Although I’ve been promoting our local Historical Museum and Library as a community “Treasure Chest” filled with all kinds of “Golden Nuggets,” I now plan to crack open some of those nuggets and share their historic value with you, the readers of “Our River Town” blog. On a shelf in the Hoppy Hopkins Resource Library room on the second floor are Centennial Editions of three publications:
* The Argus-Courier Centennial – 8/18/1955
* The Press Democrat Centennial – October 1956
* The Petaluma Centennial – 8/.24/1958
I hope to research their pages and select historical items that I think will be of interest to Petalumans of today. For example: today – August 18 – is the anniversary date of the first Petaluma newspaper published in 1855. It was called the “Petaluma Weekly Journal and the Sonoma County Advertiser.” The paper’s “Prospectus” stated in part: “The Journal will be entirely independent and unconnected with any of the political parties, but it will exercise the privilege of discussing freely and fearlessly the official acts of the public officers, and of scrutinizing such measures of public policy, as affect directly the interests of the people; its columns will also be open to a fair and legitimate discussion of all subjects of a general or local interest connected with political questions of the day.”
Another article stated, “When the journal was first published, there were no telephones or telegraph, no automobile, no airplane, none of the modern newspaper equipment which makes today’s newspapers possible and so it is no wonder that Thomas Thompson, the publisher of the Journal and Advertiser, apologized for the lack of news in the first edition.”
On February 7, 1873, the last remnant of the old Journal disappeared when the name was changed to the Petaluma Weekly Argus. At the turn of the century the Almsted Publishing Company took over the Petaluma Argus. Over the years, the Argus-Courier and it predecessors moved around town and occupied many different locations.
Our blog space isn’t long enough to trace the full story of all the newspapers that preceded our current Argus-Courier, but the articles on pages 2A & 2B of the August 18, 1955 Centennial edition contain all that information, including names of the owners, newspapers, and their location in town. (In order to learn more about this earlier history, read the article “The story of the A-C- Apology Started The Newspaper.” Page 2A).
Stay tuned as we continue to crack open more of these centennial newspaper nuggets in order to recall more significant events in the history of “Our River Town.”