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Celebrating 120 years of service

Supplement to the Wednesday, Oct. 14 edition of the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

In Port Townsend and throughout Jefferson County, Wednesday is known as “Leader day” – the day the weekly paper hits the stands.


85-Year-Old Port of Port Townsend Congratulates The Leader on 120 Years

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Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


The Leader Still independent 120 years later By Scott Wilson Among the cast of characters that have played an important role in the history of Port Townsend is its newspaper, the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader. As an independent, locally owned newspaper, it’s one of the few newspapers left in Washington – and anywhere else – that isn’t owned by larger corporate interests. In Port Townsend and throughout Jefferson County, Wednesday is known as “Leader day” – the day the weekly paper hits the stands. Locals grab a copy and sit down with their morning coffee to catch up on news about their neighbors. And in The Leader, it’s all local, all the time. Founded in 1889 as one of several competing newspapers in bustling Port Townsend, The Leader is the only paper produced and published solely for the people of the county. The Leader story begins in 1852, when Port Townsend was just a collection of simple log cabins near the beach. After serving as a mate on the brig that dropped off the town’s first white settlers in 1850, Maine native Capt. Enoch S. Fowler decided to make the tiny outpost his home. An intrepid entrepreneur, Fowler owned ships that ferried mail and passengers in Puget Sound and south to San Francisco. He is credited with starting the

town’s first bakery and was part owner of two newspapers: the North-West in about 1860, and The Weekly Message about eight years later. In 1874, Fowler hired crews to bring massive sandstone blocks to Port Townsend from a quarry near Indian Island’s Scow Bay. The three-story building he constructed was the first substantial stone building in town and is now considered the oldest multistory masonry building in Washington. The Fowler Building had several lives before it became home to The Leader. It served as the Jefferson County Courthouse from 1880 until 1892, when the big, red brick courthouse now in use was completed. In June 1888, hundreds of locals visited the Fowler Building to pay their respects as the great S’Klallam chief T’Chits-a-mahun, or Chetzemoka, lay in state for three days. After falling into disuse for a time, the building gained a new lease on life in 1916, when the Port Townsend Leader moved into the main floor, setting up a printing press in the back and a few offices in the front. The upstairs offices were converted into apartments. The Leader was not Port Townsend’s first newspaper, but it is the one that survived and has thrived through the decades. It is perhaps the oldest continually operating business in the county still using its original name. According to former Leader

When Port Townsend was little more than a collection of wooden shacks on a sandy spit, what was to become The Leader building stands out as one of the only stone or brick buildings in town. In this picture, it is located near the upper left hand corner. It has a flat roof and three upstairs windows across the front. From The Leader collection newsman and historian Tom Camfield, newspapers started in Port Townsend in 1859 with the arrival of the Port Townsend Register. The Register was followed by the North-West, The Weekly Message, the Puget Sound Argus, the Puget Sound Express, the Democratic Press, Cyclop, Port of Entry Times, the Graphic and the Port Townsend Call. The first issue of The Morning Leader hit the streets on Oct. 2, 1889, and has been in print ever since. Originally a daily, The Leader became a weekly in 1908. The paper’s first publisher, W.L. Jones, was followed by Winslow McCurdy as editor in 1917, who bought out an owner named W.B. Jessup, who then moved to Bremerton and founded the newspaper now known as the Kitsap Sun. McCurdy became Port Townsend’s postmaster in 1923 and leased The Leader to Fred Willoughby. When McCurdy died, control of the paper fell to Willoughby and Ray O. Scott. In 1946, the business was reorganized, with Claude Mitton, Dan Hill and Winslow McCurdy’s

Tom Camfield Recalls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 An Uncle Remembered. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Stan Miller: Burgers & Deadlines . . . . .9 The Garred Years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Shelly Randall’s Adventure . . . . . . . . . . 10 The Reading Room. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Ann Katzenbach: Like SNL . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

son Richard joining Scott as part owners. McCurdy was an active civic leader and community booster. He helped turn Fort Worden into a state park and helped bring in the Centrum arts education organization as a permanent resident of the park. In 1967, McCurdy sold the newspaper to Frank and Pat Garred, newly arrived in the Port Townsend area. Under Garred’s leadership, the paper earned recognition as a leader among the weeklies around the state, earning stacks of state journalism awards. In 1989 Garred was joined by Scott Wilson and Jennifer James-Wilson. Wilson’s parents, Bruce and Merilynn Wilson, had published the paper in Omak and helped Garred get his start in Tacoma. In 2001, the Wilsons became majority owners. For a few years Garred published the Sequim Gazette. He now teaches journalism at Peninsula College and fights for open government. Today The Leader is among the largest community newspapers in Washington, with 30 employees

and several correspondents and freelance writers. Its circulation is about 9,300 and it reaches into 70 percent of Jefferson County households. It also operates ptleader.com, Jefferson County’s most popular news website; Jeffconnections, a business-to-business networking website; and there also is a digital edition of the newspaper, which can be accessed on the Internet or downloaded to Kindle digital readers, telephones and other mobile devices. Times are clearly changing for newspapers, but The Leader still lives within Enoch Fowler’s sandstone bricks, and the paper remains as independent as it was the day it started 120 years ago, writing the first draft of the history of this remarkable town and this remarkable county.

