Hoquiam town grew with such speed that those who called Hoquiam their home and those who resided in the surrounding areas experienced a large number of newspapers and other published works that tackled varying degrees of local, state and national concerns. It is said that you can gauge a town’s maturity based on the news printed on its papers and mature Hoquiam did become.
Hoquiam town was such a community with a menagerie of newspapers and gazettes established during the latter half of the nineteenth century and the earlier part of the twentieth century. Even before the start of the nineteen hundreds there were already about twenty publications in the Grays Harbor area. These newspapers especially during the time from the 1900’s up to the 1930’s were offering a wide gamut of information that touched on political, ethnic, ideological, and other special interest that catered to the needs of both residents and non-residents to Hoquiam and the general Grays Harbor area. The total may have been more than 200 newspapers at their peak.
The Grays Harbor Washingtonian was one such paper that enjoyed the respect and loyal following of much of Grays Harbor residents; other papers such as the Hoquiam American, Grays Harbor Gazette, and Gant’s Sawyer catered to their own loyal following.
Congressman Albert Johnson was one of the first editors of the Grays Harbor Washingtonian and his fiery editorials gave Hoquiam’s residents and large migrant labor force a lot to think and contemplate on. Mister Johnson’s stand on issues such as organized labor and immigrant status bordered on mistrust and hatred while at the same time the same editor championed women’s rights to suffrage.
Aside from defending the rights of others, some Hoquiam newspapers were formed to trample on those same rights with some editors using their papers as a bullhorn for their own discriminations and fears with the same congressman Johnson who supported women’s suffrage publishing the Home Defender that focused on insinuating mistrust and hate against immigrants and labor activist.
The spread of hostile statements and accusations of bad faith and ill intent hounded immigrants and lumber workers through the editorials of these newspapers and these sentiments were pounded and driven into the psyche of the community, in some instances effectively changing public opinion regarding some very important issues.
These newspapers made Hoquiam’s society richer and more well-informed most of the time and they definitely provided a difference in opinions and well-versed propaganda, contributing to the pulse of Hoquiam’s various stakeholders in labor, ethnic, political and religious divides.
The Washingtonian had a run from 1903 to 1951 as a daily newspaper and into a weekly. The last edition of this very opinionated publication was printed in 1957. The newspapers of Hoquiam town and the surrounding Grays Harbor area were a mixture of well founded and some well-meaning organizations and individuals who believed in something that was for them during the different time periods and upheavals were worth writing about and bringing into the awareness of people who were directly or indirectly affected by those events and policies.
Hoquiam like any growing city and its diverse community of people valued their rights to expression and information and this can be proven not only by the number of publications that existed but also the varied content of those newspapers and gazettes. The spirit of democracy and freedom and the right of expression was alive and in some ways in its fullest potential when during the period of the existence of papers such as the Washingtonian, opinions of such controversial and emotionally charged issues were getting their messages across people who wanted and needed to know as much information as possible to gain a better understanding of what we truly value as a people, the truth.
Learn more about Wade Entezar and the township of Hoquiam and it’s newspapers recognize the past how it got here.