idaho to go shopping was the Bar-B-Q- Ranch. Jack and Hilde Kellogg ran the Bar-B-Q and it was here that my folks bought most of my blue jeans, at least a couple sets of boots, a hat and the obligatory western cut shirts.
The Bar-B-Q sat where USBank is in Post Falls now, northwest corner of Idaho and Seltice. It was, as you can see, a great place to pull in tourists with the original giant cowboy. an assortment of wooden Indians out front and animals ranging from dinosaur to chicken on the roof.
Jack never failed to hand me some Bazooka bubble gum every time we went. I was always amazed with the wide selection of colors of boots and shirts, the hats, Stetson and others, and a gift shop full of all sorts of western/wooden novelties.
Jack passed long ago but Hilde went on to elected office, her claim to fame being helping get the greyhound track approved and having the mechanical rabbit named for her. Is it really 25 years ago when each race started with the announcer's call of "Here comes Hilde!"?
Time goes on but so do the memories and the photos to go with them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

1909 Land Rush

This is the last of a 32 page pamphlet put out by the Coeur d'Alene Commercial Club titled The Panhandle of Idaho. There is no date but this advertises the great land lotto of 1909 so I'd guess late 1908 or early 1909. I'll scan and post more of my tattered copy of this 100 year old publication later, but this one page always fascinated me most. I learned more about this amazing era in the book Steamboats in the Timber by Ruby El Hult, published 1952.

The U.S. Government decided they had given the Tribes too good of a deal and wanting to expand development in this part of America rich in natural resources, opened 700,000 acres of Flathead, Spokane and Coeur d'Alene Reservation lands. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over America spent 3 million dollars on railroad tickets to travel here and take a chance in this great land lottery. The odds were as high as 500 to 1 in Spokane and 100 to 1 in Coeur d'Alene.

At midnight on July 14th, sixteen Notaries opened the doors in Coeur d'Alene to register people, 500 names were taken in the first hour. In four days that jumped to 34,730 and by the time of the drawing, 264,883 names had been registered for the three blocks of reservation lands.

Every inbound train was full and the lake steamers were filled to capacity and then some. Coeur d'Alene was packed with people and not all were land speculators, bunco artists, thieves and pickpockets were also on hand to profit where they could. In two weeks the post office sold over $4,000 worth of stamps to send cards home from the land seekers. Notaries had over two tons of completed registrations.

While people had to register in Spokane for the Spokane land, Kalispell for Flathead and Coeur d'Alene for Coeur d'Alene, it was Coeur d'Alene where James W. Whitten conducted the drawings for all. At noon on August 9th, Miss Helen Hamilton stood on a platform in front of the Hotel Idaho (Desert Hotel) and drew the first envelope from the 105,000 Coeur d'Alene entries strewn over the stage.

Isador Selig was number one and had the first pick of land in the Coeur d'Alenes, choosing a spot along the St. Joe River. A power company claimed to have a prior rights to the land and by the time Mr. Selig got to pick a 2nd choice there was little good land left.

In the end, most of the land was too dense with timber to farm and too hard to clear. Settlers found the deer ate most of their gardens and most weren't farmers anyway. Some of the winners sold out to timber companies. Few of the thousands who came west with the dream of carving out a happy life found anything but sorrows.

Pick up Steamboats in the Timber to read more about the wild times of early Coeur d'Alene country.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Road Construction Season

Now that 4th Street through Midtown is almost finished, I suppose we're near the end of the 2009 road construction season. To celebrate, here are a couple photos from the building of the first version of I-90 along the lake. This was early to mid 1950's.
The upper photo is the construction of the Blue Creek Bay bridge. It was built with help from the Army Corps of Engineers. The problem was the bottom of the lake was deep muck and they had a hard time setting footings. Using new technology, they pumped concrete down to the bedrock.
The lower photo shows some of the earth moving efforts to provide a roadbed along the lakeshore.
Just a short one today. Hope it'll be a short winter as well.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hunting Season is Open

This photo holds a few memories. Yup, that's me with my brother Ron, 1968. I was an 8th grader at CdA Jr. High. It was Ron's near annual visit to go hunting and he talked me into skipping school to go with him one day.

We drove up the St. Joe headed for Slate Creek. We parked and right off Ron has me walk through knee deep water. I'm wearing crappy cowboy boots that filled with water, thanks for not suggesting I bring a dry pair of socks. Then he tells me we're going straight up a steep mountain, in those oh so comfy wet boots. Halfway up, I'm dragging ass. We take a break and he gives me a couple cookies and a cup of black coffee, my first taste of that bitter brew. I mash my cookies into the coffee, trying to make it palletable. The caffine didn't get me up that mountain any faster and I remember being blamed for the lack of coffee at lunch later in the day.

Up high on the ridge we're hiking along when we see a huge bull elk. Ron drops him with one shot. We approach the beast with head bobbing in his dying throes. Ron pumps 3-4 more shots into his head to finally put him down and we started to field dress the carcass. Up to my elbows in elk intestines made me realize that I was not cut from the same outdoor hunting cloth as my father.

Dad was an outdoorsman's outdoorsman. He had countless hunting and fishing tales and artifacts to back up even the most incredible. He, as a freelance writer and photographer, submitted numerous stories to sporting magazines and for some years was the Idaho State Editor for the now long gone Western Outdoors publication. I enjoyed going fishing and pheasant hunting with him and his oldtimer pals.

But as a clumsy gomer I never liked humping the how brush (how the hell do you get through it?) when out for deer and elk. One year I kept skirting the thickets which would have led me back to the ranch, I ended up way off track. I had an idea of where I was but no clue exactly where to go (and still avoid the brush). I found a road, walked to a 4-finger saddle and sat down against a tree. It eventually got dark and I dozed off. Then I heard a shot and knew it was for me. I shot my old 30.06 and waited. Lloyd Jones, who's ranch we hunted from, knew exactly where I was and they pulled the truck right up where I was. I believe that was also my first taste of Elderberry wine that night.

