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Neighborhoods north of Spokane maintain rural feel

Mead High School is seen as school ends on a recent day. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Mead High School is seen as school ends on a recent day. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Neighborhoods to the north of Spokane — Mead, Colbert, Fairwood and Wandermere — have held on to their largely residential and rural feel through the decades.

With agricultural roots, Mead got its start in 1887 when settler James Berridge homesteaded 160 acres.

Historians say his selection for a town name was inspired by Gen. George Meade, briefly Berridge’s commanding officer in the Union Army. The lore falls short in explaining why the second “e” was dropped when Berridge opened the post office by late 1889.

The town had a few early enterprises, including a blacksmith shop, hotel and general store. Today, Mead is largely residential, said Greg Anderson, a division chief at Fire District 9. He grew up in Whitworth Terrace when most land to the north was vacant.

“Really, the 1960s through the 1980s is when all the areas north became a bedroom community of Spokane,” Anderson said.

Early neighborhoods in Fairwood drew residents some 50 years ago and led to the commercial hub of Fairwood Shopping Center. Along West Hastings Road, that center hosts a regular farmers market.

More recent commercial development at Wandermere created a larger retail shopping and entertainment center, from restaurants to Village Cinemas and Wandermere Golf Cours e in the Little Spokane River Valley.

Colbert originally was called Drygoon, but the name was changed in 1902 after early postmaster William H. Colbert.

The town once boasted five sawmills, three saloons, and five stores among other enterprises. Today, it’s also mostly residential, though Colbert Trading Company retains a general-store atmosphere.

Today, the overall north region’s suburban neighborhoods attract both retirees and families, the latter often drawn to the Mead School District or nearby private schools: Northwest Christian and Saint George’s.

It’s home also to Peone Prairie and Green Bluff, an agricultural-tourism destination with more than 30 small farms offering U-pick produce and seasonal outdoor activities. Another visitor draw is Cat Tales, a wildlife park and zoo along the Newport Highway.

The now-defunct, sprawling Kaiser Mead smelter plant rose during World War II and attracted nearby development by the 1940s. Although the plant is being removed in sections for commercial development, the TV show “Z Nation” is filmed regularly around its decaying industrial spaces.


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