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Vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar. 25, 1882)-
Washington (State) - Anacortes.
In 1879, Anacortes, Washington, was founded and named by a railroad surveyor, Amos Bowman, who hoped it would soon become the major terminus for North America's northwestern railroad system. Bowman brought in Alfred D. Bowen and Frank M. Walsh from Seattle to establish the Northwest Enterprise, using the paper as a platform to promote the fledgling community and to solidify its metropolitan status. First appearing on March 25, 1882, the politically Independent Northwest Enterprise was published Saturdays as a weekly. As a "booster" paper, it advertised the qualities of the surrounding area to prospective landowners who wanted to capitalize off the Pacific Northwest's emerging industries. The Northwest Enterprise not only circulated around the Puget Sound, but it was also strategically broadcast to major cities and industrial centers throughout the United States.
Despite reaching as many as 400 readers/subscribers within its first year, which was nearly double the population of Anacortes, the Northwest Enterprise continued to struggle. In January 1883 its founders transferred ownership back to its chief patron, Amos Bowman, for whom the paper was still Anacortes's primary source of national advertisement. While Bowman financially supported the Northwest Enterprise, he put George Riggins, a printer and editor based in Everett, Washington, in charge of operations.
One of the paper's primary selling features was a Northern Pacific Railway map of the Puget Sound produced in 1872. The map illustrated the region's significant geographical features in both the United States and Canada, identified other cities with which Anacortes was competing, and marked a proposed railroad terminus on Fidalgo Island. Bowman had found the map stashed it in the old Tacoma terminal building among other records from the railroad company. When Bowman asked for the collection, it was given to him willingly, as the information was deemed unimportant. Bowman hoped the map would show readers that Anacortes was the premier location for trading and shipping. Advertisements within the paper and elsewhere all promoted the 42 x 36 inch map as an incentive to subscribe to the Northwest Enterprise. The map was offered to every reader who paid the annual $2 subscription fee, but could also be bought alone for $1.25 or $10 per dozen.
Although the newspaper succeeded in drawing attention to Anacortes and despite the fact that it lacked local competitors, the Northwest Enterprise never managed to be economically viable. After nearly five years in publication, its last issue appeared at the end of February 1887.