Back at Slate Creek we finally got the elk dressed out and started the walk back. No way could we carry the elk and that night Dad called Lloyd who they met with his horses and packed out the elk and the amazing rack you see above. I was back at school and was shocked to discover that even in North Idaho, skipping school to go hunting was considered an unexcused absense. "But we got a big elk!" didn't sway the Principal.

Even though I didn't pull the trigger, I was proud to have my photo taken with that big rack. The picture even made the CdA Press.

One last note about the Willy's Jeep we're sitting on. Dad bought that from my Uncle Ray. It was the first car I ever drove, somewhere on the backroads coming home from a fly fishing trip. Dad told me I better know how to drive in case something ever happened to him in the back country. He told me I was a hell of a good driver for my first time, I hit every pothole in the road.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene

Here's a photo Dad took from the point of Tubbs Hill in the early 60's. Didn't it look like a sleepy, laid back lake? Not many houses and hills were covered with trees, not dotted with the homes of affluent transients like today. And sailboats were quiet and graceful as they navigated the blue waters, now wake strewn from countless ski boats and jet skis on any given summer day.
Is Coeur d'Alene one of the seven most beautiful lakes in the world? Supposedly attributed to National Geographic, some years ago I wrote them and was informed that they had never ranked "beautiful lakes". Dad used the line promoting the area in the 50's and 60's but I'd guess he never tracked down the validity of the declaration. Some things are best left alone.
The claim was actually early tourism hype first pushed by the railroads and steamboat lines that served the thousands upon thousands they served in the early years of the 1900's. There was big money in transporting tourists to and around lake Coeur d'Alene. If you think Lake Coeur d'Alene is beautiful now, imagine how people viewed it then, with its crystal clear waters, mountains densely covered with stands of timber and abundant fish and wildlife.
The Red Collar Line and White Star Navigation Company were rivals for these passengers and boasted beautiful steamboats that could carry hundreds of passengers. The sidewheeler Idaho could board up to a thousand. Hauling equipment, supplies, settlers and loggers most days, Sundays found trainloads of people coming from Spokane and the Palouse to spend the day on the steamers as they cruised the lake, sometimes to visit the Old Mission (prior to being moved to it's present elevated location). Round trip tickets were $1.25 to St. Maries and $1.75 to St, Joe, a one time bustling and roughneck city that doesn't even exist today.
Red Collar owned the main dock where the Electric Line brought trainloads of people right up to the boats. The shenanigans between Red Collar and White Star seem humorous now but dangerous and cutthroat back in the day. Stories of "stealing" passengers were common as were dock scuffles, boats being driven into shallow water on the St. Joe, races between boats filled with cheering passengers across the lake and even one boat "accidentally" (on purpose?) ramming and sinking a rival boat. The Red Collar Line won the war and during it's heydays between 1908 and 1913 they had near 50 boats of various sizes plying the waters.
Next time you're in Hudson's, take pause to really look at the old photos on the wall. And if you want to know more about this amazing history of our area, seek out Steamboats in the Timber by Ruby El Hult. Written in 1952, I found this one of the most interesting books I've ever read.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Let's Go Boating

For a guy who's lived in CdA all his life, I haven't really been on the lake that much. We never had a boat so I'll always jump at an opportunity to go along with friends who do.

I look maybe 3 years old in this photo so we'll say 1958. Dad's holding onto a boat that I think belonged to a Canadian friend, Norm Hendricks. One of the ladies is Norm's wife, Mary Templin's in the middle and I have no clue after that. (Note to self, put names on the backs of photos for future reference)

We're standing on the Templin's Motor Inn dock, pretty much where the west entry of the Resort Boardwalk is now.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Memoirs of a Seahawk Fan

The above photo was taken on Dec. 26, 1999. The last regular season game in the Kingdome. These were our seats for 16 years. The first year the seats cost $8 a game. Now $8 hardly buys you a beer at a game. Standing behind us are 3 of our Seahawk "family". The guy in the vest was the sideline cameraman. He was from Spokane and always passed out Tootsie Pops to us before the game. We got on the big screen regularly. In the middle is Bennie, what a wonderful lady. We know where her seats at Quest are and always make sure to seek her out if we go to a game. Bennie split the pair of season tickets with Chester, on the right.

I miss the Kingdome, its destruction was the first signal for my fading dedication. They are still my team but I don't bleed blue anymore. Posted below is a review of my life with the Seahawks, originally written a few days before the Seahawks played the Steelers in Super Bowl XL.


It has been XXXVIII years since MY team was in the Super Bowl. When I was a kid, I was a Packer fan. And how could I not love Idaho boy Jerry Kramer throwing the block to let Bart Star sneak in for the TD in the Ice Bowl against the Cowboys? I was 11 at the time. After Lombardi left I went for years without a real favorite team.

Then the Seahawks came along and I’ve bled blue ever since. I’ve suffered through a lot of losses, a lot of disappointments and a lot of mediocre seasons. Not that there hasn’t been a number of memorable moments over the years.

Oct. 21, 1979. It was my first visit to the Kingdome. The Oilers, featuring Earl Campbell, were in town. I’d come to watch him as much as the Hawks. I should have known a fickle love/hate relationship with the NFL in Seattle lie ahead of me. Earl hardly played and our ‘Hi Mom” banner never made it on TV. The Jim Zorn led Seahawks won 34-14.

Nov. 8, 1981. Pittsburgh’s Terrible Towels waved in the Kingdome but the Seahawks and fans were up to the call. We sat 300 level, dead square between the goal posts. Late in the 4th quarter, I watched the Hawks hold Pittsburgh on a 4th and goal then march the ball back to our endzone. I had a bird’s eye view on a Seahawk 4th and goal. Touchdown Seahawks! Seahawks win, 24-21.