Port Townsend Office 226 Adams Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368 360-385-2900 Website: www.ptleader.com Special Section Editor: Fred Obee Lead Production: Chris Hawley Published continuously since October 2, 1889 Port Townsend Publishing Company Scott Wilson, Publisher Copyright 2009 On the cover: A pre-World War II photo in The Leader production area shows publisher Ray Scott seated at a Linotype machine. Standing (from left) are printer Claude Mitton, shop foreman Fred Willoughby and news editor Dick McCurdy. Photo courtesy of Ron Mitton Celebrate History! The Leader’s 10th Anniversary • 3


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Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


print devil Tom Camfield recalls more than four decades in print

By Tom Camfield It w a s 6 5 years ago (September 1944) that I first became associated with The Leader, hired on at age 15 as a part-time printer’s devil. My pay was 40 cents an hour, which would add up to about $6 or $7 a week. My basic hours were 4-6 p.m. daily and 9 a.m.-noon on Saturdays, and there were bits of overtime. There was no time clock. Claude Mitton and I just jotted our hours worked on a calendar at the end of the day, both then and in later years. Because of my age and the dangerous equipment with which I’d be working – metal saw with unguarded blade, molten metal, power-driven paper cutter, big old hand-fed newspaper press – I had to go with my mother before the Superior Court judge to get a work permit. The old Babcock newspaper press was pretty typical for a small-town weekly newspaper of the times. Those were still the days of metal type and inked rollers. Standing on a platform, the operator would flip single sheets into position, pausing only to replenish his paper supply from a stack near the press. The press handled four pages at a time. The sheets later would be turned over and four more pages printed on the other side. For The Leader’s circulation back then, a press run of four pages (or less) took around an hour, as best as I can remember. On a good week, The Leader would run 16 pages; on a poor week only 10; other weeks 12 or 14 pages. Printed pages were combined on a hand-fed, clanking old folder. For 12 pages, one operator fed in eight pages and another four pages, simultaneously. For the un-

popular 14 pages, a third operator would coordinate with the other two while inserting a two-page section. There were, of course, occasional stops, ripping out of misguided paper, and restarts. For 16 pages, two eight-page sections were folded separately by a single folder operator, and then stuffed together by hand on the nearby counter, one copy of the paper at a time. One soon became manually adept at many things, there in the old days.

same height as the news-type slugs from the Linotype machines and the handset type from cabinet drawers. I also learned to handpick type from the cabinets. After press day, the newspaper pages removed from the press were washed with gasoline, the large type returned to the drawers, and all of the type metal re-melted and used as the next week’s production began. I quickly learned to run the old newspaper press, and I was ever wary at those times I crawled into its interior while cleaning or oiling it. The press had an operator’s on-off handle that only required a nudge, and I never neglected to remove it.

Small staff

This old copy hook is one of the few mementoes Tom Camfield collected in his early Leader years. Some of the drawers in his kitchen also have iron handles from one of the old type cabinets, and somewhere in his garden is a small slab of the marble that once served as the top of a makeup counter in the shop. On the personal side, I ruined pants and shoes, and suffered an occasional minor burn, while using a long-handled ladle to pour molten metal into a casting box. National ads (autos and such) arrived in the mail in the form of cardboard/composition mats, which I converted to an impression in type metal that was the

Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

Back in 1944, The Leader had a small staff of all native-born individuals. Publisher was Ray O. Scott, editor Richard F. McCurdy (then off serving in World War II), printer Claude A. Mitton (and myself part-time in the shop) – along with Dan Hill, who was an “outside” man (advertising, etc.). Scott also had some office help. My aunt Mary June (Camfield) Winchester was still there when I went into the U.S. Army in January 1951. Mary Norwood became office manager for a year or two when Mary June was elected city clerk. Both also were lifetime local residents. Mary recalls that she was with The Leader a couple of years and remembers working for Scott, who died late in 1952. So I believe LaVerne Horton (later Tice) became office manager at about the time I graduated at Berkeley and returned to the paper in September 1954. I remember that my aunt Mary June would have the work all caught up in the office and used to get a little bored. So she came back and assisted in the shop on press day when needed. An exception to the nativeborn crew on my 1944 arrival

Tom Camfield on the job. He spent more than 44 years with The Leader, taking photos, writing stories and, in the early years, setting type. Photos courtesy of Tom Camfield was, only during McCurdy’s wartime absence, editor pro-tem Jack Hirtz. There occasionally was part-time typesetting help on one of the Linotype machines; I recall particularly Barbara McCurdy, Dick’s sister. On rare occasions when Dick’s brother Win was in town briefly, he would drop in to hand-feed the old newspaper press. Dick, Win and Barbara were children of former Leader publisher Winslow McCurdy, who had sold the newspaper to become postmaster before his untimely death in the late 1920s.

