Vashon Island News-Record
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(Post-1926) In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted
In 1892, the four-page broadsheet known as Island Home [LCCN unavailable] began as a monthly newspaper by two brothers, Oliver and Charles Van Olinda, for the island community living on Vashon, just west of the port city of Seattle. For only ten cents an issue, or $1 per year, the Island Home covered the accounts of visitors, social events and activities in the small communities scattered across the island.
Oliver Van Olinda later published the first weekly newspaper on the island every Tuesday, available for the annual subscription price of $1.00. Ownership of The Vashon Island Press [sn88085815] continued from June 4, 1895 until it lapsed out of existence by 1900. Oliver had moved north to Stanwood, WA in May 1897 and then later to Coupeville, eventually taking the paper with him. Much like Island Home, the Press was a newspaper that contained about one-half advertisements and local notices, community news and ferry schedules.
In May 1907, the Vashon Island News [sn92038389] was published every Friday by the brothers John and Philip Harmeling as the Vashon Island Printing Company, and edited by another brother, Stephen John, “S.J.” Harmeling, Jr. Thomas Reed and his wife, Alice J. Reed, picked up the editing duties in December 1907 and ran the paper for two years until Norwegian born publisher, Johan “John” Hendrik Reid, took over the paper in November 1909.
By 1914, Ira Case, the owner of the popular Marjesira Inn at the south end community of Magnolia Beach, felt the south end of the island was not receiving the coverage it deserved. His solution was to purchase the publishing office and move the newspaper from Vashon Town in the northern part of the island to Burton, a community in the southern part of the island.
This move of the island’s main newspaper was a reflection of two major shifts taking place. First, there was the growing North-South split across the island that became known as the “Mason-Dixon Line.” Second, the major commercial center was moving north from Burton to the town of Vashon due to the development of the north end ferry terminal which connected the island to the booming city of Seattle.
Because the northern town was rapidly growing, Robert Mulford Jones and Julius “Jules” Bernard Dahlager began publishing the Vashon Island Record [sn92038390] with an annual subscription rate of $2.00 from Vashon Town in 1916 to replace the loss of the News. For five years, Vashon Island had two competing newspapers for a population of less than 3,000 individuals. In December of 1919, Jones purchased the News from Case and combined the two papers into the Vashon Island News-Record [sn87093323] with Jones as editor.
Peter Monroe Smock, with his wife Agnes May Lias Smock, purchased the News-Record in May 1920 and he edited the newspaper intermittently for the next eight years. Smock brought in a series of experienced editors including Louis “Lou” Eugene Wenham, who had published the Pullman Tribune [sn88087185] during WWI and husband and wife team, Herbert Storer and Winifred “Effie” Buffington Baker. News-Record business manager, Philip Thomas Garber, became the editor for five months when Monroe left his wife, children, and the island in 1928, to return to Idaho after the death of his son Everett, born of a previous marriage. Agnes kept Garber on until December when she could continue as sole owner and editor, publishing the News-Record for the next fourteen years. Agnes’ new vision of the paper also soothed much of the island division by bringing in a dozen female reporters from across Vashon and adjoining Maury Island.
When Agnes retired at the end of May 1942, Philip Garber returned with his wife, Florence Rachel Hubler, to assist with ownership and editing duties. These were challenging times for the Islanders, including Vashon’s Japanese American families who lived on the island, integrated as strawberry farmers, business owners and active students in the local public schools. With the change of ownership, the paper also changed its stance to a much more conservative tone, supporting Japanese American internment in its editorials.