Chronicle History

Publisher’s note: Helen Hollyer, publisher from 2004-11, first wrote this historical piece. It’s reprinted here, abridged for space, and updated through today, in celebration of the paper’s 110th birthday.

CRESWELL – The Creswell area began to be settled in 1845, it took until 1909 for the population to have grown enough to support a newspaper.
The first edition of The Creswell Chronicle was published on Sept. 30, 1909, which was edited and published by George H. Baxter. A front-page story in the first issue indicated that both floors of the recently completed building at the northeast corner of W. Oregon Ave. and First St., the first concrete building in Creswell, which was constructed at a cost of $12,000, were now occupied. The Creswell Fruit Growers Bank, the R.H. Parsons & Co. hardware store and Earl Moxley’s grocery store occupied the first floor; the second floor housed the Modern Woodman and the Development League.
The year of the newspaper’s birth coincided with the arrival in Creswell of A.C. Bohrnstedt, Creswell’s famous (or infamous) real estate developer and land speculator.
Bohrnstedt, who purchased large tracts of orchard land and vigorously promoted the area as a veritable Garden of Eden, began bringing people from the Midwest on excursion trains to Creswell to look over the country. Many invested in property and the town’s population took a substantial jump.
Articles appearing in The Creswell Chronicle during 1909, ’10 and ’11 gave glowing reports of land deals and civic achievement, but Bohrnstedt left town in 1913 after allegations that he had fleeced land buyers of thousands of dollars through illegal schemes.
Chester Noland, who owned and published the newspaper from April 10, 1913 until February 1916, when Baxter bought it back, might have been a victim of the local economic downturn and population loss that occurred after Bohrnstedt’s departure.
Baxter’s effort to rebuild the newspaper failed. The final issue of the newspaper, printed the last week of December 1917, contained the following statement:
”This issue of The Chronicle will be the last under our management. We established The Chronicle in 1909 and owned and edited it until 1913, when we sold it. In February 1916 we bought it back and built it up again to what it was when we previously owned it. The Chronicle plant, one of the best country newspaper outfits in the valley, will remain here until sold or leased.”
At the time of its demise, the newspaper had a broadsheet format, single copies, usually consisting of four pages, cost five cents and a year’s subscription was $1.50.
A news story appearing in the Nov. 1, 1917 issue told of a railroad car shipment of Jonathan apples, the first under a Creswell label, to New York. The Creswell Mercantile Company (Home of Buster Brown Shoes) was advertising full-cut men’s work shirts for 60 cents, ladies’ fleece-lined hose for 25 cents, and four pounds of coffee cost 95 cents.
Creswell would remain without a newspaper until Dec. 20,1946, when Ival S. Wilson began publishing the Creswell New Era in the Parsons Building, which had been constructed in 1911 on the northwest corner of W. Oregon Ave. and First St.
The paper shrank to tabloid size and began to run photographs rather than drawings. A typical issue, containing from eight to 12 pages, cost 10 cents, with the price of an annual subscription at $2.
In October 1948, fire gutted the Parsons Building and Wilson temporarily suspended publication before moving the newspaper into his garage.
Despite the motto that appeared as a part of the front-page banner on the Jan. 1949 issue, ”The fire is out…but watch our smoke,” Wilson was able to keep the paper going only until Nov. 30, 1950, when the following statement announced:
”For the second time in the four years the Creswell New Era has been covering local news for folks of this community, it has been found necessary to temporarily suspend publication.
The first skip in weekly visits of the New Era came after a costly fire. Current suspension has been necessary through a combination of conditions.
Through the past few months, every effort has been made to keep this newspaper alive and the decision to suspend comes only after all else has failed. Steadily decreasing advertising revenues have reached the point where the work and the time spent on the publication is no larger warranted.
The commercial printing department will remain active, however … (we) sincerely hope that we may continue to serve the printing needs of the community and with expectation that we later will be able to resume publication of the Creswell New Era.”
Wilson’s hopes were not to be realized. Creswell was again without a newspaper until 1965. It would remain a weekly consecutively until the present, although it changed owners several times, occasionally in rapid succession.
G.G. (Gerry) Sittser began editing and publishing the Creswell Chronicle on Feb. 1, 1965 as an eight-page tabloid priced at 10 cents a copy. The masthead indicates that Mrs. Wesley Chapman was news reporter and Jack Holden handled advertising. Its office was in the Creswell Electric warehouse on W. Oregon Ave.
From 1965-76, the newspaper changed hands frequently.
Mr. and Mrs. C.D. (Dave) Holman, Jr. of Florence purchased it on June 16, 1966. Holman was also editor and publisher of the Siuslaw News in Florence and half-owner of the Newport News.
Rad Dewey served as managing editor, Alice Pitney was news editor and Nancy Schamber worked as office manager. The paper occupied a new office at 95 N. First St. in part of the former office of the Empire Electric Company.