Publisher Ray Scott Ray O. Scott, born in Port Townsend in 1893, graduated in 1912 from PTHS, where he was known as “Froggie.” At age 10, he worked as a carrier boy for the town’s Daily Call newspaper. He later served his apprenticeship and became a Linotype operator at The Leader during his high school years. He left in 1912 to take a similar position with the Morning Astorian in Astoria, Ore., married, moved to Alaska and worked several years with the Anchorage Times, and then worked briefly on The Daily News in Longview, Wash., before purchasing an interest in The Leader and becoming its

manager. He became major stockholder of the business in 1946. He died nine years later on Dec. 22, 1955, at age 62. Ray was a rather short individual who smoked cigars and whistled a lot while he worked. However, he forbade my whistling while I worked, as it apparently annoyed him. He manned the front office except for operating a Linotype (alongside printer Claude Mitton) during the early days of the week. He was among the profession’s best at typesetting. As weekly deadlines neared, as I would begin to “pull a proof ” of a galley of his type for proofreading, he more often than not would say, “Don’t bother with that; I set it.” Ray was close with a dollar, in the tradition of nearly every smalltown publisher with whom I was associated over the years. At the end of the month, he hand-carried statements to the various businesses around town, saving 3 cents postage on each (and, of course, maintaining some brief contact with various advertisers). Dan Hill, a minor partner with Scott, along with McCurdy and Mitton, was let go and bought out by the others, along in the late ’40s, as his position showed itself ~ Continued on Page 7 ~

Celebrate History! The Leader’s 10th Anniversary • 5


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Camfield ~ From Page 5 ~

to be superfluous and non-productive. Hill, scion of a prominent pioneer Port Townsend family, left the city and purchased the Raymond Herald.

Provocative column Jack Hirtz, who replaced McCurdy during the war, wrote a provocative column titled “Jottings.” He often quoted “the woman in the red dress” as the source of some of his material. He caused a bit of a stir. One famous occasion was the time he called attention to the money being lavished on her fancy dogs by the wife of Realtor H.J. (Jack) Carroll – when the public was generally supporting the war effort by buying U.S. war bonds. Jack actually was more public-spirited than most and was among the first in line to pledge at the war-bond rallies held on downtown Taylor Street. He was pretty anxious to kick Hirtz’s butt after the column appeared, but I don’t believe Hirtz ever accepted the invitation to step outside. The staff stayed small, but occasional people came and went. Once printer Claude Mitton was seriously in need of a full-time Linotype operator. One young fellow who was hired seemed to fill the bill very well but was not long on the job when it was discovered that he was an escapee from a tuberculosis treatment facility. It also was during this period that I moonlighted nights as printer for a second local newspaper that had been established by former South Dakota publisher Rod Weir, in the Waterman-Katz Building over on Water Street. The Jefferson County Herald had limited success but was a thorn in the side of Leader publisher Ray Scott. He insisted that I give up this second job. At some point around 1950, Vernon Swanson was hired as a full-time Linotype operator. Mitton continued to work on the newspaper’s production Monday through Wednesday, and handled the job of printing for the entire county the rest of the week, including nights and weekends as necessary. I was his sidekick, and we put in about 65-hour weeks, until I left for Fort Lewis. When I returned to The Leader in September 1954, after my wartime stint in the Army and finishing work for my journalism degree at the University of California, it

Claude Mitton is shown here selecting type from a traditional “California case” and working on a printing job at a makeup stone. was at the invitation of McCurdy, who in addition to his role of editor also became publisher upon the death of Scott late in 1952. This time, the newspaper needed not a printer but a number-two man on the editorial side (and my experience in printing/production also was a bonus).

The crime news A side note from the ’50s: During this period, I was picking up the weekly adjudications from Judge Grady’s office, and a related source was the call book kept in the town’s only police car by Police Chief George Willestoft, who had been in that position for quite a few years. He spent most of his time parked at the southeast corner of the main downtown intersection, on Taylor Street. At one point in the mid-50s, George began refusing access to the book. I don’t know if it was to keep someone’s name out of the paper or was because of something we had written about him. I finally just gave up knocking on his car window once a week. We were still pretty much a crime-free, live-and-let-live little town in those days, and no one wanted to make a federal case out of it.

Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

Nowadays, I suppose, the press would have taken him to court on the principles of public disclosure. But in those days, that just would have wound up in the hands of county prosecutor and coroner William J. Daly, one of the “good old boys.” There were quite a few humorous instances involving Willestoft in those years. One was the time that a burglary had been reported after closing time in the old Aldrich’s store uptown. George and his patrolman showed up. Inside they thought they had the culprit cornered, and for some reason – possibly the consideration of self-preservation – began shooting. They managed to shoot up the place pretty well, but it turned out there was no one on the premises other than them.

