History of Oregon Newspapers/Deschutes County
Bend.—Bend, Oregon, was a small but ambitious village in Crook county when, as the center of a homestead and timber-claim region, it attracted the attention of Max Lueddemann, owner of one little paper at Shaniko and another at Antelope, in 1903. The result was the establishment of the Bend Bulletin as a weekly, though the weekly Deschutes Echo was running in a nearby hamlet.
The first issue appeared March 27, 1903, run off the inevitable hand-press in a log hut which had been the first schoolhouse in Bend. The original publisher never lived in Bend. Before coming to Oregon Mr. Lueddemann had been a lawyer in Georgia, coming west for his health. He thrived so well that forty years after his arrival in Oregon (1898) he is still a busy, enterprising business man in Port land, where he is in real estate.
The paper's first support was largely from the land notices which supplied the main income of so many early Oregon papers. The town, however, was beginning to be recognized as a lumbering and irrigation center. When the Bulletin was started the town consisted, principally, of the irrigation company office, a small sawmill, and a few scattered houses. Deschutes county was not to be organized until hardly more than a hamlet, 1916. The best the little community, could afford, in the judgment of the publisher, was a four-page five-column paper, with two of the four pages ready-print, sent in from Portland. The value of the first plant was about $1,000.
The first editor was Don P. Rea, who remained for only a few weeks and was succeeded by J. M. Lawrence, who was editor for two years and later (1910) a part owner. Charles D. Rowe was editor from 1905 to 1911; U. N. Hoffman, 1911-1913. George Palmer Putnam purchased the paper in 1910 and continued as publisher until 1917, when he sold to Robert W. Sawyer, who has headed the organization since that time.
The first printer was A. H. Kennedy. The old press on which he ran off the paper was freighted in from Shaniko, 100 miles away, which then looked more like a metropolis than Bend and had its hopes.
The editor was the reporter "&c. &c. &c." in those early days of the Bulletin. It was several months before county correspondence was introduced. Among the early printers were Miss Florence McCann, who later became Mrs. Ralph Spencer, wife of the shop foreman; Miss Marion Wiest, also a printer the first year, who later became Mrs. M. G. Coe of Bend. Mrs. E. D. Belden and Mrs. Grace Hansen did clerical work and helped in the bindery.
After a few years the town grew rapidly as lumbering and irrigated farming were developed. The newspaper status was unchanged, however, with one exception, before 19 16. The exception was a consolidation with the Deschutes Echo in 1904.
The Echo had been started in the rival townsite of Deschutes, now within the Bend city limits, by A. C. Palmer in June 1902. The Grass Valley Journal commented on the advent of the Echo: "Mr. Palmer has started his paper a little early in order to catch some of those always welcome to the printer timber notices."
In July 1903 George Schlecht took charge of the little paper. That same month the plant was destroyed by fire, and the paper was published for the remainder of its career in the Prineville Review office. Schlecht moved away to a more promising job, leaving the field to the young and ambitious Bend Bulletin.
The year 1916 is memorable in Bend and Bulletin history for two reasons: Deschutes county was organized from part of Crook in that year, and the first issue of the daily came off the press December 6. The weekly publication day, which had been Wednesday, was then changed to Thursday.
The Bulletin moved into its first brick building July 27, 1912. The present building was occupied January 1, 1923. In the first twenty years after the first issue the paper's circulation had increased more than tenfold, from 200 to more than 2,000. Increase since then has been heavy.
The paper's biggest local-interest news story was the announcement, May 10, 1915, in the weekly, of the proposed construction of the big Shevlin-Hixon sawmill.
The creation of Deschutes county in 1916 was, in part at least, the result of a campaign waged by the Bulletin, whose policy is said to be "complete, accurate, and fair presentation of the news" and "keeping abreast of the town in equipment, size, service."
Four pages of colored comics were introduced in the Saturday paper in 1921.
George Palmer Putnam, former publisher, is nationally known writer of western stories and travel works, arctic explorer, book publisher. His second wife was Amelia Earhart, noted aviatrice. His last two years in Oregon (1915-1917) he was secretary to Governor James Withycombe.
Mr. Lawrence, early editor of the Bulletin, was a native of Wisconsin, where he was born January 31, 1864. He was editor of the Oregon City Enterprise in the late 80's and early 90's. Later he worked on the Salem Statesman and the Oregonian, was assistant secretary of the Portland chamber of commerce. He went to Bend as United States land commissioner and there became acquainted with Max Lueddemann, who soon had him on the job as editor of the young paper. He died in Bend November 19, 1936.
The present head of the paper, Mr. Sawyer, served several years as county judge of Deschutes county, was a member of the state high way commission, later of the state capitol commission, which erected the new state capitol. He is active in community and state development.
Henry N. Fowler, a 1914 graduate of the University of Oregon, editor; Remey M. Cox news editor, Philip F. Brogan reporter, and Frank Loggan business manager.
The Bulletin had competition in its field from 19 15 to November 1926. The Central Oregon Press was established by Charles E. Short as a Friday independent paper. The next year Archie Whisnant be came editor and continued, remaining through 1921, when the daily edition was begun. After a year the daily was discontinued and the weekly was edited by Dan R. Conway. In 1924 the daily edition was resumed. For two months the picturesque but visionary Kirby Leigh Cardigan was in charge as managing editor. He was soon succeeded by D. W. Stone, who edited the paper until its purchase by J. E. Shelton of Eugene and associates (The Bend Publishing Company) in 1926. Harold A. (Hal) Moore, later political reporter and now telegraph editor of the Oregonian, was editor. The paper was sold to the Bulletin in November 1926.
