James V. Hawkins and Ora B. Hawkins arrived in Coeur d’Alene with their two sons, James W., age 1 1/2, and William S., age one month, in August of 1910. This was the beginning of five generations of the Hawkins family to live in Coeur d’Alene.
The Hawkins family was living in St. Joe City, Idaho, which is located adjacent to the St. Joe River. The fire of 1910 was so intense and traveling so fast that James V. helped his wife and two boys board a float dock on the St. Joe River where Ora B. poled and pushed the dock to St. Maries. With their mother, the boys found an available steam-powered boat to transport them to Coeur d’Alene while their father stayed to fight the longest fire ever known to mankind.
James V. and Ora B. were attorneys and lived in St. Joe City. In 1911, James V. started his law practice in Coeur d’Alene. He later became the postmaster for the Coeur d’Alene area until his death in 1941.
James V., Ora, James W. and William lived in their home at 1510 North Fourth Street.
Sons Jim and Bill graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School—Jim in 1925, and Bill in 1927. They attended and graduated from the University of Idaho. Bill continued his education at the University and graduated with his degree in law. Jim attended and graduated from Harvard Medical School and practiced medicine in Boston. In the late 1940’s, he returned to Coeur d’Alene to practice medicine until his death in 1973. Dr. Jim married Ida Whitely of Coeur d’Alene, and they were parents to six children.
Bill Hawkins practiced law with his dad. He married Agnes Ramstedt of Moscow, Idaho. They were parents to three children—James V. Hawkins who graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School in 1954, Ruthanna Hawkins-Rauer, who graduated in 1956, and Willa Mae Hawkins- Kemp who graduated in 1965. All three graduated from the University of Idaho.
Upon graduation from the U. of I., Jim and his wife, Gail (Guernsey), lived and worked in Coeur d’Alene from 1959 until 1967. Jim was employed by First Federal Savings and Loan of Coeur d’Alene. They are the parents to two children born in Coeur d’Alene, Jack William and Nancy Clare Hawkins. Jack and his wife, Julie, live in Boise with their two daughters, Kenna and Megan, who were also born in Coeur d’Alene. Nancy and her husband, Ken Chadderdon, born in Coeur d’Alene, and their son, Garrett, live in Spokane.
Ruthanna and her husband, Vance Rauer, moved to Spokane where she dedicated her life to educating children in elementary schools. She has two sons, Bill living in Boise, Idaho, and Clark in Spokane.
Willa Mae (Willie) upon graduation from the University of Idaho moved to Portland, Oregon, where she began her career in commercial banking. At this time, she met her husband, John Kemp, and they are the parents of son, Andrew John, Kari and Kris. They all continue to reside in the greater Portland area.
James V. Hawkins, the grandfather, was one of the founders of the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce and was involved in many community activities. Bill and Agnes were very committed to their community in so many ways.
Bill Chamber of Commerce
Coeur d’Alene Elks Lodge #1254 (Exalted Ruler, Idaho State President, and Grand Exalted Ruler for the United States)
Agnes Directed church choirs for 50 years – at the United Methodist Church and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. She directed the very active Job’s Daughters choirs for many years. The Methodist Christmas Choir Concerts were always attended by hundreds of community citizens.
Public Service was considered a responsibility of the Hawkins family.
Bill and Agnes’ first home was located at 1001 Front Street. Their son, Jim, was born in the home and not the local hospital. Dr. Jim Hawkins was the attending physician.
In 1941, Bill and Agnes moved into their home at 627 Government Way. The home was sold following Bill’s death on July 21, 1971. It is currently occupied by a local law firm.
Bill Hawkins would often mention his adventures on Lake Coeur d’Alene:
Jim, Ruthanna and Willie would safely walk from their home on Government Way to the city beach with their dog, Rex, leading the way. Spending an afternoon in the forested city park and at the city beach were memorable times.
If they had several pennies and nickels, the kids would frequent playland pier which was located on what is known now as Independence Point. The playland pier was a focal point for the young and old alike. When Farragut Navel Training Base was active in the early 1940’s, you would see many navy personnel ride on the swings, then dance at the USO which was a large building in the city park. The 4th of July was always a special day with the street and boat parade followed by the late evening fireworks—the tradition continues today.
There have been many changes in the community of Coeur d’Alene. The saw mills have disappeared. One of the mills has been replaced by a world-class golf course. Other saw mills along the Spokane River are the location of high-quality commercial and residential real estate developments.
The entry to the city on Northwest Boulevard provides an inviting atmosphere to the downtown area. The old movie theatres in downtown Coeur d’Alene have been replaced by a high-quality shopping plaza and retail stores. The Coeur d’Alene Resort was the beginning of high-rise construction this has led to additional buildings which provide first-class condominiums. The downtown core area represents a commitment to revitalization. Community leaders have been good stewards of successfully providing a vibrant downtown atmosphere.