Editor’s Notebook: New digs, more downtown presence

Your community newspaper has packed up and moved. Don’t worry: we’re just a few doors down the block.

For more than four decades years, the Sequim Gazette — the local weekly publication celebrating its 50th year of serving the community in 2024 — has held office space at 147 W. Washington St. For a time, the offices were located on the second floor, and for more than two decades it served customers on the street level as well.

Formerly known as the Jimmy Come Lately Gazette, the newspaper has moved down the block a few spaces to offices at 175 W. Washington St. The street-level space is situated well to serve our loyal, long-time customers as well as newcomers as they seek to place ads, talk to our reporters or advertising representatives, re-up their subscriptions and more.

The past few months has brought much change to the inner workings of the Gazette — including a change of ownership — but the newspaper’s goals remain the same: to bring the information our community needs to understand our corner of the world, to entertain and inspire with features about our neighbors, to provide a place for opinion and counterpoints, to record the living history of the place we call home, and so much more.

Eran Kennedy, publisher of the Sequim Gazette, Peninsula Daily News, and Forks Forum said she is happy about the move: “It is a win-win-win for our community and Sequim Gazette. We now have the ability to serve our community on the street level five days a week and the Sequim Gazette has a beautiful new office that supports the business in today’s challenging economic environment. To be located in the historical Sequim Gazette block and continue our long-standing partnership with former owner and local media supporter Brown Maloney will help the Gazette continue to have a positive impact on our community.”

The Peninsula Daily News, our sister daily publication, is also preparing to say “so long” to its digs. The PDN’s main building, a 9,530-square-foot office space in Port Angeles built in 1969, was recently listed for sale on the commercial real estate market. So is its adjoining warehouse, a 4,330-square-foot space built in 1999. The property also includes 42 parking spaces in an area just less an 1 acre.

Like our PDN coworkers, we at the Gazette look to remain steadfast in our commitment to local journalism as our dedicated staff gathers and reports the news, facilitates valued community member’s obituaries, and empowers local small businesses to grow their business through multimedia campaigns.

We’ll continue these endeavors; now, it’s from a nearby an office that aligns with our current needs. Our new, main street-level location is where readers can interact with us, where they can purchase an ad or pay a bill, drop off a letter to the editor or information about a community event that we will get in the paper and online.

Change of scenery

What was the Gazette’s home for 48 years was first a venue for entertainment. The Dresden Theatre opened its doors on Aug. 8, 1935. Its first feature was “The Hoosier Schoolmaster” starring Norman Foster and Gabby Hayes. With a seating capacity of 450 and such modern features such as an oil burning furnace, a second-floor lounge room, a box office and mahogany front doors, the Dresden was once considered one of the finest talkie motion picture houses of its size in the Pacific Northwest.

Most of the Dresden theater burned down in 1963. Bob Larmore, whose wife founded the Sequim Shopper in January 1974 and converted it to the Jimmy Come Lately Gazette — the Sequim Gazette’s precursor — in July of 1974, said scorch marks from that fire could be seen on the rafters when the newspaper moved in. The space was remodeled, but not without a rather ostentatious swatch of the plaid carpet being saved and hung on the wall just outside what would become the newsroom.

On a personal note, I spent time at each of those five desks, in the former editor’s nook across the hall and eventually to the corner office facing the alley after being promoted to editor. As a cub reporter cutting his teeth on any and every story I could get my hands on, and trying my best not to fumble them, I recall countless conversations, heated discussions over proposed stories, celebrations and somber moments for coworkers who became over time more like family members.

It didn’t hurt too much to have a landlord who owned the building: Brown M. Maloney purchased the paper in September 1988 and served as publisher for 10 years, sold a portion of the paper in 1998 and re-assumed ownership in early 2002 before selling the paper to Sound Publishing.

Maloney is still our landlord, and a good one, as we made the move a few doors down in essentially the same building.

As I sifted through 30-plus years of scrupulously-saved budgets, agendas, press releases, sport rosters and other documents, a fewf thoughts ran through my mind. One … am I a hoarder, to the point that I belong on one of those awful reality shows that ends in an intervention and tears? Two, what am I going to do with 347,000 bent paperclips? Lastly, how privileged we are as a company to be able to document the living history of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.

As we get settled in our new home, we hope you continue to look to your hometown newspaper for what’s going on in Sequim. And if you need any paperclips …

Michael Dashiell is editor of the Sequim Gazette. Reach him at michael.dashiell@sequimgazette.com.