Wednesday on the Inland Journal podcast, many books have been written about Spokane’s history. A lot of them have been focused on downtown or the city’s now-historic neighborhoods. Author Ty Brown has given us something new, a look at the early development of the area we now know as Wandermere. It’s a golf course, yes, but it has an interesting history as a year-round sporting area.
Before we finished with Ty Brown, he wanted to talk about one thing we hadn’t asked: where the name Wandermere came from.
Ty Brown: “This is one of the mysteries. We didn’t really have hard facts about how it was named. My mom and my uncle used to always say, ‘Your great grandma named it, because Wandermere means a reflection off the water or the sunlight coming off the water.’ And wander could be like wanderlust or wandering around, which is not far from the truth. But doing the research that I did, I learned a lot about my great grandparents. They started together in Butte, Montana where they were involved in real estate. They had a real estate company that would bring them down into the Salt Lake Valley area. I found this photo album that had these pictures of my great grandfather from the early 1900s and some of the captions of the pictures would say “At the bridge at Wandermere’, but it was spelled differently. Instead of an ‘e’ in the middle, it was an ‘a’. And I got to thinking, that’s weird. They spelled it wrong. But the more I thought and the more I learned, these pictures were taken well before they owned the Wandermere property in Spokane. So, doing further research, I realized there was actually a resort in Salt Lake City in the early 1900s that was called Wandermere. That resort had a spring-fed lake and they had ice skating and swimming and amusement rides. My great grandparents would visit that place when they went to Salt Lake on their business trips and ultimately, what happened when they got to Spokane, they purchased the property on the Little Spokane, and in my eyes, they basically created what they found, what they enjoyed in Salt Lake City.”
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