In 1889, statehood brought not only excitement and celebration to newly admitted Washington, but also opportunity and speculation.
Among those seeking their fortunes in the nation’s freshly minted 42nd state were newspapermen. (And yes, they were mostly men.)
By April 1892, a newspaper calling itself The Everett Herald had established offices in a wood building with glass windows and a steepled roof at the corner of California and Chestnut streets near the current-day Interstate 5-U.S 2 interchange. All around the journalistic enterprise a boom town was sprouting from the forest.
“By the spring of 1892, Everett resembled a city albeit with stumps,” according to historylink.org, a nonprofit Washington historical website. “There were frame homes, schools, churches (land provided by the Everett Land Company), and theaters as well as 5,600 citizens, a third of them foreign born (mostly English and Scandinavian) enjoying streetcar service, electricity, streetlights, and telephones. The Everett Land Company won a suit to own the waterfront. The promise of riches in the mines in the Cascades spurred the building of the Everett-Monte Cristo railroad from there to a smelter on the peninsula.”
Alas, those early salad days would be short lived.
In May, 1893, a financial crisis over declining gold reserves prompted what up to then was the worst depression in the nation’s history. The so-called Silver Panic rocked Everett, prompting factories to close, banks to fail and residents to flee. A lack of money nearly bankrupted the city government. The streetlights were turned off. The Herald ceased publishing.
In 1901, Sam A. Perkins, a one-time traveling salesman from Iowa who would go on to become a Tacoma civic leader, regional newspaper publisher and national Republican Party stalwart for the first half of the 20th Century, bought the tiny Everett Independent. He re-christened it The Everett Daily Herald and operated the business from offices at 2816 Rucker. In 1905, Perkins sold The Herald to James B. Best, who would move the newspaper to the northeast corner of Colby Avenue and Wall Street, where it would remain for decades before moving once again in 1959 to Grand Avenue and California Street near Everett’s waterfront. In 2014, by then having dropped Everett from the masthead and changing hands twice more, The Daily Herald you’re reading today moved to its current location at 1800 41st St.
“Looking back,” is a new weekly feature appearing Saturdays that examines our community’s past.