The telephone number became 895-2197, which it retains to this day. Page size increased to broadsheet, and four-page issues cost 10 cents a copy.
Although the Holmans retained ownership for two years, editors came and went often. Former advertising manager Jack W. White became managing editor on March 4, 1967, while Ruby Woodland took over at the position on Feb. 29, 1968.
Ronald P. Lovell became editor and publisher on June 20, 1968. He immediately promoted Peg Bryant, who was contributing The Comfort Cook column, from office manager to assistant editor. Liz Campbell was editorial assistant.
After Dennis M. Hunt became publisher on Oct. 29, 1970, the Creswell Chronicle joined the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, a professional newspaper organization. Single copy prices remained 10 cents, but the annual subscription rate increased to $4 in-county and $5 out-of-county.
Initially, Bill Boettcher served as editor, Lloyd Kilgore became sports editor and Ada Carothers was office manager.
In 1973, Creswell was dropped from the newspaper’s name, the paper began covering the Pleasant Hill area, the subscription rate was lowered to $2.50 in-county and $4 out-of-county and the office was moved to 285 E. Oregon Ave.
Dave Topp became news editor and Myra Hunt served as business manager, and Lloyd Kilgore continued as sports editor.
Dan and Judy Ramsey, who purchased the paper in July 1974, changed its name to The Chronicle and joined the National Newspaper Association, a national organization of weekly community papers. Dan was publisher, Judy became editor and Lloyd continued as sports editor.
Although the Ramseys kept the price of single copies at 10 cents, they raised annual in-county subscriptions to $4, and out-of-county subscriptions to $5.50.
Ray S. and Alice P. Linker, doing business as Lane Community Newspapers, bought the paper on Jan. 7, 1976. They combined The Chronicle, the Lowell Lakeside News and the Pleasant Hill Pleasantimes and moved the office to 244 W. Oregon Ave.
The front page banner boasted that the paper served the people of Creswell, Pleasant Hill, Lowell, Goshen, Dexter, Trent, Jasper, Fall Creek, Unity, Lost Creek, Camas Swale, Cloverdale, Saginaw and Walker.
The Linkers published 386 weekly issues of The Chronicle, which won several Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association awards during their tenure, including second place for community leadership.
The paper entered a long period of stability when Craig G. and Gerri O. Hawkins purchased it on May 26, 1986. Initially an eight-page tabloid, it cost 15 cents for a single copy and $6 for an annual subscription. In July 1984, the day of publication changed from Thursday to Wednesday.
After the Hawkinses divorced, Gerri retained ownership under her maiden name of O’Rourke.
By the time she sold to Todd Hakes and Glen Albrethsen, doing business as Country Mile Media Inc. on Sept. 1, 2000, annual in-county subscriptions cost $19, out-of-county subscriptions were $22 and single copies were 75 cents. The paper moved to smaller quarters at 65 W. Oregon Ave.
Hakes bought out Albrethsen’s interest in the paper and assumed sole ownership as Todd Media Inc. on Jan. 1, 2003. Single copy prices remained 75 cents, but in-county subscriptions had become $20 and out-of-county were $30. In July 2003, the paper moved to larger quarters at 34 W. Oregon Ave.
In January 2004, Hakes lowered single-copy prices to 50 cents. Helen Hollyer, who had been a freelance writer and editor, purchased the paper as Double Aitch Publications LLC on April 1, 2004. She continued to serve as a reporter, photographer and editor in addition to her duties as publisher.
She changed the name back to The Creswell Chronicle and moved the publication day back to Thursday, which had been the case during much of the newspaper’s history. Issues began to be 20 or 24 pages, and full-color photography on the front, back and center pages was introduced with the Sept. 2, 2004 issue.
At the beginning of 2005, she raised the single-copy price to 60 cents.
During the first nine months, the newspaper won four Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association awards: first place for best photo essay, and third place for general excellence, best page one design and best news photo. It also won a second-place award for a photo essay from the Oregon Society of Professional Journalists.
Hollyer sold the paper to Scott and Jeanne Olson in 2011, who owned and operated the paper under the name of SJ Olson Publishing. They sold the paper to Noel and Denise Nash, the owners of Nash Publishing Group, on Feb. 28, 2019.
The paper has made significant changes recently, changing its name back to The Chronicle with ”zoned” front pages with content specific to zip codes in Creswell, Cottage Grove, Springfield and surrounding areas. It tripled its publishing size, and regularly printed 28-page color tabloid sections. The paper’s website became and it continues to publish season magazines under the brand of Emerald Valley Magazine.
Noel Nash serves as co-owner and publisher, Erin Tierney is the executive editor, Cheryl Richard is the sales and marketing director and Andrew von Engel is the Creative Director.

This account of the newspaper’s history was compiled from archived issues stored at the Creswell Historical Museum, the University of Oregon’s Knight Library and The Chronicle office.



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