Staff shuffle When Scott’s estate was settled following his death, McCurdy bought out his majority interest in the paper. A few years later, Vern Swanson left the paper and went to work at The Daily Herald in Everett, Wash. He was soon replaced by Karl McMullen, an older individual whose wife Bea operated a small beauty shop on

This view of The Leader building is from the mid 20th century. From The Leader collection

Washington Street. I was the next to go, early in 1958, at the time earning $5,200 a year. I made contact with a California publisher, drove down and back over a weekend for an interview, and gave McCurdy a couple of weeks’ notice on Monday morning. I was actually gone in a week. I packed up, listed our home with a Realtor, found some moving help from a local guy (Bill Caprioti) with a pickup truck, and headed south. I quickly bought in and became a minority partner in a two-paper enterprise and was editor and publisher of the Indian Valley Record in Greenville, Calif., for some 2½ years. It was an uplifting time, and my wee country paper became well known around the state. However, I was inveigled back to manage The Leader when McCurdy’s wife insisted – on behalf of family harmony – that they take an extended sojourn on the island of Majorca. I’m not sure just when the McCurdys returned to town, a couple of years or so later, as I recall. There were some major changes in the appearance of the town during those years. One was the destruction of the historic Tucker Building, site of the present Bank of America, at Washington and Adams streets by developer J. Frederick Palmer, who also later developed Cape George Colony. Filling of a great portion of Kah Tai Lagoon also took place in 1961. Hired by McCurdy as my temporary “staff” at The Leader, Jerry (later “Peter”) Simpson had quickly allied himself with the budding art community immediately upon his arrival in town. He championed preservation and was opposed to both the razing of the

Tucker Building and the filling of the lagoon. He was an admirer and friend of Mary P. Johnson, who later restored the Clapp Building (later the Port Townsend Art Gallery), across Water Street from the Tucker Building. As editor, I was more of a realist and leaned a little toward progress and development.

Covering controversy I remember The Leader’s role, however, as less of an attempt at editorial persuasion one way or another and more of my covering the public hearings at the Courthouse. There, the subject was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal for dredging along the waterfront, in order to construct the present port boat basin, and dumping the material into Kah Tai Lagoon. In retrospect, I believe the public was deceived over just how much of the lagoon, then reaching all the way to the highway, would be filled. And I wonder now why the material couldn’t have been barged away and dumped somewhere in the Strait of Juan de Fuca or elsewhere. The Courthouse hearings were quite vocal. Those opposing the fill described a “lagoon”; those favoring it described a “swamp.” I remember little else of great consequence locally in the news during the early ’60s, but I’m sure that browsing the old issues of The Leader would call a few things to mind. During my absence in the Army and at college, Fort Worden was closed, in 1953, later to be sold to the state. Highly publicized when closure was being considered was a letter to the president by Jean Foster, a local pulp-romance writer who operated Foster’s Fix-It Shop on Taylor Street, along with ~ Continued on Page 8 ~

Celebrate History! The Leader’s 10th Anniversary • 7


~ From Page 7 ~

her husband Karl. I was away at college at the time, but I believe Jean got an answer to her letter. I don’t remember the exact year now, but it was about the mid-50s (although it could have been as late as the early ’60s) when there was an ongoing dispute between commercial and sports fishermen regarding salmon harvest in local waters. On one occasion I hastened with my camera down to Point Hudson, where a commercial boat had temporarily moored and tempers were running high. Sheriff Bob Hansen arrived and went aboard to discuss the situation with the crew. Their response was returning to sea with him aboard – a “kidnapping” of sorts – before deputy Mike Thompson rushed to the scene as backup. But Bob always enforced the law in a calm manner and with a sort of live-and-let-live attitude, and this event was resolved without any arrests. On another day, a fleet of purse seiners was active off Whidbey Island near the entrance to Admiralty Inlet. McCurdy made

Election Day Only local old-timers will remember The Leader office on Election Day, back in the mid60s when Dick McCurdy still was publisher. With Auditor Helen J. Eads’ blessing, it served as election headquarters when the returns began coming from the polling places. Those turned into 36-hour

?

Can you fix it

Yep!

Drinking black coffee throughout the night didn’t make a full day’s work a piece of cake on Wednesday press day. ~ work shifts for me, with no sleep or overtime pay involved. This was all to ensure that The Leader had the final election totals early on press-day morning. We managed to stay on top of things without going all big-city and racing around as deadline neared like crazed rats in a maze, attempting to emulate romantic misconceptions of newspaper operations created in the public mind by the movie world. We wound up with plenty of time to write up the results and get the type set. We worked the usual busy day on Tuesday and took time out for dinner. Back at the office, as the poll closure neared, I stood ready to instantly phone Associated Press and United Press International ~ Continued on Page 9 ~

Camfield

hurried arrangements for me to fly over and photograph the scene as a passenger in the private plane of Scotty Macfarlane, who managed Olympic Gas Co. on Water Street. I had to lean out the windowless side door of the craft and shoot with the bulky old-fashioned press camera. I tried to get Scotty to fly rather low over the boats, but he feared getting shot at. He did demonstrate to me how to stall and restart his aircraft in mid-air, however, on the way back to the airport. Back at his office, we had a shot of scotch from the bottle he kept in his desk – which was also one of the attractions of stopping by there occasionally during my weekly advertising calls, although there was little need for his particular business to advertise. I’m sure things are much different now than in those days for The Leader ad staff.

