February 4, 2013 in City

Then and Now photos: Hazelwood Farms

West Plains dairy was subdivided, sold off in early 20th century
Spokane’s Hazelwood Farms was a leading Northwest dairy business when its founders, David and George Brown and John L. Smith, decided to subdivide and sell off their land holdings on Spokane’s West Plains in 1906. Harry Neely and C.F. Young, of Neely & Young, well-known for selling large tracts of Opportunity and Greenacres, handled the business. To make the land arable, more than $150,000 was spent to pump millions of gallons of water from Silver Lake through 36-inch wooden pipe and ditches. Buyers could purchase land in five- to 100-acre parcels. Smith said he “expects to transform this wheat land into some of the most profitable alfalfa fields and apple orchards in the west.” Advertisements were placed in Chicago newspapers to entice city folks who yearned for their own spread out west. A 1908 news report said 1,500 out of 2,500 irrigated acres had been sold and that orchards would be planted soon. Some buyers said the claims were too good to be true. Chicago resident George Mezger exacted the promise that Hazelwood Farms would plant and maintain an orchard on the property for five years when he bought five acres, sight unseen, in 1909. When Mezger arrived in 1914, the trees were sickly and the home site was a low spot that flooded yearly. The Mezgers demanded their money back, but lost in court. The Hazelwood Farms land is roughly bounded by Hayford Road, Highway 2 and West Medical Lake Road. Some of the land is in the city of Airway Heights, which incorporated in 1955, and under Fairchild Air Force Base, which was established in 1942. – Jesse Tinsley

1906: Although little information is available about this photo, it appears to be an elaborate exhibit for selling land on the Hazelwood Farms. It appears to be stocked with local apples, vegetables and bales of alfalfa hay.

Jesse Tinsley photo Buy this photo
Present day: Traffic moves swiftly through Airway Heights on Highway 2, near Hayford Road. The display and sales office for Hazelwood Farms was likely close to this location.

There are three comments on this story. Click here to view comments >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email