Paul Martin Mead Founder of Mead
The following information was provided by Pauli Smith Executive Director, Historic Highlandlake
Paul Martin Mead, founder of Mead, CO.
Paul Martin Mead was the son of Dr. Martin Luther and Myra Mahetabel Jenkins Mead. In the early 1880s Lorin Cassandre Mead, founder of Highlandlake, contacted his younger brother Martin, extolling the virtues of Highlandlake and pressing on him the urgent need for a physician in the area. In 1883, Martin brought his family to Highlandlake, where they quickly built a home.
To make the move, a railroad car was chartered to transport lumber with which to construct the new house, along with their household furniture and personal belongings, to the Highland Switch. Once there, everything was loaded onto wagons and hauled the remaining three miles to Highlandlake.
Paul was the only child of Martin and Myra that lived to have a family. Born in Albany, NY in 1869, he spent his boyhood in Cleveland, and came with his parents to Highlandlake, Colorado in 1883. He studied at Oberlin College and Colorado College and married Ariet Palmer, a teacher in the Highlandlake School.
Between the years of 1892 and 1912, he and Ariet had eight children. His daughter Myra Imogene Mead Cope remembered that her father was a strict disciplinarian, but also devoted and affectionate, always doing things for his children's pleasure. He built play equipment on the spacious grounds around their home, including two merry-go-rounds, a big one for the older children and a little one for the smaller ones, a see-saw board that revolved on a post so that they could go not only up and down, but around as well. There was the "Giant Stride," a revolving wheel mounted high on a post from which were hung handles on ropes. The children would take hold of the handles, run a few steps, and swing wide through the air in a circle. There were also big and little swings hanging from tree branches. The biggest one had ropes tied to the ropes that held the seat and a pair of boys, pulling on these ropes in unison, would send the swinger high into the branches of the tree. Finally there was a trolley, consisting of a little car on wheels, which rode a track extending from the roof of one of the out-buildings, far out onto the lawn. There were always tennis and croquet courts.
The lawns were Paul's pride and joy. None of the farmers in the area could be bothered with such an extravagance, but Paul leveled the ground and dug little irrigation ditches to bring in water, and the children had the job of keeping them free of dandelions, at a nickel a bushel. He built cement walks from the house to the nearest outbuildings, and even built the only brick outhouse in the area.
Paul Mead was the president of the school board for many years, and in the late spring the entire school, plus the parents and anyone else who wanted to come were invited to a picnic. Everyone would come just before lunchtime, laden with baskets filled to overflowing with food. The children were free to play on all the play equipment while their parents kept watch and visited.
Paul loved music and had to have it in his home. He played the organ and was for many years the church organist at the Highlandlake Church of Christ (Congregational). He also was a good tenor and Ariet sang soprano. Shortly after their marriage, he purchased a big old Rosewood square piano. Ariet started taking piano lessons as soon as it arrived and eventually became quite proficient. About the same time that he purchased the piano, Paul also acquired a cornet which he taught himself to play and on many an evening the house was full of music, he with his cornet and Ariet accompanying him on the piano. Paul eventually joined a cornet band in Highlandlake and there was many an evening when after a hard day in the fields, he would drive off for band practice or to play in a concert. Sometime around 1903 or 1904 he wrote a song extolling the virtues of planting sugar beets instead of wheat in order to bring a railroad to town (Highlandlake).
In late 1905, the Great Western Railroad announced that that they were building their railroad through the Highlandlake district and they wanted to put a beet dump and a station on the eastern border of Paul's farm. Paul immediately saw a business opportunity and before the first track was laid, platted out lots and streets for a new town. True to his love and interest for the children of his community, Paul set aside land for a park and school. He named the town "Mead" after his father, Dr. Martin Luther Mead, the first doctor in the area and on whose original farm, the new town was located. Several of the streets were also carefully named such as "Palmer Street" for Ariet's family, and "Martin Street" after his father.
As a supporter of the local (Women's Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) Paul added a clause to the deeds of the lots he sold. If anyone was caught imbibing, selling or even having alcohol beverages on the properties, then they would forfeit their property and ownership would go back to the Mead family. Many of the lots in Mead to this day still have this clause in their deeds. No one, to anyone's knowledge has ever lost their homes or property to this clause though.
A month after the town was platted, the railroad laid tracks through the new town and continued on through to the community of Liberty and then to Longmont where the sugar beet factory was located. The first town board meeting, which was held in Dalgetty/Daughty's store (believed to be a dry goods store), was held on April 13, 1908.
Paul rented the remainder of his farm sometime in 1908 and moved his family to the "You-Bar-Kay" ranch near Lyons that he purchased a couple of years earlier with the money he earned from the sale of his lots. The family lived on the ranch until about 1912 when they sold it and bought a store in Longmont. This proved to be a dismal failure, and both the business and their home was lost. After this the family moved to the Red Rock region of Berthoud. Eventually, Paul started working as a county agent, first in Southern Colorado, then in Aztec, New Mexico. He later moved to California, and finally to Hawaii. Once they moved to the islands, the Mead's purchased two apartment buildings and became active in real estate groups. He was also instrumental in founding the Waikiki Branch of the Rotary Club. After his death the club erected a fountain in his memory.
Paul and Ariet celebrated their golden anniversary at the home of their daughter Pauline Mead Patraw in Hot Springs, Arkansas. After the celebration they traveled back to Vermont to see the original Mead homestead, returning to Hawaii shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. They lived through the agony of war, and shortly after the peace was signed Paul died at the age of 76 in 1945.
Paul's body was returned to his beloved Highlandlake and buried next to his parents in the Pioneer Highlandlake cemetery. Ariet went to live with a daughter in New Mexico where she died in 1961. Ariet is buried in New Mexico.
Information on the life of Paul Mead was taken from a history written by his daughter Myra Imogene Mead Cope. Myra died on 11 Dec. 1977 at the age of 83. Additional information from handwritten and typed copies of early Highlandlake and Mead town records.