New Years Eve day, 1983. This was as close as got for decades. The Hawks go 9-7 and beat Denver at home in the Wild Card. This day we sat in our living room and watched as Idaho Alum “Super” Sam Merriman fell on a fumble in a rain soaked 4th quarter to beat the Dolphins 27-20 in Miami. The Hawks went on to lose to the would-be Super Bowl Champion Raiders the next week.

Oct. 6, 1986. It’s a month before my son, Aaron, turns six and we take him to see his favorite player and first sports hero, Steve Largent, make a catch in an NFL record-breaking 128th consecutive game. We win 33-7. On the way out, Aaron stumbles on the steps and a seat-arm on the aisle leaves a third eyeball dead center on his forehead. We watch the highlights in the ER of Swedish Hospital. He still has the souvenir, er, scar.

Nov. 16, 1986. Cincinnati wins 34-7 giving the Hawks 4 straight losses and a 2-7 record. We refuse to not have fun at the game. After the second Bengal TD, we put sacks on our heads, each with a letter spelling out K-N-O-X. We’re in the newspaper the next morning. At least we got our money’s worth and laughed all the way home.

Nov. 30, 1987. Monday Night Football. The Raiders. Bo Jackson. Bozworth. A 37-14 butt-kicking. Bo runs over the Boz right in front of us. A couple long faced fans, Aaron and I, make the Tuesday newspaper. We have to chain up on Snoqualmie and it takes 12 hours for our charter bus to make it home.

December 23, 1989. Steve Largent’s last game. Many former Seahawks are on hand to honor him. Pre-game ceremonies are moving and there’s hardly a dry eye in the house. By halftime we were really crying as the Redskins are cleaning up on their way to a 29-0 victory. It was an emotional halftime, the Blue Angel was retiring. We didn’t stay for the second half.

Through the 80’s and 90’s, we were as good a mediocre team as you’d ever want. We had highs of home victories over archenemies Denver and Oakland/LA. We saw Steve Largent flat-can a Denver defensive back after an interception (the same player that put him out earlier in the season). We had the Wave. We wore Raider-Buster shirts. We retired the number 12 (bite me, Aggies!). We loudly proved the NFL’s new ‘noise rule’ would never work by repeatedly pegging the decibel meter on national television. We cheered names like Efren, Doornink, Krieg, John L, Easley, Brown, Yarno, Nash, Tuiasosopo, Cortez, Warner, Skansi and Paul Johns. We jeered names like Elway (Elllllll-waaaaaaaaay!) and cussed those of Flores, Behring and Erickson. We went home hoarse and happy; we went home spent and sullen. We were Seahawk fans.

December 26, 1999. The last regular season game in the Kingdome, we beat Kansas City 23-14. Two weeks later, the Hawks lose the Wild Card at home to Miami, but this was the official farewell game. The sidelines were packed with a who’s who of Seahawk history, pre-game and halftime shows are moving. Post game, every player was introduced and the top 10 all-time Kingdome highlights are shown on the big screen. Laser lights and pyrotechnics make this wake a spectacular party.

We had sat in the same seats for 16 years, aisle 110, row 1, seats 1-4. Nearby season ticket holders watched our children grow, we became friends with sideline cameramen and security people. Once our reluctant daughter Tia was recruited to pull camera cable and stood just out of the endzone for a Seahawk touchdown, forever locking her into Seahawk Blue. These people were our family.

Our seats were at one of the few entries to the playing field and longtime security lady, Mary, looked at me as we packed to leave and asked “You guys want to go on the field?” Sue, the kids and I walked among our team, Aaron finally getting his photo taken with Largent. I miss those seats and I miss those friends.

Then came the UW years. Husky Stadium is in one of the greatest settings in sports. But it is an awful stadium. Seats are uncomfortable and far removed from the field, the aisles are woefully inadequate. The football wasn’t much better.

The new stadium brought new excitement but also higher prices. After 20 years, we finally gave up our season tickets. We’ve since gone to some games, but (typically me or typically Seahawks), of the three regular season losses Seattle has had at Quest Field, I’ve been to two of them.

This is the first year since 1979 that I haven’t attended at least one game. Now they’re XL bound. Perhaps the albatross hanging around one’s neck isn’t the Seahawks on me but me on the Seahawks. Go figure.


Well, the Seahawks lost the Big One. Yes, some calls went against them but they just didn’t play well enough to win. So much for me getting rich selling my years of collectibles on eBay. I’ll just pack it all away for another year/decade/millennium.


The story continues...

October 22, 2006

Mostly because my wife wanted to go, we attended the game against the Minnesota Vikings. Along for the trip were my daughter and her friend, I should have known going with three women wasn’t going to be like the Boy’s Trips of the old days.

The good news is Gordie is still bartending at the Athenian in Pike Place Market and they still serve Snowcap in frosty mugs, Mee Sum pastry still has the best sidewalk potstickers and you can still buy cheddar cheese rolls from the Russian bakery. And it was a sunny weekend.

Sunday morning rolled around. Parking five (city) blocks away was an affordable $30 (compared to the $50 near the stadium). Football mornings are always fun in the Pioneer Square area and breakfast at The Central was good, including the numerous Viking fans in attendance.

Almost half of the Seahawks total game yardage came in the first quarter, and damn near half that was in one play. Turned out it was one of the few highlights of the actual game. Seahawk highlights anyway, the Vikings had plenty.

Now I have been to three of the four regular season losses in Quest Field. Maybe I should just stay away from now on.

November 27, 2006

Nope, Sue got tickets for the Monday Night Game against the Packers and after going to over 120 games in over 25 years, I have to say this was in my Top Ten. Of course, spending the pre-game at Pyramid Brewing, walking into a snow storm for the game (we had our boots, gloves and CHS Viking stadium blanket and kept toasty), seeing a great game and then closing the Elysian Brewery after the game, it had to be a fun time.

