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Huckleberries

| May 7, 2023 1:05 AM

It was THE place to go to celebrate.

Cloud 9, perched seven stories above the shoreline, offering a sweeping view of Lake Coeur d’Alene, from Cougar, Casco and Kidd Island bays on the west to far beyond Tubbs Hill on the east.

The view alone was worth “the price of the meal” says Donna Danzer, who, with hubby Terry, enjoyed their first anniversary, in August 1977, at the North Shore Motor Hotel. She was 27, and he was 33.

They splurged and ate at Cloud 9, Bob Templin’s penthouse restaurant, zipping to the seventh floor in a glass-enclosed elevator. The diamond earrings Terry gave Donna perfected that romantic night.

Bob Templin and partner Jerry Jaeger made the Danzers’ special evening possible a few years earlier by building the seven-story tower, topped by their elegant restaurant. Fifty years ago, work was nearing completion. On May 4, 1973, a Coeur d’Alene Press story set the opening of Cloud 9 for July 1.

“Not unlike small children at Christmastime,” the story began, “officials and the staff at the North Shore Motor Hotel are anxiously awaiting completion of an ambitious expansion program. When work is done in a couple of months, they’ll be walking on Cloud 9.”

At the time, Jerry called Cloud 9 “very modernistic.”

Cloud 9 featured ceiling-to-floor glass windows and terrace seating, showcasing the bird’s-eye view of water, hills, boats, sun worshipers, marinas, sunsets and sunrises. The snazzy restaurant offered seating for 262 and a nearby conference room that could hold 80. Live music and a piano bar were regular features.

Locals took visitors to Cloud 9 to show off Coeur d’Alene. It was the venue for anniversaries, marriage proposals, prom dates, birthdays, promotions and farewell parties.

Bosses and employees labored to sustain Cloud 9’s magic.

Former councilman Dave Walker, Lake City’s unofficial goodwill ambassador, washed dishes soon after Cloud 9 opened. He lasted eight days, a record of sorts at the time when turnover was high and washers had the shelf life of a mayfly.

“In those eight days, I worked with six different people, some staying only one day,” Dave said. “The main issue was to scrub grout on floor tiles after the dishes were done.”

Dave’s last night was memorable.

“My workmate had had enough after two days and said he was quitting; me, too,” Dave said. “After finishing work, he grabbed four Budweisers and two cigars from the bar. We sat at the corner table and enjoyed our ‘bonuses,’ watching the sun come up over the lake.”

In spring 1983, Duane Hagadone and Jerry Jaeger would gain control of Bob Templin’s hospitality holdings. Cloud 9 would become Beverly’s. The North Shore would become The Coeur d’Alene resort. And slumping Coeur d’Alene would become a national tourism brand.

Name dropping

Mae McEuen isn’t the only booster for whom a local park is named. In Rathdrum, Stub Myers Park spreads over 8.2 acres, with ball and soccer fields, basketball and pickleball courts, horseshoe pits and more. Its namesake epitomized volunteerism.

Lyal “Stub” Myers had worked gratis for Rathdrum for 16 years when the Press featured him in May 1983. At the time, he was 76 and building a bridge over Rathdrum Creek in City Park. He kept his pickup packed with tools to help city crews repair the water system, rake the cemetery, patch potholes, whatever needed to be done. Also, he served for decades as a councilman and a street commissioner.

The retired Kaiser Aluminum worker wouldn’t accept pay, except for free water service and a tank of gas. He said his pension and Social Security were enough.

And, 40 years ago, he offered this pearl of wisdom that rings truer today: One of the problems with today’s society is that too many people are satisfied watching television or sitting around in bars. Instead, they need to get out and work, whether it’s for money or as a volunteer.

Rat hole?

If you wonder what Coeur d’Alene was like in the 1980s, my late friend Patrick Jacobs had two words for it: “Rat hole.”

In an old online post, the restaurant reviewer said: “The economy reeked like a dead, lead-poisoned Rainbow Trout after the glory days of the local logging and mining industries fizzled out, leaving behind loads of unemployed workers and major environmental disasters to clean up.” And: “Downtown was full of vacant storefronts and was being taken over each night by wild gangs of mullet-sporting, Jack Daniels-chugging youth cruising up and down Sherman and parking their El Caminos long enough to blare some AC/DC, smash some bottles and pick up hair-sprayed members of the opposite sex.”

But, despite all that, Patrick loved this place in the ’80s when he grew from a “geeky preteen” to a high school graduate. “It might have been a dump,” he concluded, “but it was the only dump I knew.”

Huckleberries

Poet’s Corner: Amid high peaks in Andes mud/the Incas learned to raise the spud,/and tubers then for years they grew/while folks in Europe had no clue — The Bard of Sherman Avenue. (“Potatoes”).

Limericking: The Phantom of the Opera has closed,/That remarkable play Mr. Webber composed./The production amazed/Decades of fans who all praised/But sue me, during the movie, I dozed — The Humble Spud ("PHANTOM").

Factoid: On May 1, 1953, the Coeur d’Alene council changed driving patterns by designating 19 blocks of the Fort Grounds for one-way traffic. Affected streets were: Dike Road, Lakeshore Drive, Forest Drive, Park Drive and Military Drive.

Trailblazer: The headline said it all 75 years ago (May 1, 1948): Miss Maxine Whitney Passes Idaho Bar Exams; Will Be Coeur d’Alene’s First Woman Attorney.” Five years later, she would bust through another glass ceiling when she replaced her father, M.G. Whitney, as probate judge. She never married. And she lived life on her own terms.

Did You Know ... that eventual winner “Lake City High” was one of three finalists in May 1993 when Coeur d’Alene school officials mulled names for the new high school. The other two? Lake Forest High. And Timberlake High.

Parting shot

Kootenai County has been a love nest in this state since at least 1919, when the Hitching Post opened. The marriage venue, now at 524 N. Government Way, did box-office business during WWII when the Farragut Naval Training Station operated at Bayview. And the “I-do’s” were still going strong here during the Korean War when Kootenai County dubbed itself Idaho’s “marriage capital.” Released in May 1953, the state vital statistics of the previous year confirmed that claim. Kootenai County led the state in marriages (2,780) and divorces (277). In times of war, Kootenai County proposed love. The Hippies of the '60s would approve of that message.

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D.F. (Dave) Oliveria can be contacted at dfo@cdapress.com.

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Photo courtesy of The Coeur d'Alene Press archives

Bob Templin and Jerry Jaeger survey work on Cloud 9.

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Courtesy photo

Lyal “Stub” Myers, center, grandson Joel Isbell and an unidentified woman at 1988 dedication of Stub Myers Park.

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Patrick Jacobs

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Photo courtesy of The Coeur d'Alene Press archives

Maxine Whitney in UI law library.

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Photo courtesy of The Coeur d'Alene Press archives

Don and Lynn Knapp of the Hitching Post.