Newspaper History

Before 1900 — Indications are that Walter Gillis, a typesetter from Bellingham, attempted to print a paper in Issaquah. Another attempt, which could have been the immediate forerunner to our current paper, was made about that time by G.R. Weatherbee, superintendent of schools in Issaquah. He hired two of his students, William Hunt and George Donlan, to run it for him. That paper was located across Front Street from the present office in Martin Bogdan’s Blacksmith Shop, which also had been used as a town hall.

1900 — The first issue of The Issaquah Independent was published on Jan. 18, 1900. The earliest issue still known to be in existence is Vol. I, No. 2 dated Jan. 25, 1900. The owner, manager and editor was J.B. Edwards from Kent, who remained about six weeks, after which Walter Gillis took over for several months. The cost was $1.50 per year and publishing day was Thursday. George W. Webster, (Weatherbee’s brother-in-law) became “proprietor” and publisher shortly thereafter and in the middle of 1902, he employed W.H. Heaton as editor.

1907 — For a few months in 1907, George Webster and A.P.Burrows published The Issaquah Independent together. During this period, the paper was printed in Seattle, making the long trip both ways by train. In December of 1907, Burrows purchased the paper and moved the operation to his home on the west side of Front Street, two blocks north of where it is today. He purchased a new press and started to print the paper locally. Publishing day became Saturday and the cost was $1.00 per year.

1916 — David Peacock became publisher for a three-year period, changing the name to The Issaquah Press, ostensibly because he just liked newspapers with short names.

1919 — In 1919 “Dad” M. A. Boyden purchased the paper and for the ensuing 28 years, he was the beloved editor of The Issaquah Press. Apparently, the location of the shop was changed sometime around 1916. A former saloon building was moved to the present location on Front Street in the 1910 to 1910 period, and was added to many times before being torn down in 1988.

1947 — Following Dad Boyden’s established years, E. E. Bramble became editor and publisher until 1954.

1954 — Al Whitney and his type-setter wife, Eleanor, operated a local family-style paper well into the 1960s. The Press was working all the time doing letter press work. There was a large shearer, and a glue binding table plus supplies in the north room. The linotype was in the south front window and the skills of Eleanor at that machine were well worth watching, and many Front Street pedestrians did just that.

Mid-1960s — The Issaquah Press had several owners and publishers, who hired editors, since they were busy publishing papers elsewhere. Among them have been John Fournier and Robert M. Bailie.

1968 — John S. Murray, owner of the Queen Anne News in Seattle, acquired the then-ailing Issaquah Press in exchange for overdue printing bills. Within a few years, the economy in Issaquah was booming and the newspaper became profitable once again. In 1973, Debbie Berto joined the staff in advertising sales, going on to become business manager in 1975 and managing editor/publisher in 1976. She continues in the role of publisher/vice president today.

1990 — Pacific Media Group, owned by an east coast investment group, bought The Issaquah Press from Murray, along with seven other King County newspapers. Reluctantly, Pacific Media puts its flagship newspaper, The Issaquah Press, up for sale in order to pay debts.

1995 — The Seattle Times Co. purchased The Issaquah Press as a subsidiary on July 1. The newspaper is its own corporation and is editorially autonomous from any other Seattle Times publications.

The Competition:

There have been four rival newspaper attempts in Issaquah.

1906 — The King County Record was published briefly in 1906 by Carleton G. Garretson. While he was here, he was very active in the Chamber of Commerce, but when he left he razzed Issaquah in his writings, mentioning the “bogs and swamps” of the area.

1967 — Only five issues of the rival The Issaquah Independent were printed during May of this year. It was headed by former Issaquah Press editor Jack Yearout. Low advertising revenue caused its demise.

1976 — The News Mill, started by Issaquah resident Dick Hamilton, published sporadically for a couple of years, but stopped following a hotly contested school board race, leading many to believe that getting some candidates elected had been the newspaper’s only mission.

1987 — Issaquah resident Terre Harris bought an Issaquah-area shopper and converted it to a newspaper, The Eastside Post Advertisers.

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