October 14, 2007

My son, Aaron, and I make a one day trip over and back to see the Sunday night game against the Saints. Early in the game it’s so loud I almost wish I had earplugs. Then the Saints start looking great while the Hawks start looking bad. With Seattle down 28-10, we leave with six minutes left in the game. Yet another loss I attend.

December 9, 2007

Another Seattle trip and now I just look at it as a beer weekend. Saturday we visit Pyramid Brewing, Pike Place Brewing, The Athenian and The Taproom. Gordie’s still at The Athenian but tells me he’s retiring and moving to Arizona. I guess everything changes in time. The Seahawks win, big. But even with a 42-21 shellacking of the Cardinals, well, it’s still just the lowly Cardinals. Lucky we’re in the worst division in the NFC.

January 12, 2008
In what will go down in history as a great Green Bay Packer win, in epic Lambeau Field weather, the Seahawks see their season come to a close.

2008 Season
The Hawks stink and Holmgren can't be run out of town fast enough for my liking. We go to one game but I don't even remember who we played or if we won. I do remember Saturday night at the Taproom.

2009 Season
This year's season ticket is in my living room. Free parking, better beer, no drive home and, if the game sucks, a nice place for a nap.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mr. Coeur d'Alene

This is a photo of my dad, Kyle M. Walker, from summer 1953. I don't know who the photographer was but written on the back is the date, his name and "the busiest man in CdA". The photo was taken in front of what was at the time the Chamber of Commerce building. It was just a little log cabin located roughly where big granite Centennial Trail monument is between the Sherman/NW Blvd bend and the Independence Point parking lot. I remember little of it, only that it was small.

Near the end of the 1950's the Chamber office was moved to an annex on the east end of The Desert Hotel, now the site of Bonsai at 1st & Sherman. Not long after Dad retired from his 23 years as Manager of the Chamber in 1971, the Desert Burnt down, taking with it the Chamber, the Athletic Round Table and the Diamond Cup Trophy. A total and sad loss.

Dad moved to the Inland Empire in 1947 from Kingsport, TN. where he was the outdoor editor for the Kingsport Times and a reporter for the American Field, the semi-weekly publication and bible for field dogs and field dog trials. Dad traveled across the US and into the plains of Canada with this job, and discovering Coeur d'Alene, he fell in love with it.

After working as a writer/photographer for a magazine called Scenic Idaho he was hired as the Chamber Manager in 1948. Most industry in the CdA area was still lumber mills and various associated businesses. But tourism, which was a huge part of what put CdA on the map even around the turn of the century, was a major player.

Dad worked the promotion of local tourism with a passion. When he wasn't promoting CdA as his job, he, as a freelance writer/photographer, had CdA and surrounding areas featured in countless magazines and trade publications across North America. He was an original member of the State of Idaho Board of Commerce and Tourism and scrounged for funding to promote the area almost every year at the Calgary Stampede as well as travel expos in places like Los Angeles (yeah, I took a bad rap for him bringing the Californians) and Chicago.

Ever the promoter, we even had 2 cars that had "follow the photographer to scenic Coeur d'Alene" painted (by Ted Anderson) down the sides and trunk. Damn I hated to ride in those.

He got the movie bug, bought a 16mm Bolex and made The Coeur d'Alene Country which was released in 1962. He got his friend, country music star and Disney narrator, Rex Allen to narrate the movie and it was distributed widely, including a German translation as it grew popular in Europe. He also, as a one man movie production company, made North Idaho Scenic Land which featured the 11 northern counties and at his retirement banquet premiered Four Seasons in the Coeur d'Alene Country.

During his years with the Chamber he helped get the Public Golf Course off the ground, was instrumental in bringing the Boy and Girl Scout World Jamborees to Farragut State Park and was involved with everything from parades and the Diamond Cup to the Scottish Tattoo and Forest Festival Days.

He was known as Mr. Coeur d'Alene and considering the times and what media was available in the 50's & 60's, probably did more to promote Coeur d'Alene than any other single person before or since.

Dad passed in 1989 and I miss him and his never ending stories, songs, poems and sayings for almost every occasion. He's mostly forgotten now, as are so many of the wonderful people of that era. I was lucky enough to meet and know an amazing number of special individuals through Dad. He is my Hero; for moving here, for marrying my Mother and for raising me in the most wonderful little city on Earth.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sherman Avenue

Ah yes, Sherman Avenue. It was our version of American Graffiti. I met my wife "tootin' the gut". Things have certainly changed over the years, the late 80's saw the "revitalization" of downtown with widening of sidewalks and Sherman going from 4 lanes to 2. This photo taken looking west at 4th & Sherman I'd guess is late 60's or very early 70's, the Oldsmobile on the left looks like a 68.

Looking down the south (left) side of the street we see Hart Drug, a beauty salon, Coast to Coast Hardware and Woolworths, now Java, San Francisco Sourdough, Pita Pit and Sherman Square Park. Beyond that I can't tell/don't remember (I should find an old Polk's city directory). Some of the businesses farther down on the next block were Western Auto, Bank of Idaho, JC Penney and the Gold Cup, now the Resort Plaza takes up the entire block.

On the north side of the street is the Kamera Korner which over my memories was also Ruth's Children's Wear, the Penny Candy store and now the Beacon (I may one day expand on the California Carpetbagger who booted from the building the candy store, an attorney and Ace Travel after 34 years). What is now Brix was at the time Mariposa if I recall correctly. Prior to remodeling this was where JC Penny was. I remember getting clothed off the husky rack in the upper "balcony". You can't make out much from the photo but on down the street was IXL Toggery, Merrill's Cafe, the Sportsman's, Clark's Jewelry (the clock's still there), Lighthouse Sporting Goods and what is now Wells Fargo was the Hagadone building (1967-1971) with Everson's Jewelry and Floyd's Camera on the street level and upstairs were the Hagadone offices, Dr. Toyama optomitrist and Ace Travel. On the next block were Gridley's Clothing, Shamrock Bar, Hudson's and The Wilma among other things.

