WHO SAVED TUBBS HILL?
In 1884, Tony Tubbs filed Tubbs Addition on 134 acres, a rectangular plat of seven blocks with straight streets disregarding the steep hillside grade. It appears Tony was a shameless promoter of unbuildable property.
In 1936, the Coeur d’Alene City Council, with voter approval, bought part of Tubbs Hill and what is now McEuen Field for a municipal power plant. However, Washington Water Power sued and stopped the city from obtaining cheap electric powerin 1937.
In 1962, the mayor broke the tie to approverezoning to allow two of his pals whom he had appointed to his administration to develop the top of Tubbs Hill for a convention center. The voters ousted the mayorand council in 1963!
In 1973, the Idaho Water Company proposed to double the water rates and the next year the CDA voters approved a bond to buy the Water Company franchise, which carried with it property owned on the east side of Tubbs Hill. Also in 1973, German investors entered into a contract to purchase 34 acres on the crown of Tubbs Hill for the purpose of building condominiums. This brought a strong reaction from CDA citizens, and they raised money to match the contractprice. With the support of the city council and matching federal funds, the property was conveyed into public ownership in 1974, avoiding having a Deutschland Uber Alles.
Has it been the greedy one who saved the hill? In part, but also there were heroes like Art Manley and Ron Edinger, and a whole lot of luck.
The complete story is in “The Treasure Called Tubbs Hill” by Scott Reed, and is for sale at $10.00 with all proceeds going to the Tubbs Hill Foundation. The book is available at the CDA City Parks Department, Hastings Book Store, The Coeur d’Alene Resort Logo Shop and ROW at 2nd & Sherman.
Currently the Foundation is working with the City and the Urban Forestry Committee on restoring native habitat on Tubbs Hill. This is a several-step process which includes fuel reduction, removal of non-native trees as they prohibit the growth of native species and planting treated areas with a mixture of native trees and shrubs . Over the past several years, the Foundation, in conjunction with the City, has planted approximately 200 native ponderosa pine trees, and with the completion of this restoration program, ponderosa pine, western white pine ( Idaho’s state tree), western larch and a variety of native shrubs will be planted on the Hill. A more complete description of this project can be found by downloading the Tubbs Hill Restoration Brochure.
Curious to learn more about how the city and Tubbs Hill Foundation work to maintain the hill? The Natural Open Space Management Plan was developed to provide long term guidelines for the city’s natural open spaces, including Tubbs Hill.