An uncle remembered By Frank Wetzel

Ray Scott, born in Port Townsend in 1893, served his apprenticeship and was a Linotype operator at The Leader before working at newspapers in Astoria, Anchorage and Longview. He then returned to his hometown to become manager, editor and publisher of The Leader in the late 1920s. He retired in 1949 after suffering a heart attack while watching a local high school basketball game. He died in 1955. Scott held the usual community positions of local publisher, director of First National Bank, trustee and deacon of First Presbyterian Church, charter member and president of Rotary, and member of the rationing board during World War II. He w a s s h o r t , r o t u n d , smoked cigars, whistled as he worked, loved sports. Although famously thrifty, he privately supported a number of school, church and other charities. He donated the original electric scoreboard and clock for the gym at Port Townsend High

School, his alma mater. There is a story that Inga, his lonely widow, continued to inhabit their old home on Benton Street after she died, perhaps because she wanted but had no children. But when a daycare center was established in the house and it was teeming with children, the ghost was said to have departed, apparently satisfied. Others in his family also were journalists. His brother Bert worked at the Seattle PostIntelligencer for many years. His grandnephew Paul Wetzel is an editorial writer at the Salt Lake City Tribune. As for me, he was my uncle, and I was a bureau chief with the Associated Press, editor of the Bellevue JournalAmerican and ombudsman at The Seattle Times.

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Camfield ~ From Page 8 ~

with the earliest returns. I used to make $10 a night from each for continuing “stringer” coverage of the returns. The first caller from around the state also received an additional small bonus. The small Leader front office was crowded, with a few people peering through the front windows, straining to see the blackboard as the first returns began coming in from local precincts. Publisher McCurdy reveled a bit in his newspaper’s role, something I was caught up in with my usual naiveté back in those days. Bonzo DeLeo always showed up to take care of the large blackboard that was leaned against the entrance sidewall, on which latest tallies were posted as calls came in from the precincts. He claimed this same position of prominence with a certain doggedness in other years, when returns were tallied at the Courthouse. A coffee urn was kept filled in the backshop, into which members of the public overflowed a bit. The capacity was very limited, of course. A fight broke out between men on one occasion.

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Usually, the final precinct to be heard from was Queets, out in the West End of the county, usually around 5 or 6 a.m. Time really dragged through the early morning hours, but McCurdy, office manager LaVerne Horton and I stuck it out to the end. There was limited puttering about we could do in preparation for press day. It wasn’t that Queets had so many votes, but rather that someone had to drive a little distance to get to a telephone. It was never clear to me whether the person reporting went home and went to bed first, or whether he or she had to wait for the owner of the telephone to get up the next morning. Drinking black coffee throughout the night didn’t make a full day’s work a piece of cake on Wednesday press day. I knew better than trying to sleep for an hour or two when going home for breakfast. It would have then taken me most of the day to shake the resultant cobwebs out of my head!

Personal side of Vietnam Big news everywhere, of course, was the Vietnam War of the ’60s and into the early 1970s: the draft, protests in the streets as the conflict continued, and the influx of “hippies” into Port Townsend,

many of whom “crashed” in the upper rooms at the old N.D. Hill/ Town Tavern Building on Water Street. The town was pretty much introduced to marijuana and other drugs about that time. The war definitely was part of local news for The Leader. I personally editorialized against student protests on the editorial page, basically due to the apparent lack of regard for our local young men on the line in the war zone, most of whom had been drafted into the war rather than volunteering to put on the uniform. Killed in Vietnam not long after I had known them as PTHS athletes were Seabee Marvin Shields (Medal of Honor), infantryman John Paddock and Navy corpsman Tim McMahon. I wrote their obituaries, and also accompanied the Navy officials when they came to town to call on Tim’s parents. My concern for the troops also probably had something to do with having been drafted into the Army myself during the Korean War. Via a local soldier, I also wrote letters to those living in a hootch close enough to the shooting that they could not rest easy at night. I occasionally sent them packages of little things I thought they might be doing without over there, and

Tom Camfield, shown here at The Leader’s 120th Birthday Bash, was on hand to sign his history books. The birthday party was staged in The Leader parking lot on Labor Day weekend. Photo by Barney Burke I published some of their letters in The Leader. I think my evaluation of public concern for the troops was reinforced by the fact that when I published an invitation for items I might include in moralebuilding packages, only a single person responded: the late Mary McQuillen. It was obvious to me that the troops were dispirited and the public rather unconcerned. It was more about those who might be drafted than those who already had been – not exactly like the situation today with Iraq and Afghanistan. The Kent State shooting of

students by National Guard troops in 1970 probably epitomized the misguided confusion generated by the government back then, and in retrospect I wish I had done a better job of supporting both warriors and protestors at the same time – as I do today. All in all, my time with The Leader spanned more than 44 years. In later years, I have written four books of family history (mine and my wife’s) and two 500-page volumes of Port Townsend history. At age 80, I have in progress a book combining personal and hometown history during my lifetime here.

