History of Oregon Newspapers/Hood River County

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HOOD RIVER


Hood River.—The first paper in Hood River county was not printed in the county for three months after its establishment. This was the Hood River Glacier, started in June 1889 by George T. Prather, postmaster. John H. Cradlebaugh, Oregon newspaper man and poet, was the first editor. He was living in The Dalles, where he was publishing the Wasco Sun, and since Mr. Prather had no plant Mr. Cradlebaugh arranged to use the Sun's plant for the time.

At the end of three months Mr. Prather turned the paper over to Mr. Cradlebaugh, who bought a plant and moved to Hood River. The first home of the Glacier also housed the editor and his family, who lived behind the printing office. The building still stands, though in a new location.

The name Glacier, odd for a newspaper, which ordinarily prides itself more or less on speed, came as a momentary inspiration to Mr. Cradlebaugh. (166). He and Prather had been discussing a name for the new paper, when suddenly a party of men arrived from Mount Hood, where a crew of Chinese was engaged in building the old Cloud Cap Inn toll road.

"Boys, the Chinamen reached the glacier today; the road is open," someone shouted.

"Glacier!" exclaimed Cradlebaugh, "that's a good name for the paper," and so it was called.

After a few issues Mr. Cradlebaugh took over publication of the Glacier for Mr. Prather, and he ran at his masthead the line: "It's a cold day when we get left."

Cradlebaugh continued as owner and publisher of the paper until July 1894, when he sold it to Samuel F. Blythe, who had been handling his mechanical department. Mr. Blythe is remembered by old-timers as a "swift" hand compositor. Few men in this part of the country could come anywhere near Mr. Blythe in speed. He had held cases on many large papers, including the Oregonian.

Cradlebaugh was, as Joe Thomison observes (167), a philosopher and a humorist, one of the most picturesque figures in the history of Oregon journalism. His irregular habits were a source of frequent irritation to Mrs. C., who on one memorable occasion gave vent to her feelings by tossing some early files of the Glacier into the fire, with all their cargo of Cradlebaugh poetry and witticisms with which the paper used to scintillate. His idea of heaven was a com bination of the Hood River valley and an old-time mining-camp. In 1913 he published a small volume of his poems under the Chinook title Nyena Kloshe Illahee ("Songs of the Good Country"), one of which was a tribute to his old friend Homer Davenport, Silverton cartoonist. Here was his tribute to his beloved Hood River valley:

Bloom of apple and orchard trees,
Scent of clover and hum of bees,
Spreading oak and towering pine,
Billowing wheat and climbing vine,
Tinkling brook by wild rose traced,
River with balm and willow laced,
Grove and glen and sun and shade,
Fairest of lands that God has made.

In 1902 Br. Blythe enlarged the paper and took in with him his son Edward N., a 1901 graduate of the University of Oregon. The son (Ned) later went into metropolitan journalism and was copydesk head, first on the Oregonian and then, for several years after 1917, on the Oregon Journal. Moving to Vancouver, Wash., he was for several years a partner of Herbert J. Campbell on the Daily Columbian, then for several years published the Vancouver Sun, a weekly. He became postmaster of Vancouver under the Roosevelt administration.

Samuel F. Blythe sold the paper in May, 1904, to Arthur D. Moe, who installed a Simplex typesetting machine. This was afterward displaced by the linotype. Mr. Moe's editor through most of his ownership was Joe D. Thomison, Stanford law graduate, who preferred journalism to law. He was highly successful in making the Glacier a popular home paper.

The paper was sold by Mr. Moe's sons in 1933 to the News, a younger contemporary.

The Hood River News, which bought out its competition, was started as the News Letter, a Saturday weekly, in 1905, by E. R. Bradley, who from 1899 to 1901 had conducted the weekly Sun, listed as a Republican paper. After four years the name was shortened to News. W. H. Walton, later of Baker, edited the paper for several years, up to 1912. E. L. Boardman, once a partner of Col. W. W. Robertson on the Yakima Republic, was editor and manager of the News in 1917 for R. B. and L. S. Bennett, later of The Dalles Optimist, who owned the paper for several years, prior to the Ball-Sonnichsen ownership. Hugh G. Ball was city editor and C. P. Sonnichsen mechanical superintendent. In 1920, after the withdrawal of Mr. Boardman, Mr. Ball became editor, with C. P. Sonnichsen manager. This association lasted until the death of Mr. Sonnichsen in 1937. His son E. A. (Si) Sonnichsen succeeded to his position on the News.

Under the guidance of Mr. Ball, editor, and C. P. Sonnichsen, manager, the News was awarded second place in the National Community Newspaper contest for weeklies published in cities of from 2,500 to 50,000 in March 1935. The contest was under the sponsorship of the University of Illinois school of journalism. The award was made for community service and general newspaper excellence. First place in the contest, in which more than 100 newspapers, from almost every state, participated, was won by the Worthington (Minn.) Globe. In 1939 the News, edited by Mr. Ball, won the past-president's trophy of the National Editorial Association for the best editorial page in an open nation-wide contest.

Among other awards won by the News were the Sigma Delta Chi cup for the best Oregon weekly, in 1932 and 1934, and the Paul R. Kelty cup for the best editorial page, won three times and retained in permanent possession. Mr. Ball was elected (1939) to the board of directors of the National Editorial Association.

Construction of the great Bonneville dam in the Columbia river near Cascade Locks was the inspiration for newspapers on both sides of the river. On the Oregon side J. M. Cummins, veteran Oregon publisher, and Mark Shields, formerly private secretary to Governor Hartley of Washington and later a member of the Oregonian news staff, called their paper devoted to the interests of the 1300 men employed on the dam project the Dam Chronicle. Published at Cascade Locks by John H. Travis and Wallace Buchanan, it is now known as the Chronicle (1939).

A new Thursday weekly was started at Cascade Locks July 25, 1935. The name was the Mid-Columbian, and the publishers were Robert R. Stevenson, of the Skamania county (Wash.) Pioneer at Stevenson, managing editor; Paul D. Ratliff, publisher, and Bessie D. Ratliff, business manager. A seven-column eight-page paper, it carried as a slogan under the title on page 1: "The Dam Area's Independent Newspaper."

Better Fruit, a monthly devoted to the horticultural interests of Oregon and adjacent territory, was founded in Hood River in 1906. E. H. Shepard and E. A. France were editors, and Better Fruit Publishing Co. publisher in its first year. Later E. H. Shepard became sole editor. The magazine was moved to Portland in 1922. E. C. Potts succeeded Mr. Shepard as editor, and John L. Jerome became publisher.

Later, when Mr. Potts went to Business Chronicle in Seattle Mr. Jerome took over the editorship.

The Hood River County Sun, established in 1936 by John H. Travis, is a thriving county weekly.