Readers Write: Remembering the Rathskeller and the Rock


Old OLD timers might enjoy the below comment that came through recently from Get Out North Idaho reader Gerry on a post I did in 2008, "60's in Cd'A Provided Some Eye Popping Events".

It's interesting to read a little of the history of the Rathskeller. When I was in college, I thought it was a really cool place. It had some Seattle Bands as I remember, and was generally packed when I was there. I never was aware it was family run. 
The Rathskeller and the Rock were the only two reasons I ever came to Idaho. I was 20, so Idaho was heaven. The Rock was an old 2-story schoolhouse with a round rock facade exterior just west of Post Falls that had been converted into a night club appealing to the younger crowd. It was huge, and it routinely had big bands from Seattle like Merilee Rush and the Turnabouts playing there on weekends.
It was where I had drunk my first beer ever. Had to add some tomato juice to it to cut the sharpness of the flavor of the beer. After several times there, I didn't need the tomato juice. 
After drinking in Idaho, my sidekick and I would navigate back in the direction of Spokane hoping not to get stopped by the police. We usually ended up at the Zips on Division at 3 in the morning where my friend worked and his connections got us very well priced hobo steak sandwiches. 
I've tried over the past few years to find locations of both the Rock and the Rathskeller, but couldn't remember exactly where they were. Now I know to look at 14th and Sherman for the Rathskeller. But the Rock? Don't know if the building is still standing, wouldn't know where to look.

Also, this comment by Candace Conradi from many moons ago on the same article had somehow managed to escape my notice but provides some fascinating and personal information about the Rathskeller. A belated thanks to you, candace, for this neat insight:

Funny how things come back to the surface. I just read this post from January 2008. I am one of the co-owners daughters and I am very proud of what the Rathskeller did for the community. It gave a place for young people to gather. It was, yes, a tavern. There was beer that flowed and yes, sometimes people abused that right. Things have not changed as far as I can tell. Beer is still consumed and abused today. To call our business anything other than a business is like saying that grocery stores cause obesity. 
The Rathskeller hosted live entertainment for 20 years, offering top acts that drew literally thousands (if not tens of thousands) into its welcoming space over its life. It pulled visitors from Canada, Washington, Montana, Oregon and brought tourism to our humble little town; it provided and paid taxes for the citizens. It was one of the best "fast food" places and probably the most popular pizza place in town. There were many naysayers at the time, but I can honestly say that many of them were closet fans, enjoying a beer, pizza or hamburger in the shadows. Our business was run by my Grandmother Anne, affectionately known as "Annie," my mother Jackie and my Aunt Lolly who were beloved by many. They were all single mothers who created a powerfully influential business that served the community. Far ahead of their time, by their example their children all went into the world, strong and confident that they could do anything. 
This past Tuesday evening we watched Glee, our favorite program on television. Its theme happened to be "Rumors." While all thing in life are imperfect, the other side of that coin is that they are also good in many ways. Often what is seen with our eyes (or through the eyes of our parents) is perceived only in part and not in whole and thus inaccurately. We choose to place our judgment and opinions rather casually, with little thought of how they land. The Rathskeller was a place that colored the history of our little town. That cannot be changed. 
Coeur d'Alene has grown up into a very sophisticated luxury vacation destination. The Rathskeller only a distant memory. But it still holds the imprint of those earlier days, when life was more simple. We had more fun then, and in some ways, and I miss some of those simpler times. I am proud to be the offshoot of such amazing women, a part of the history that colored our fare city. I cannot change anyone's point of view or perspective but I can offer the possibility of change. Every decade has its own imperfections and Coeur d'Alene was touched by the massive movement of the 60's like every other place on earth. 
But the Rathskeller, well it was just a place to go, dance, socialize and have some fun. I loved the imprint it and my family made. I am forever grateful for their courage, their strength and their example. Years have softened me to their hardships, their struggles, and their own challenges. What has remained unchanged for me is their example, an amazing gift I passed onto my children. To be strong, a leader, and striving for my best self was and remains today my greatest gift.  

9 comments:

Cedris Shepperd said...

I lived with the Goss family my first semester at NIJC. I loved going to "Rats" and considered it my home away from home. Probably spent too much time there!
Great memories of listening and dancing to The Cascades, peanut nights, and celebrations of birthdays there. When we went on to school in Moscow, we always stopped by Rathskellers "south" to say hi to Momma Anne. Great people...

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure the Rock was on Trent/Highway 53, maybe at the intersection with Cloverleaf Road where Curley's is now. Man, that was a long time ago, but I went there a couple of times. More of a Rats and State Line Gardens regular, though. Loved those days.

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John Rae said...

Had my first beer at the "Rat" in 1964. Drove down from Calgary, Alberta on the May long weekend and hit Good Grief at the border to kick it off. We hit every little tavern between the border and Couer D'Alene that weekend and then "The Rock". The Cascade's were at the Rat playing Rhythm of the Rain. We stayed at the State Motel right across the street from the Rat...very handy. I still have a beer pitcher I had "borrowed" one night from the Rat. Great memories of much beer and pizza with peanuts everywhere. I wish it was still there; I'd go there again in a New York minute.

byron said...

4 of us in our early 20's lived together in Hillyard (Spokane) working on the railroad in 1965. We spent many nights over a the Rat and the Rock.
As a 60's veteran of bars and taverns from Vancouver BC to San Francisco to Missoula - after hours Grange Halls and "closed" saloons, the Rat is probably the best memory of a place to drink (too much), dance, sing and have fun without the fights and crap.
finally wore out my "Rat" black on white sweatshirt a few years ago.

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Anonymous said...

I met my future wife the end of WSU rush 1967, I remember the song I asked her to dance, the dress she was wearing, and her beautiful eyes framed by her beautiful blond hair, reminiscences

Raymond Lewandowski said...

Was stationed at Fairchild AFB, Spokane, in 1964 & 65. Spent a lot of time at the Rock, State Line Gardens and Rats. I think Rats was the best of the 3. Also best band I heard there was The Shakers,a blues bunch. Anyone remember the name of the beer they sold then? I can't but know it was the worst oiss I ever had.

Betty said...

Was looking for info On Rats so happy to find a whole page. I too have many happy memories of it..My roommates and I would load up and drive over from Spokane almost every weekend..Loved going there..a previous post said someone met his beautiful wife there..I also met the first love of my life there, we have reconnected in the last few years.We too remember how we met, and also remember the saw you across the room thing.. ha.. The Cascades were a great group.. Such GOOD memories..