I've got more photos, stay tuned and please leave comments on your memories of Sherman and what I missed between 2nd & 4th streets.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Parking Ticket

Seeing the letter in The CdA Press today about downtown parking made me pull this one out. Back in the 50's & 60's when Dad was the manager of the Chamber of Commerce, he somehow got the City to pass out these "parking tickets" to cars obviously belonging to tourists. This was when downtown still had parking meters. Rather than a ticket, they got this postcard on their windshield. Probably weren't going to get many tourists to pay a parking fine anyway.
The complaint in the Press today was a "downtown business owner" complaining that the current parking laws penalize customers and employees and are just another means of the City taxing people. Cry me a river, bub. Parking tickets are not a new concept and have been an American fact of life for almost a century and for well over 50 years here in CdA.
I was a downtown CdA business owner for 25 years and saw first hand how parking worked. The number one problem with parking on streets in downtown are the huge number of people who own or work in stores and businesses located there. I've never understood how these folks expect customers when they take up parking in front of their own business all day long. I'd bet there still isn't a block downtown that doesn't have some owner/employee checking the clock and going out to move their car every two hours. I saw it on a daily basis for years. People sitting around waiting for customers in between the times they go out to erase the chalk mark on their tire or rolling forward enough to put it on the pavement. I watched as one guy first rolled his wife's car then did the same thing with his car parked right behind hers. This went on for a couple years, until they (mayhap for lack of customers) moved out.
As a business owner I bought every employee a monthly pass in the city parking lot. Two blocks is too far? Only in America will people pay $29.95 a month to be in an athletic club yet are still so lazy they'll park in a handicap space or in the "no parking" zone on a curb so they don't have to walk.
Downtown businesses are their own worst enemy. While crying how parking is keeping customers from their door, maybe Mr. Downtown Business Owner should take a look in the mirror. And it's not just parking. Check downtown in the winter to see how few businesses actually make an effort (or have enough pride) to keep their sidewalk cleared of snow and make a cut in the berm so people don't have to climb over it.
I used to be disgusted with many of my fellow downtown neighbors, now I'm just amused that attitudes haven't changed one bit.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Last Log Drive in America

Once upon a time, most young men who grew up in this area worked at least once for a sawmill, logger, farmer, rancher or in the mines. I did some time at the Potlatch Rutledge mill which is now the CdA Resort Gold Course (see previous entry for photos). I went to school with a number of guys who were 2nd and 3rd generation loggers. Fellow CHS Class of 73 twins, Bart and Mark Turnbull, were both killed logging. Anyone who's ever cut firewood in the forest can identify with the work, and peril, that goes into falling and removing timber.

Logging has been big business in North Idaho since the late 1800's. While modern equipment has improved safety and efficiency, olden times saw very dangerous and difficult work. Timber was often felled in the winter and logs run down flumes to a river where they would be floated toward sawmills. High waters of spring were when most of these log drives were run. But with a wild river ran and receding waters, lots of logs were hung up along the river.

To free these logs, river rats worked from the head of the drive, down river. Using boats to move workers, these hearty men stood in ice cold waters and worked peevees and pike poles (see photo) to roll logs back into the flow. Often jams were so tight they had to blast them with dynamite.

The men lived on Wanigans, 2-3 connected barges that had a kitchen/mess hall, sleeping quarters and equipment. The Wanigan was moved down river along with the drive, drives lasting anywhere from a week or two to a month or more.

Dad was contracted by Potlatch to make a 16mm film called From Forest to Home which started with felling and ended with lumber ready for construction. This was 1966 and Dad filmed what would be the last log drive in America, on the Clearwater River. By that time, flumes were out and trucks were used. The above photo is from that excursion and shows men trying break free a jam.

I was maybe 11 and got to go with Dad on this trip and I will always cherish the memories of this long gone operation. We got to tour and have lunch on the Wanigan (good cooks were highly valued and the fresh banana cream pie was the best I ever had).

Also filming during this drive was Walt Disney Studios for the movie Charlie the Lonesome Cougar that was released in 1967. It was the tale of a cougar raised by loggers and the misadventures of this combination. The filming was complete and while I didn't see any Hollywood activity, I did get to visit Charlie who was in a big cage on the back of the Wanigan. The movie was narrated by cowboy singer Rex Allen who did a number of similar films for Disney. Rex was a friend of my dad's and I remember him as a very warm and funny man. He'd always stop by when he was in the area and he always clowned around to my delight.

Anyways, I've been reading local history books and about the lives of loggers, and of the many lives lost. Looking back I am blessed to have had a father with whom I got to experience so many wonderful things. I ran across this photo recently and felt compelled to write this blog. If you find this interesting I urge you to read the books Hardships & Happy Times, Caulked Boots, Swiftwater People and North Fork of the CdA River by Bert Russell (buy at the Museum of North Idaho) and/or White Pine: King of Many Waters by Clarence Strong and Clyde Webb.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Dancewana

Hello girls!

It's 1957 and the Dancewana is pulling out, or should I say is being pulled out, with a load of young ladies ready for a day on beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene.

I say pulled out because the Dancewana was really just a barge. On the left you can see part of the Sea-we-wana (correct spelling?) that was the power sister to the Dancewana.

Steamboats may have plied the waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene in the early half of the 1900's but in the middle of the century this was about all that was left of the lake's tourism business. The Dancewana was then what the CdA Resort's fleet is today. Other photos I've seen show the decks loaded with sailors from Faragut NTS, all no doubt hoping to snag one of the local lovelies like seen here.

Now here's where I'm asking for help with info. Did the Dancewana end up as the Mish-a-Nock? Wasn't the Sea-we-wana purposefully sunk about 20 years ago to provide divers a piece of history to explore?