Stan Miller recalls burgers and deadlines By Stan Miller

Tom Camfield and I, since we are now 80 years old, are probably the last of the old crew that worked in the days of Ray Scott, Dick McCurdy, Claude Mitton, et al. We both started there in 194344. I left sometime in the summer of 1946, and Tom stayed on until we both left for Washington State College (in those days) in September 1947. We were “roomies” along with Orville Campbell that

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first semester. When we put out The Leader in those days, it was all done by hand except for news stories, which were “typed” and cast on the old Linotype machines. All ads were set by hand: individual letters, punctuation marks, etc. The old drawer trays that held the type had many compartments, and Tom and I learned into which of these all the pieces of type would go. I forgot the make of the old flatbed press we used. [Tom re-

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members it was a Babcock.] It would print four chases (pages) at a time. The newsprint was cut to that four-page size when received at The Leader. The press was handfed, one sheet at a time. When the run number was done, the chases were replaced with four new ones and the printed sheets were flipped and re-fed to produce an eightpage section. We could also do a single- or double-page insert. Our folding and trimming machine was also hand-fed. It was set up with two feeder trays, and a third tray could be added for extra inserts. We also prepared the paper for mailing by rolling up each copy in an 8-x-10-inch preprinted (by hand) sheet of paper and then bundling them up and delivering to the Port Townsend post office. We also did all of the printing in town. Flat pieces, i.e. letterheads, invoice forms, etc., were done on an automatic feed upright Miehle Press. Most all the mailing envelopes, both plain and window, were done on a couple of old hand-fed presses. Tom and I printed thousands of envelopes on

these old presses. We also printed the local telephone directory, among other items. To sustain ourselves for this great “ordeal” after school, Tom and I would race down to Ramsdell’s, next to the Rose Theatre, for a couple of cheeseburgers each and a chocolate shake – all for under a dollar, and still try to get in a couple of hours of work before the office closed. [Tom Camfield adds: As neither of us had a car, it was interesting – as I lived up atop Morgan Hill and Stan lived out near the back gate of Fort Worden on the bluff overlooking Admiralty Inlet. We also played first and second chair (alternately) in the trumpet section of the PTHS Band, except when Stan was with the team during the football season. And I don’t recall we ate that much at Ramsdell’s on the way to work. We only made 40 cents an hour and worked only two hours a day (4-6 p.m.) most days. Perhaps on press night we lived it up a bit more, although we hewed pretty much to deadlines in those days.]

Celebrate History! The Leader’s 10th Anniversary • 9


REMEMBERING The Garred Years Leaving the hot lead behind

By Frank Garred Leader Owner/Publisher 1967-2002 We w e r e aiming for 48º6’54.144” North at –122º45’20.2896” West on that August afternoon driving across the Hood Canal floating bridge. Those coordinates led us to the Fowler Building, home of the Port Townsend Leader, where I joined the business and staff as new publisher/editor. Anticipation was electric – for us and for our new business companions. Richard McCurdy had served The Leader since 1936, first as reporter and editor, and then assuming ownership from Ray O. Scott in 1956. In 1965 Dick responded to an inquiry: Yes, The Leader was for sale to a person or team that would take it into the “era” of “cold type and offset printing.” Two years later a deal was struck.

At that time the Jefferson County newspaper was one of many in Washington state continuing to use direct-image printing: letterpress and hot type. The former Babcock reciprocal flatbed book press was cranking out the weekly Leader pages from metal type set by the industry-standard Linotype machines. Molten lead was squeezed against single-character brass matrices, one line at a time, to form the news columns, while larger typecasting machines formed headlines and blocks of advertisements. Names such as Ludlow, Elrod, those Linotypes and Fairchild TTS (which punched tapes to be read by the Linotype Quick, supposedly making the setting of text type automatic – except an operator routinely sat at the Quick’s keyboard to relieve the hang-ups, clean up the “squirts” and reset the distribution bar that routinely jammed with disengaged matrices and space bands) were equipment manufacturers whose names had withstood the test of decades in

the newspaper and commercialprinting marketplace. Meeting and working with an experienced staff helped ease the mechanical pain as we began examining a different future for our newspaper’s production process. On days when those lines of type were remelted for recasting, the backshop was thick with the smoke and smell of molten lead. The swinging doors leading to that backshop from the front office were vented from use, and the invading smell and smoke filled every nook of our 1874-built stone building that once was the temporary “courthouse” for Jefferson County. History be damned, some changes were needed. First, new “software” was constructed for the coming technological metamorphosis. Port Townsend neighbor Archie Charawell built our new, modern wood-framed light tables (yes, a version of software when compared to the metal monsters they replaced) on which the future issues of The Leader would be composed. A supply of X-Acto knives, blocks of paste wax, a wax-coating machine, and other utensils and small mechanical devices were acquired and installed. Paper would be easier to handle and trim than those heavy galleys

