A look back at the history of newspapering in Greater Lewis County


During the history of Greater Lewis County, many newspapers have promised to deliver all the news that is the news. Some kept that promise for only a short while. Others kept it much longer, and are keeping it still.

Keeping track of so many newspapers can be a bit of a challenge, but that's what we'll endeavor to do here. Let's give it a try:

The first newspaper, according to an Oct. 8, 1982 Daily Chronicle story, was published in Chehalis on July 14, 1883. "The four-page paper with seven columns of handset print was called the Lewis County Nugget, the publishers of which were Albert Tozier and H.C. Mayfield.

"A year later, G.M. Bull and W.W. Francis started the second newspaper in Chehalis called The Lewis County Bee. The first issue was published on June 6, 1884."

Then (are you with us so far?) The Bee became the Chehalis Bee in 1887 and the Nugget was changed to the Chehalis Nugget.

"J.C. Bush owned the Bee and by 1890 Dan Bush had become a partner and owned the paper a year later."

In 1892, Chehalis became a three-newspaper town when the People's Advocate made its debut on Aug. 7.

In 1899, Thomas H. Dunckley and his sons, Henry and William, started the Chehalis Examiner while, over at the Advocate, I.P. Callison had acquired the paper and published it with his brother, R.W. Callison, until 1905. The name of the paper was changed to the Lewis County Advocate in 1903, and in 1907, the Advocate Publishing Co. was formed.

"Bush sold the Bee-Nugget to Clarence Ellington in 1916 and he published the newspaper until 1925 when Chapin Foster bought it. In 1934, George Hayden became his partner and business manager."

The Advocate bought its rival newspaper, the Bee-Nugget, in 1937, and in 1938, the now-combined paper was called the Chehalis Advocate.

"The weekly newspaper was published as a daily for a short time after Ron Ingraham acquired the paper in 1949. Ingraham suspended the weekly in 1962."

During the mid-1950s, a mimeographed daily paper called Scoop was published for a short time in Chehalis.

More still: "Phil Roewe resumed publication of a weekly newspaper in Chehalis in 1979, called The Weekly News. The paper was purchased a year later by Budd Loesch." In 1981, this newspaper was renamed the Chehalis Times. The weekly was suspended in the same year.

An unattributed and undated story found in the Lewis County Historical Museum files discusses a number of weekly papers. Among them are the Lewis County News, the Morton Journal, and The Tenino Independent and South County Sun.

Those papers were in addition to The Daily Chronicle, which first became a daily in 1910, and is said to have been the only daily newspaper published between Puget Sound and the Columbia River.

Also functioning in 1910 were the: News-Examiner, Chehalis Bee-Nugget, Lewis County Advocate, Pe Ell Enterprise, Little Falls Citizen, the Toledo Recorder and the Winlock News.

The Winlock News was not always known by that name. It began as the Cowlitz River Pilot in 1885 in Toledo. When owner Frank Owen moved his newspaper to Winlock in 1888, he renamed it the Winlock Pilot. It became the Winlock News in 1908.

The publication of The Winlock News was ended in 1965, and a few months later a Kelso resident started a weekly called the Lewis County News, edited in Castle Rock, where the Cowlitz County Advocate was also being published.

The Morton newspaper is said to have started as the Lewis County American in about 1920. The name was changed to the Morton Mirror in 1942. Publication was suspended for two years during World War II and resumed in 1944 as the Morton Journal.

The Tenino Independent and South County Sun was started in 1922, and for many years in the 1940s it was called The Thurston County Independent. It was changed back to the Tenino Independent in 1966.

The first newspapers in Southern Thurston County were the Bucoda Enterprise, founded in 1889, and the Tenino Enterprise in 1892. Both papers were gone by 1894. In 1903, The Tenino News was founded, and from 1912 to 1918 a rival called The Tenino Journal was also published. For a while in 1922, Bucoda had a paper called the Bucoda News, but it didn't last long.

According to a Chehalis Times story of Nov. 20, 1981, "There is much on record in the Chehalis Library about the history of newspapering from 1883 to 1940, there is little formally written about the Chehalis Advocate, the city's sole newspaper voice through the middle of the century."

Two Chehalis residents in 1981, Will and Al Petit, recalled the day of the Lewis County Advocate and its conversion to the Chehalis Advocate, through its trial period as a daily into the time when publication ceased in 1962 and the company came to exist only as the Advocate Printing Co.

They brothers were interviewed and photographed in a Nov. 20, 1981, Chehalis Times article found in the museum's files.

When they began their years on the paper, the brothers worked for the Chehalis Advocate, "a strong semi-weekly publication, one that garnered lots of advertising revenue, even in hard times and editorially kept its fingers on the pulse of the community.

The Advocate became a daily in August of 1948 but this lasted only until April of 1949. It was an era that Will and Al described most vividly 40 years later. Both Petits were pressroom workers — Al set type on the Linotype while Al was a pressman.

The Advocate was closed in 1962 with the epithet, "advertising revenues have failed to keep pace with rising costs and the trends in the foreseeable future are for more of the same. Under these condition, it is inadvisable to continue publication."

In an item in the Oct. 8, 1982, Daily Chronicle, we learn that in 1909, the new owners of The Chronicle changed it into a semi-weekly publication, then, a year later, into a daily. In 1911, the owners of the News-Examiner, not to be outdone, made their newspaper a daily, too.

"But," the article said, "they could see that wasn't going to work. After a year, they had had enough of two daily newspapers in Centralia and purchased their competitor in 1912, renaming the new paper again — this time to the Chronicle-Examiner.

"In 1916 Ray W. Edinger and his father-in-law, H.L. Bras from Everett, acquired the newspaper and changed the name to The Daily Chronicle."

"Edinger's son, John, joined the staff in the mid 1930s. When Bras died in 1940, Edinger and his son acquired Bras' half-interest in the daily paper. When Ray Edinger died in 1956, John Edinger became editor and publisher.

"In 1966 Edinger sold the newspaper to Richard Lafromboise, who published The Daily Chronicle until his death in 1968 when the ownership of the paper passed to his widow, Mrs. Richard (Jeri) Lafromboise, the present owner."

"The present newspaper plant on the corner of North Pearl and Maple Streets was built in 1947 with additions constructed through the years (including one in 1982)."

It is now known as The Chronicle. Its headquarters are in the same location, but printing operations have been moved to Fords Prairie as the company has expanded.

Pat Jones is The Chronicle's lifestyle editor. She may be reached by e-mail at pjones@chronline.com, or by telephoning 807-8226. The Lewis County Historical Museum's Internet address is www.lewiscountymuseum.org.