Correct or confirm please.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dr. Hamilton Greenwood

Here's another photo Dad took, this one of Dr. H.H. (Ham) Greenwood and his 26 pound Kamloop taken in 1954. He also caught a premie from my Mother on May 8 of the next year at Lake City General Hospital (yup, can you believe I was an incubator baby? fooled all of them!). Ham and his wife, Mary, lived in a beautiful house on Government Way and I loved to visit when I was a little kid. He had the biggest, most comfortable leather chair in a room just off from the front door. He looked sort of like Captain Kangaroo and he had this wonderful deep voice with a great laugh and a great sense of humor. Just another wonderful local who I got to know as a kid growing up in CdA.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Before the Coeur d'Alene Resort

The top photo is of the "new" North Shore Motor Inn. I'd guess mid to late 60's. Looking around it you can see the outdoor pool at center rear and convention center on the east end. Above the North Shore is Templin's, the Desert Hotel across the street and Playland Pier closer to the park. Just east of the convention center is Inland Marine and you can clearly see that boat docks were aplenty.
Where Independence Point parking is now was then just a dirt lot. The Milwaukee Road building is gone by the time this was taken. On Northwest Blvd what is now the Museum of North Idaho was then the Co-op Supply, the west end turn around for Sherman's cruisers.
At the corner of 2nd & Sherman is the Telephone/Johnston Building prior to being covered with the black facade that still covers it. The then new JC Penny store sits center of the block where the CdA Resort Plaza is today (having been moved from it's previous location which is now Brix).
The North Idaho Junior College campus is visable, well at least the one main building that it was at the time. The recently closed DeArmond stud mill is showing smoke from the burner and you can see where Hwy 95 crosses the Spokane River between it and NIJC. Yup, go straight to cross to Blackwell Island and head south or turn left onto the Dike Road.
The lower photo of the expanded North Shore would have been taken in 1972. I know that as I worked as a dishwasher in the brand new Cloud 9 resturant that summer (a job that sucked so bad when I quit after 8 days I was the longest employed dishwaher).
Of course all this is now the world famous CdA Resort. Things change and how many of us have watched Coeur d'Alene go through these changes in our lifetime.
As usual, stay tuned for more historic photos. And please pass The Old Koot on to anyone you know who would enjoy seeing CdA the way it was.

Friday, August 7, 2009

North Idaho Land Rush

Lake lots for $2,000? Yup, just get in a time machine and go back 40 years.

Ozzie Walch was an interesting guy. He was a yell leader at the U of Idaho, I wish I had a copy of the photo of him with the megaphone. He was known as The Wizard of Oz and had a CdA Lake resort with the Land of Oz theme. And he was a real estate pioneer of sorts for lake property as this ad shows.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More CdA City Beach Scenes

Here are two more recent photos of City Beach. These were taken after the changing rooms were taken out from under Playland Pier. The lower photo clearly shows where the steps went from the seawall down to the water. That's where the walkway to the dock is visible in my previous blog photos.
Both photos clearly show how the docks were situated and where the swim meets would have been in between. The lower photo also has the island dock and beyond it, the Union 76 Ball (sign) for the gas dock. It also shows the North Shore in the background so it would be the mid to late 60's. The upper photo I'm guessing is a few years later.
Thanks to all who make comments and add to the memories or clarify things I may have missed or are mistaken about. Stay tuned, I still have more to come.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Great Place to Cool Down

Ah yes, City Beach and the Park. It's been a popular place for decades. I'm guessing the first photo was taken in the late 1940's. Note where the steps go from the park, a ramp crosses the beach and goes out to the docks. Fully dressed people, including a sailor, are on the dock.

The lower photo was probably taken in the late 1950's. You can see more docks and Playland Pier in the background. The porthole windows were the doors on changing rooms. Those were removed in later years, I don't remember them. Also visible are the carousel, rockoplane, ferris wheel and swings. The swings were a favorite because you literally swung out over the water on the ride. The buildings behind housed the bumper cars, the arcade and snack bar.

There were 3 docks at City Beach, the one the sailor is on in the top photo, an L shaped dock that faced it and an island dock out farther. You can see them better in the 2nd photo. Lane ropes were strung between the main docks and swim meets were held there.
Log booms and docks were not always in the same place. It seemed like every couple years the configuration was tweaked. Now the only thing left is the swim area perimiter boom. I suppose docks were removed to lessen the liability. I miss the days when people were actually responsible for their own actions.
More pics to come, stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Coeur d'Alene From the Air

Here's another arial photo from around 1960. Looking from bottom to top note the Government Way, 4th Street, 7th Street and 9th Street bridges.

Pretty sparce neighborhoods, you can tell which homes have been around that long. At 4th Street, about the only building that remains is Lake City Lanes (Auto Body).

On 7th Street is Borah School, which just had its first expansion on the west (near) end, and the 2 churches that are still there.

Above 9th Street is the brand new Monte Vista neighborhood. You can see a row of homes on 11th Street just this side of the tree line. From left to right, these were occupied by the Fossum, Robideaux, Walker (me!), Ashleby, Hubbard, ?, Scott and Cook families. You can't tell from this pic, but decades earlier a railroad line ran behind where these houses are. Behind Mike Scott's house there were still a couple old RR ties in the ground.

This was a great place to grow up. North of the bridge is Homestead and the angled street is Syringa. This little triangle neighborhood at one time had over 70 kids of all ages. There was plenty of room to explore, build forts, ride bikes and generally do all the simple things that kids of the 60's did. All my buds had HO slot cars and we'd combine our track to build huge layouts and race, when we weren't building model cars.

As Monte Vista was built out (the big field to the left) we had dirt streets to play "prisoner escape", which was just an excuse to ride our bikes like hell all over the place chasing each other. When houses were being built we crawled through them at night, when utility lines were being installed we climbed in and out of the trenches "saving" each other like we saw on the TV show Rescue 8. We'd pack lunches and climb "Big Best" and eat looking over the City.

