Get to know Clark County’s ‘rural centers’

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Portrait

For more information on life in Clark County, visit www.columbian.com/portrait.

Haven’t been in Clark County long enough to know there’s no water in Fargher Lake?

Then maybe you haven’t heard of six other “rural centers” in unincorporated Clark County: Dollars Corner, Chelatchie Prairie, Brush Prairie, Meadow Glade, Hockinson and Amboy. The seven rural centers are clusters of a few houses, perhaps a church, a few stores and a school.

They are set up with special development rules. They have no elected officials, but each is a small town in the making and has a unique feel, and all are slightly more densely populated than the countryside around them.

Clark County regulates them to ensure they maintain their rural character, but each area has land designated for commercial and industrial use. You’ll find some sidewalks, but also gravel roads to keep maintenance costs low and to hold speeds down to 25 mph.

Folks tend to love the rural centers if they like living on 5 acres or so in the country or want to keep a horse and chickens.Dollars Corner is a good stop for weary travelers. The area has seen increasingly heavy traffic passing through, which prompted recent plans to widen Highway 502 to accommodate it.Chelatchie Prairie is the last stop on the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad, a vintage train that offers sightseeing tours and Christmas tree excursions.

Fargher Lake is the home of a big general store. The actual lake was drained in 1918 to give way to mint fields and, years later, blueberry fields.

Brush Prairie, just south of Battle Ground, is home to the Prairie Bar and Grill, where the motto is: “More love, less attitude.”

Meadow Glade is the home of raspberries, strawberries and comfortable semi-rural homes a stone’s throw from Battle Ground.

Hockinson, the most populated and affluent of the rural centers, is home to the county’s biggest rural high school.

Amboy has a middle school, a historic church that is now a museum and Nick’s Tavern, where the motto is: “Serving great food, cold drinks and great memories since 1951.”