Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This Day in History, April 7

On this day in 1963, Harley Hudson passed away.  Harley didn't build any railroads, captain any steamboats, mine any gold or run any sawmill.  But what he did do has had just as long lasting affect on Coeur d'Alene as any of those who did.

Harley opened a little shack near the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene selling hamburgers in 1907.  It was known as the Missouri Kitchen until around 1960 when Hudson Hamburgers became the name synonymous with burgers in Coeur d'Alene.  Just like today, Harley served up hamburgers to locals and tourists alike.  When he opened (very near where Hudson's is today), Coeur d'Alene was even then a tourist mecca.  People rode the electric line into Coeur d'Alene to board steamboats that would take them down the lake and up the St. Joe River to the Cataldo Mission, St. Maries and St. Joe City.

The above photo shows the south side of the 200 block of Sherman Ave. in 1954.  Yes, that's a Hudson Automobile dealership (was the Buick a used car?) and Texaco gas station, located roughly where Tito Macoroni's is today.  But farther back you'll see the Missouri Lunch sign.  That location sported a U-shaped counter where the 2nd generation of Hudsons flipped burgers.

Of course today the 4th generation, Steve and Todd, are still serving up old school hamburgers on a grill that is over 50 years old itself.  Hudson's has been featured in numerous publications, both locally and nationally with appearances in the New York Times and Sunset Magazine among others.

Hudson's never became McDonald's (thank goodness!) but has certainly left a major mark in Coeur d'Alene.  Here's a tip of the hat to you, Harley, for starting something that is as unique to and loved by Coeur d'Alene as Tubbs Hill and City Beach.

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