And, being kids in those carefree times, our only rule was to be home in time for dinner. We'd ride our bikes all over town and at least once a month and would go to every store in town that sold comic books and stock up for summer reading, always making sure everyone bought different ones so we could trade them around.

Then there was the Diamond Cup hysdroplane races, which to us was better than Christmas. We'd spend all day, every day down at the pits where the big boats were in town, collecting booster buttons and every other thing we could get out hands on. You have no idea how big the spark plugs were for those giant V-12 engines. The mechanic's junk was our treasure. (More on the Diamond Cup in a future edition.)

Life was simple then. Kids grow up so dang fast now. Grade school kids think they are too mature to do some of the stuff we enjoyed into our early high school years. I don't want to go back but I do have some awesome memories of growing up with a bunch of great friends.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Looking Down on the Past

Here's another one of Dad's photos of I-90 taken around 1960. Looking from bottom to top (west to east) are the bridges of Lincoln Way (now Hwy 95), Government Way, 4th Street, 7th Street and 9th Street. Yes, things have certainly changed.

Lincoln Way was destined to become Highway 95 but when the overpass was built it just came to a T at Appleway. Government Way was still the main north - south route. But Sherman was still part of Hwy-10 as well. I-90 changed everything.

You don't see the hospital, Shopko, the CdA Inn, Wild Waters or any of the many buildings and businesses that have showed up in the last near 50 years. Looking at Government Way you can see which houses are now that old. Continuing to look east you can pick out a few places that still exist like Borah School and Lake City Lanes (now Lake City Auto Body). Also of note are the dirt streets in the Borah neighborhoods. And there's the house I grew up in.

I'll post more detailed photos in this series soon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Best Beer Ever

OK, this blog doesn't have to all be about history. As you may know, I'm a fan of quality beer. And I thought it worthy to write about the best beer I ever had. It was just a couple weeks ago. It was at Xmas in July at Capone's on the 2nd and it was incredible.

It's always fun to have a Snowcap or a Jubleale in July but on this night I was smitten with a very special beer. I will be so bold as to say it was the best beer I've ever drank in my life.

Full Sail Ales has a wonderfully hoppy winter warmer called "Wreck The Halls." A Full Sail sales guy (dude! bring your biz cards) came and brought what looked like a blender about 30 inches tall. On the floor were a keg of Wreck the Halls and a big CO2 tank. Hoses ran from the tank to the keg to the "blender" which wasn't a blender at all but more like a beer compressor named Randle. Filled with fresh hops the beer pressure pushed through the wonderfully fragrent buds before being tapped out through an ice filled cooler. Full Sail called it Wrecking Randle.

This was without a doubt the tastiest beer I have ever enjoyed. I even had my wonderful wife go home and grab a couple of growlers which I got filled before she took me home. I then shared the goodness with friends on the 4th of July. The growlers hadn't been filled properly and the brew lost a lot in about 40 hours. BUT, everyone who tasted it even then was wowed by the flavor.

Thank you Full Sail for what has to be the best bar/beer promo in the world. A close runner-up was Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale that had aged in a burboun barrel. Only a couple kegs of it were ever filled and it was the hit of the 2007 12 Ales of Xmas at Capone's. That was damn fine beer as well.

Hooray Beer!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rutledge Unit

This is the first of a number of photos I'll be posting that Dad took from Bill Brook's seaplane when I-90 was first completed. This would be about 1959. You can see the wings in a couple photos (which he would crop out where needed).

Dad sold a group of these arial photos, showing the new freeway end to end, to the Spokane Chronicle. The Chronicle was an evening paper, the Spokesman a morning issue. If you're old enough to remember, or have noticed on the newspaper the Old Man reads in A Christmas Story, many newspapers would fill the last page with "photos of the day". Dad's photos took the whole page a few days before the grand opening.

When I got older I got to go along and hold the plane's window open, out and up, for Dad to shoot. That was fun but it about tore my arm off. This is scanned from an 8x10" contact sheet, prints right from the negitives from Dad's 4x5" Press style cameras. I kept the prints, the negatives went to the Museum of North Idaho. Dad had maybe 1,000 - 1,500 of them.

The photos here show not only the new I-90 sweeper into the east end of town, but Potlatch Mill, Rutledge Unit.

The top left one shows the then brand new bridge that everyone now takes to go up to all the houses. Known now as Rutledge, we called it Armstrong Hill in the 70's. Great place to make out up on top. You could drive to the end of the road, turn around and park where you overlooked CdA and had clear vision of anyone coming your way long before they got there. I watched the 4th of July fireworks from there a time of two.

This shot could be held up to an arial promo shot of the CdA Resort Golf Course and new condo for comparison. It's all there. The sawmill has the tall stacks in the upper right. Check out the booms of logs ready to be fed into the mill.

The top right photo looks back at Sanders Beach and Tubbs Hill. Look how small a piece of land the new condos were built on is. In the background you can see the smoke from the sawmills out on Northwest Blvd.

The bottom left photo shows how west bound traffic exited over a bridge and down what is now East Lakeshore Drive and to the Serman intersection. In the background is Big Best, as we kids called it, the Cherry Hill area and the cross-town route of I-90.

The bottom right is all the same from the southwest. It clearly shows how big a mill Potlatch was and how much land it takes for a golf course.

For what must have been decades, a big chunk of boys growing up around here worked at least once in a sawmill, a mine or for a logger, rancher or farmer. I put in a short stint at Rutledge when I was going to NIC. Got a "join the union or else" letter in my paycheck once and figured if I was only going to work until I went to U of I, why should I pay them any of my money. End of job, start of summer.

I did have a couple of the most memorable work days of my life there, though. There were actually 2 of the best days of work ever, and then there were the days I had to work between the head rigs turning slabs. That sucked, hurt my back and bothered me until I finally had surgery 25 years later. But those are stories for another time.

