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Town to get gift of property


Last updated 8/6/2014 at 1:39pm

A Western Washington woman has agreed to gift a piece of property on Coulee Dam’s north entrance to the town, Mayor Greg Wilder stated last week.

Diane Hartzell, whose parents lived here during construction of Grand Coulee Dam, will be in Coulee Dam Aug. 21, when the property gift clears legal hurdles. A public ceremony is planned, with details to come later.

Hartzell has advised that she will also be donating a heavy box of tools her father used while working on the dam site, as well as photographs and copies of scrapbooks.

Wilder stated that he would like to see the site become a roadside rest stop with restrooms, with perhaps a kiosk information area and an entrance monument of some kind.

Wilder said the town will start developing a more specific plan for the site later this year.

The near one-acre parcel is two-tiered and lies at the north entrance to the town, one part stepping down into a fair size flat area that looks out towards the Columbia River.

“My father and mother acquired the property and had hoped to build their retirement home there,” Hartzell stated.

Speaking by phone from Anacortes, where she now lives, Hartzell stated that her father, Melvin and his brother Fred, both were electricians and worked on the dam in the mid-1930s.

“My father fell in love with the area and after he married my mother the two came back to the Coulee Dam area each year for their anniversary,” Hartzell said. “They kept this up until later years when they were unable to do so.”

Her mother’s name was Dorothy.

Hartzell’s parents lived in Lake Forest Park until they passed away.

“I remember coming here to camp out in the summer when camping out was really roughing it,” Hartzell shared. “I remember on one occasion my parents tied a mattress on top of our car and we headed out to Grand Coulee.”

Hartzell said she didn’t want to develop the property, and one day called city hall to talk to someone about giving the property to the town. “That’s when I got Mayor Wilder, and he has been so good to work with,” she noted.

“When the property is developed it will be a fitting memorial to my parents who really loved this area,” Hartzell concluded.

The tools, photos and scrapbooks could be made available for museum display, Wilder said.


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