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Gazette turns 40: Sequim newspapers started with Sequim Press in 1911

Newspapers have been important to Sequim for more than a century.

One of the first, if not the first, was the Sequim Press, publishing its initial edition on April 8, 1911. According to Harriet Fish, a noted Clallam County historian in the 1970s, the newspaper was one broadsheet page, printed front and back, and folded into eighths, pamphlet-style. George W. O’Brien was the publisher and proudly stated in the masthead: “A Republican Paper.” Fish noted in that first edition, a third of the front page was filled by an ad for C.F. Seal’s “Big Stores” in Dungeness and Sequim.

Fish reported there were 2½ pages of ads and 5½ pages of local, national and foreign news plus features on travel, agriculture and animals. The Sequim Press cost $1.50 per year and published on Saturdays. Over the next 65 years, the format of the Sequim Press switched to tabloid style.

The Sequim Herald first published in July 1932 and closed about a year later.

The Olympic Review first published August 1960 and sold for 10 cents per single copy. It only lasted for 14 months. On the front page of its Aug. 16, 1961, edition, ran a story on the opening of the $26 million Hood Canal Floating Bridge, “an engineering masterpiece” making, as one official said, “the Olympic Peninsula part of the state.”

Staffer Genevieve Smith reported Gov. Albert D. Rosellini cut the ribbon and cars lined up bumper to bumper for 3 miles to cross behind the governor’s vehicle.

During the toll-free grace period from 12:30-6 p.m. that day 5,916 vehicles crossed; a total of 11,000 crossed on Saturday. The toll was $1.30 per vehicle and 30 cents per passenger. A five-column aerial photograph, taken by Harry Boersig, accompanied the article and showed a string of cars in both directions.

Shirley Larmore founded The Sequim Shopper in January 1974. She and her husband, Bob, transformed the free distribution shopper into a weekly tabloid community newspaper, The Jimmy Come Lately Gazette on July 10, 1974. Its masthead proclaimed “A friendly little newspaper in a friendly little town.” A copy was 15 cents.

In its second issue, a letter to the editor by Mrs. John Jarvis read, “We wish you a long and prosperous reign as one of the most ‘readable’ papers on the Peninsula.”

In 1978, Larmore sold The Jimmy Come Lately Gazette to Leonard and Linda Paulsen. He was publisher until his death in 1982 and Linda Paulsen carried on as publisher until she sold the newspaper to Brown M. Maloney in September 1988.

On April 4, 1990 a re-design of the paper brought about a change in the masthead and Jimmy Come Lately was dropped. Tim Quinn, who would be the Gazette’s cartoonist for 25 years, opined on that date, “Has anybody seen the Jimmy?”

Jim Manders was the Gazette’s editor from 1988-2002. Sue Ellen Riesau became publisher in 2002 and retired in July 2012. Michael Dashiell was named editor in October 2010.

The Gazette earned “General Excellence” awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association in from 2005-2008 and in 2010. The Gazette also won first place in General Excellence in the Society of Professional Journalists Pacific Northwest Division in 2011, and a third place general excellence award from the National Newspaper Association in 2012.

Maloney sold the Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum to Sound Publishing Inc., effective Nov. 1, 2011.

 

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