In the meantime this paper had left its mark by enforcing, through a suit that went up to the Oregon supreme court, the right of newspaper reporters to inspect the records in the county clerk's office. The case was handled by Edward F. Bailey, prominent Democratic leader, who was the party's candidate for governor in 1930.
Other Bend publications were the Labor Bender, a labor weekly, published by the Central Trades, Labor & Farmers' Council, and edited by J. E. Bloom in 1920-21, and C. O. Broxon in 1922, and the Central Oregon Legionnaire, a monthly published by the Colortype Company, Inc., and edited by Charles F. Bown in 1923.
A weekly, the Deschutes County Advertiser, is now (1939) edited by Harriet A. Pierce.
Laidlaw (Tumalo).–When Bend was a struggling little community of a few hundreds, with its future a matter of conjecture, a rival town sprang up within a few miles. This was christened Laidlaw by W. A. Laidlaw of Portland, who, like A. M. Drake, founder of Bend, had the vision to see a future for the Deschutes valley. Both recognized the vital necessity of railroad communication. Drake pinned his faith to a north-and-south line down the Deschutes valley, and Laidlaw believed his town on the logical route for the extension of the Corvallis & Eastern railroad over Hogg pass into central Oregon and on east. This particular railroad, not unconnected with the newspaper history of Corvallis, thus had its part in the establishment of a newspaper in the Deschutes region. The townsite of Laidlaw was filed in 1904, shortly after Drake had started laying out the townsite of Bend, and the next year Laidlaw had a newspaper, the Chronicle, a Friday weekly edited and published by A. P. Donohue. The Bend Bulletin had been established in 1903. In about two years W. P. Myers was publishing the Chronicle, a four-page paper, for which he was charging $1.50 a year and claiming 400 subscribers. Both Bend and Laidlaw had the ag. cultural possibilities; but Bend soon had the industries and the railroad, together with a most beautiful natural setting, while the Corvallis & Eastern development, the hope of Laidlaw, became a lost cause for another Oregon community. The paper was suspended by H. H. and C. L. Palmer in 1911.
Redmond.–Redmond is in Deschutes county; but, as Ripley perhaps would put it, Redmond's first newspaper never was published in Deschutes county at all. It was launched in 1909, while Redmond was stil in Crook county, and before Deschutes county was carved out of Crook the pioneer paper, known as the Oregon Hub, had disappeared. Its editor-publisher was W. C. Walker, and he undertook publication of his little four-page six-column Thursday weekly at a time when Redmond had a mere 150 population. The little farming center grew, and he kept going until 1915, when he suspended publication.
Meanwhile two other papers had been launched, the Spokesman and the Enterprise. The Spokesman was started in June 1910 by H. H. and C. L. Palmer, who continued until 1917, when they sold to M. W. Pettigrew. Meanwhile they had been running an eight-page five-column paper, the politics of which they changed from Republican to independent in 1914.
The Enterprise was the undertaking of a rising young publisher named Douglas Mullarky, 13 years old when he launched it in 1913. He was then just breaking into the high school; but his publication wasn't a high school paper. It was a regular community newspaper, five-column folio, ready-print inside. Actually it compared favor ably with a good many of its contemporaries in the smaller Oregon communities. Douglas charged his subscribers $1 a year and gave them in return stories about the potato show, Crook county cows, the young people's association, all the local sport news, covering the minor happenings also in readable style. He carried considerable advertising, one double column of which was on his first page. The young publisher kept his paper going for nearly three years, when he left for the University of Oregon. There he became editor of the student newspaper, the Oregon Emerald.
The Spokesman has continued through the years, since 191 5 with out competition in its field.
Changes of personnel have been many. In 1921 Douglas Mullarky had the satisfaction of returning to the home town as editor and publisher of its only surviving newspaper, the Spokesman, in which position he remained for three years. Then, for the next four years, or until 1927, W. B. Russell, who had purchased the paper from Mr. Mullarky, remained in charge. Edgar Bloom was next, remaining until another Redmond youngster, Joe Colbert Brown, with his young wife, Mary Conn Brown, purchased the paper in the fall of 1931. Both journalism graduates of the University of Oregon, they are actively engaged in producing the newspaper, which has won both firsts and seconds in Oregon best-weekly contests under the direction of the state association.
Mr. Pettigrew, prominent among the Spokesman's publishers, was a real veteran of the West. In the early eighties, when his town was 250 miles from the nearest railroad, he published the Sundance (Wyo.) Gazette. He edited several other frontier papers.
Lapine.—A paper that ran up a circulation of 627 while published in a town with a population of 40 was noted by Alfred Powers in Oregon Exchanges for January 1922. The paper, La Pine Inter-Mountain, established in 1911 by E. N. Hurd, later publisher of the Seaside Signal, and conducted by William F. Arnold from 1912 to 1918, was the only paper in a thousand square miles of territory southeast of Bend, from which town it is 32 miles distant. Mr. Arnold made a good bit of his equipment. He installed a Diamond press and a Unitype machine.
Mr. Arnold carried advertising not only from his own community but from Bend and other towns, and he filled 11 of his 24 columns with paying business. No personal in his paper was worth less than six lines. Between 1918 and 1921 H. N. Lyon ran the paper, but Mr. Arnold was back in 1921. He raised the paper's size to six columns, the price to $2. He sold to Douglas Johnson in 1922. The paper was suspended in 1934.