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Publication Details

Columbia courier.

More information about this newspaper title may be available on the source website.

Source: Chronicling America [US Library of Congress]

Country: United States

State: Washington

City: Kennewick, Wash.

Issues of this title available in Elephind: 95

Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 784

Earliest Date: 27 March 1903

Latest Date: 21 April 1905


Kennewick Courier and Columbia Courier

Originally inhabited by Wanapum Indians, the naturally arid area that would later become the community of Kennewick, Washington, was avoided by white settlers for much of the 19th century after being described by a Hudson’s Bay Company governor as exceptionally “sterile.” This changed temporarily in the 1880s and again in the early 1890s with the construction of a railroad bridge over the Columbia River and a few failed irrigation schemes. However, Kennewick’s population growth began in earnest when the Northern Pacific Irrigation Company began advertising farmable land in 1902.

The ensuing flood of settlers included Elwyn P. “Pea” Greene, a newspaperman from Milton, Oregon, who began publishing Kennewick’s first weekly paper, the Columbia Courier, on March 27, 1902. From the start Greene eschewed political affiliation while embracing commerce, writing facetiously that “not many of us are here simply for our health.” By cultivating a symbiotic relationship with the town’s fledgling business community, the Courier expanded its readership and promoted Kennewick’s growth. As the population surged from about 50 to 400 inhabitants by 1903, the paper expanded from four to twelve pages. Christian O. Anderson, an attorney and entrepreneur from Arizona, purchased the paper in March 1903. The Courier changed hands again in August 1904 when William J. Shaughnessy bought the paper and began publishing an additional miniature daily edition, which continued until 1906.

Kennewick officially incorporated in February 1904, and when Lauren W. Soth assumed leadership of the Courier on April 28, 1905, the name was changed to the Kennewick Courier. The paper continued to support the area’s commercial growth and report on its flourishing agriculture, such as the record strawberry crops of 1905 and 1906 and the appearance of the town’s first cherry orchards in 1907. Following Soth’s tragic demise during a typhoid outbreak in January 1910, long-time Courier reporter Ralph E. Reed purchased the paper from Soth’s widow and persuaded Earle C. Tripp to come from Seattle as co-publisher. However, new competition brought hard times for the Courier, forcing Reed to seek additional income to keep it afloat. In 1914, Reed, Tripp, and Alfred R. Gardner, editor of the competing paper, the Kennewick Reporter, together formed the Kennewick Printing Company and merged their newspapers under the name the Kennewick Courier-Reporter.

Provided by: Washington State Library; Olympia, WA