More pics will follow. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summertime, And the Living is Easy

Here's another one of Dad's photos, City Beach in the crush of another beautiful Lake City day. You can see Playland pier in the back; dang, what a great place when you were a kid. Forget Coney Island, we had a reasonable facsimile right here that was good enough.

A kid could have a hell of a great day at City beach with a dollar bill. There was the Merry-go-round, Rock-o-plane, tiny tot roller coaster, Bumper Cars and the ever popular Swings which literally put you over Lake CdA. [We always imagined one breaking and sending a rider way out into the lake.] I rode everything at least a couple times but usually spent my money in the arcade. There were a few very special machines there.

You couldn't afford to do everything on a dollar but at least a couple times each summer I'd shoot the growling bear with the light beam (pre-laser days by a damn sight) rifle. It was great hitting that glass eye in his side, causing him to raise up on his rear legs, growl and turn. Great shooting! And there was skee-ball and pinball and ancient hand crank flip picture movie machines. One was a snake eating a rat and the other (if they didn't catch you looking) was a fan dancer.

Then there was the good stuff. There were two post card machines. For .02 you got a photo of a movie star (starlets on one side, hunks on the other) or, even better yet, hot rods and custom cars. Why or why didn't I keep all that crap? Yeah, famous words we all can claim.

But then there was the greatest arcade game of all time. There was an (of course, ancient) early try at a soccer game. It was basically a large aquarium size glass case that stood on metal legs (hell, it was all metal). On the front were a slot for a penny a hand lever on each side. In the case was a playing field covered with little players and a goal with goalie at each end. The field was lumpy and low spots were in front of each player so the ball wouldn't go dead. When you flipped your lever, all the men on your team would kick one leg, plus your goalie would cross the goal. So you'd flip that lever in an early version of foosball. The balls were steelies (yes, steel balls) and you got one for every penny.

Hell yes it was fun, and it got even funner as the game became more about trying to break the glass with a kicked steelie than it was pushing an abacus like bead for scoring a goal. And at a penny a ball, I tossed a good share of dollar bills, a penny at a time into that machine playing and trying to break that glass. Amazingly, and with what had to be like 1930's glass, it never broke. No matter how many solid shots on glass we slammed, it never even cracked.

A penny a ball. Try and have that much fun nowadays.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My father was the manager of the CdA Chamber of Commerce from 1948 to 1971. Summer of 1952 my mother was on vacation from Edmonton, Alberta. As Dad walked through City Park along the seawall he saw two women who were obviously on vacation (heck, there was only like 2,000 people in CdA, tourists were easy to spot). Dad, as I saw him do with thousands of people all his life, welcomed them to the Lake City.

The rest, as they say, is history. I am a direct product of the Chamber of Commerce, born in the Iron Horse parking lot (Lake City General, more on that some other time).

Dad had traveled all over North America reporting for a semi-weekly publication, The American Field, which is THE journal for anyone involved with bird dogs. But when he came through the Pacific Northwest, he knew this was the place for him. And he fell in love with Coeur d'Alene.

Involved deeply in tourism and the promotion of CdA, North Idaho and Idaho in general (he sat on the first State Tourism committee with Louise Shadduck), Dad came into possession of all sorts of things. The above poem is one of those items. My guess is this was printed somewhere around 1930. I believe it stands the test of time.

My dad, Kyle Walker, has been gone 20 years and I cherish so much of what he left me. Not the least of are his sense of humor, value of family and friends and love of CdA. This blog, and this entire blog site, is dedicated to him, Mr. Coeur d'Alene.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lakeside Days 1957 Program

Let's see how many pages I can post.
Check out the ads!

MOhawk 4

60,000 visitors!

The waterfront looks pretty industrial at the time.

Ben's Spudnut, now Capone's.
RexRexall, in the Desert, see the previous blog for the pic.
Everson's address became 107, home of Ace Travel for 34 years, now an art gallery.
A tug-o-war between lumber mills, this was serious!

Miss Lakeside Days, insert wolf whistle.
Yes, many businesses are this old.

Broderick Motors, now Architects West.

The New Studebaker!
Club Cigar & Sport Shop, fishing licenses up front, booze in the back.
IXL Toggery, when your parents really wanted you dressed up.
Gridley's, now the Painter's Chair.
Louie's is of course the Paul Bunyan.

Hart Drug, great magazine rack, now Java.
YJ Packing, fresh meat & sawdust floors. Hwy 10 is now Seltice.
Yes, there was a time when sailboats weren't outnumbered by jetskis.
The parade featured Miss Lakeside Days & her court, that's over.

Pines & Powell's, now the Iron Horse.
The baseball games were at Person because there was no McEuen at the time.

Central Motors, now Tito Macaroni's.
The boat races were not the hydroplane races, that was a different date,
Cruise Lake CdA on the Dance-a-wanna and the Sea-wee-wanna.

The Showboat was roughly where the rental storage units west of the I-90/NW Blvd/Ramsey interchange are.
Inland Marine was where the CdA Resort Convention Center and cruise boats are now.
The Lighthouse was the biggest hunting & fishing store. They had cases on the sidewalk where local fishermen displayed their big catches on ice. The loan offices for Wells Fargo are there now.

Sunset Raceway was roughly where the Shilo Inn is on West Appleway.
Knudtsen Chevrolet is now Headmasters.

Can't remember if it was Holsum or Bogge Brothers who tossed mini loaves of bread at the parade. Much better than candy.
Must have got darker earlier then, fireworks at 9:30pm.

Ray Jones Marina is now 11th Street Marina.
Remember S&H Green Stamps?
The Shady Rest was a great place. When Hwy 10 became I-90, it was cut off from the road. It's the somewhat abaondoned place you see behind the fence east of town. Bummer.

Kennedy Buick is now Takara & the Olympia.
First Federal S&L is now Canton Chinese.
The Boots & Saddle is now the parking lot for O'Shea's Irish Pub. Their Thursday smorgasbord was awesome, said the growing boy (me).
Stay tuned for what I throw at you next.