We traded the smoke and smell of molten lead for the smell of photo-processing chemicals. ~

of cast lead type. But for three more years those lead-composing machines would continue to spew forth the lines of type and blocks of lead-cast ads from which paper copies would be pulled from a single-pass proof press. By Thanksgiving 1967, we were ready to move away from that old and reliable Babcock letterpress to the indirect printing process known as offset. We took our finished paste-up pages to Shelton, where the Shelton-Mason County Journal photographed them, created printing plates made of thin aluminum, attached those to the offset web press that consumed rolls of newsprint instead of the single sheets used by that Babcock press. Shelton’s press would automatically print, gather, fold and trim The Leader, providing finished copies neatly stacked in less than an hour. The process took minutes, where us-

ing the heavy machinery of the letterpress process at The Leader took hours. Meanwhile, the first staff addition after our assuming ownership from Dick McCurdy that September 1967 was Elizabeth (Betty) Grewell, another neighbor, who was curious about The Leader’s new printing process. She joined the insular staff of Claude Mitton, his son Terry, LaVerne (Horton) Tice, Tom Camfield and the newcomer publisher – me – as our first cold-type production staff. The rest of us began the transition to that new process with some reluctance, some trepidation, but after that Thanksgiving week when we launched our weekly trips to Shelton, we all realized the new process gave us relief from the clanking press work and collating in The Leader backshop each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. And we moved the publication to a Wednesday dateline from Thursdays. Those other early changes weren’t that fast. The complete transition to “cold type” and removal of the metal typecasting machines would take another four years. And even after that, the lead type remained a mainstay of our commercial printing operation for additional years, ~ Continued on Page 11 ~

Randall enjoyed a memorable adventure

By Shelly (Testerman) Randall

I reported for The Leader for two years beginning in April 2000, soon after I’d moved to Port Townsend to get to know the dashing fellow I’d met at a contra dance that previous fall. My first job as a journalist was landed, in true Port Townsend fashion, by knowing the right person – my boyfriend lived on the same block as Leader Publisher Scott Wilson and heard from him that a reporter was leaving to join the Peace Corps – and by being willing to work extra hard to make up for not having the proper credentials. I was a youthful-looking 23, and once I got over the perceived insult of being taken for The Leader intern instead of the new full-time staff reporter, I realized the best

way to be taken seriously was to let my reporting speak for itself. Under the patient tutelage of then managing editor Patrick Sullivan – who will always be for me the epitome of a community newspaperman – I worked diligently to learn the journalistic ropes and the background and details of the issues I was covering. By the time I was ready to move on from The Leader and work for other local organizations and finally as a freelance writer, my reporting skills were solid and I’d earned a reputation for fairness and accuracy. This was thanks not only to Patrick but also to my inestimable newsroom colleagues Jan Huck, Barney Burke, Martha Worthley, Sarah Muirhead and Lynn Nowak. I could write a book-length memoir about the inspiring people

10 • Celebrate History! The Leader’s 120th Anniversary

I interviewed and the story threads I stitched together, but what I want to share for this historical retrospective is the fascinating technological transition I witnessed in the relatively short time I worked at The Leader. Initially, the production staff “pasted up” the newspaper pages full-size on grid paper at large light tables, with photos inserted as black-and-white prints in the actual size they would run. A special camera then took a picture of each page, and the full-size negatives were stacked in a large, flat box and driven to the printer on Bainbridge Island on Tuesday afternoons. Less than two years later, the light tables and giant camera were mothballed, photo negatives were scanned into digital formats, and the newspaper was laid out using computer software, with huge

page files that were (very slowly!) emailed to the printer. If you discovered a last-minute change had to be made in your story, you’d better hope the page hadn’t already been emailed, because once it was gone, there was no time to correct and resend it. Less than 10 years later, I marvel at how much has changed and what tools I now take for granted as a freelance writer. However, as much as today’s technology makes reporting easier, the hard work of actually writing remains unchanged. After two intense years of long hours and low pay balanced by adventurous assignments and local celebrity, I regretfully gave The Leader my notice. At this point I was engaged to that dashing dancer, Jeff Randall – then an overworked city department head

– and we decided that two of us attending regular night meetings was one too many. But The Leader influenced my life right up until my wedding day: Jeff and I were married in 2002 on Rhody weekend, a date we selected based on Patrick’s casual comment that in his decades of covering the Rhody Festival, he’d never seen a “Just Married” car in the Grand Parade. Well, he can’t say that anymore! At least once a month, usually when I’m toting my camera at an event, I run into someone who asks, “Are you still working for The Leader?” It puts a smile on my face to think that whatever other contributions I make in my community, my years at this venerable newspaper might have made the biggest mark, on my fellow Port Townsendites as well as myself.

Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader


Garred ~ From Page 10 ~

though the Linotype machines were rolled out the front door in the mid-’70s, one going to Copper Canyon Press (our gift, with a prayer it would survive the journey to Fort Worden), the other later going off to oblivion, cast metal structural members holding up the connecting rods, levers, lead pot, chains, keyboard and other historic devices that made this late-19th-century typesetter indispensable until it headed toward recycling. Early in the 1970s, an East Coast manufacturer had developed a new-fangled typesetter that eased the Linotypes into retirement. Compugraphic created a machine – about 6 feet tall, 3 feet wide and 4 feet long – coated with its signature grey-blue metal sheeting, that became The Leader’s first photo-typesetting device. It could read the same punched tape as the old Linotype Quick, and would photographically record our lines and galleys of type on rolls of photographic paper. We’d develop those rolls in an automated photo processor. We traded the smoke and smell of molten lead for the smell of photo-processing chemicals. Now with the new lead-less production process moving forward, a new darkroom was framed out of a corner of the backshop where the big Babcock press had labored. Our first “in house” darkroom technician was Port Townsend Police Chief Earnie Phegley. He manned the late-night darkroom shift after a full day of protecting city streets. There was little crime at any hour, and that night shift in The Leader darkroom kept him close to the businesses downtown should he need to back up his one patrolman. The ensuing years brought more changes to The Leader production process. Compugraphic developed a keyboard-entry photo-typesetting machine that replaced the standup model we first installed. And by 1988 those photo-typesetters became historic artifacts too (after 15 years of development and use), as The Leader became one of the first newspapers in Washington state to transition to computers for type and image processing. Since those first weeks of ownership in September 1967, when the subscribers numbered 3,400 or so (counting the free subscriptions) in a county of just over 10,000 population, to over 9,000 paid

subscribers by 1990 in a county of just over 21,000 inhabitants, The Leader was now reaching more than 90 percent of the households in Jefferson County. Home-owned and staffed by members of families who grew up here or moved here to seek a Port Townsend and Jefferson County lifestyle, The Leader was – and is today – recognized regionally for its progressive use of current technology, for its consistent dedication to professional journalism standards and ethics, for its absolute commitment to community and county, and for its independent ownership. The ownership team that succeeded Richard McCurdy fulfilled his wish. The transition to offset and cold type was accomplished. The next generation of ownership – the Scott Wilson family – is continuing to meet the challenge of changing technology and consumer demands with the same dedication to journalism principles and ethics. Scott joined us as a partner in 1989. He assumed full ownership in 2002, allowing us to retire after 35-plus years with The Leader – more than a quarter of its 120 years of operation.

Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

The Reading Room Newsroom bathroom marks the years By Barney Burke Some people like to play with the old wooden type or chat up Tom Camfield about what it was like to work at The Leader way back when, but if you want to see way too much information about journalism, visit the newsroom’s storied restroom. Be sure to mention my name, by the way – you’ll get a better seat. Every vertical surface is plastered with faded clippings from publications of all kinds, which is a good thing considering the hideous hue of green paint – I think it’s paint – that matches the crusty linoleum floor. The Leader’s legendary loo is equipped with an antique toilet and sink that work most of the time, provided you’re handy with paperclips and string. It also has a claw-foot tub that hasn’t held water since the Nixon administration. Even older are some of the artifacts on the walls, including the 1960 and 1962 calendars from Star Laundry in Seattle, which reportedly were left behind by Bobby Louie, a cook who operated a restaurant in Port Townsend for many years and lived in the Leader Building ~ Continued on Page 12 ~

Be sure to bring your reading glasses if you have the opportunity to visit The Leader newsroom restroom, a veritable museum of clippings of all descriptions. Photo by Barney Burke

Celebrate History! The Leader’s 10th Anniversary • 11


Bathroom ~ From Page 11 ~

most of his life. More recent are a Norm Dicks “work horse” ad autographed by the congressman in 1994, 2002 and 2006, and a “Johnnie Hynson for District Court Judge” bumper sticker, also from 2006. Other curiosities include a “simulated fast breeder fuel pellet” in a plastic and cardboard display from Westinghouse Hanford Corp. and, coincidently, a circa 1950 U.S. government-issued “Community Fallout Shelter Plan” based on the assumption that you can survive “the bomb” by getting under a sturdy wooden desk. Newspapers were a frequent gag in “Far Side” cartoons, and we’ve posted many. One depicts a skunk reading the headline “Possum crushed – not faking” on the obit page of the Small Mammal Mirror as his wife says, “You’re so morbid, Jonathan – the paper comes and it’s the first thing you look at.” And to guide us, we have Opus, the “newsroom scruples boy” of “Bloom County.” A key function of the restroom is the recording of historical achievements, such as intern records for story length and Scrabble scores racked up against

Among the historical artifacts in the newsroom restroom is this set of lace-wrapped mug shots of former members of the Port Townsend City Council. Photo by Barney Burke Publisher Scott Wilson. The walls display interesting photos as well, including stills from “An Officer and a Gentleman” and an 8-x-10-inch glossy illustrating “The problem with a short horse in Montana.” Of local interest are a set of lace-wrapped photos of City Council members unloaded as a gag gift at a staff party years ago, a Patrick J. Sullivan image of a seal crossing a road next to a state trooper’s car, and a portrait of Stubby, the Wonder Dog. Celebrity hounds can peruse depictions of Elvis at various weights and a startling pair of “then and now” photos of John Travolta. Other notables include

TV’s Wally and Beaver Cleaver, Frank Sinatra, and mugs of Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney with their names transposed – an easy mistake to make, evidently. Budding headline writers can find inspiration in “Hell-bent for nowhere” and classics from the tabloids like “Bat Boy missing” and “Bat Boy found.” The Seattle P-I was not referring to Sarah, our head copy editor, but we nonetheless delighted in posting this headline from an arts story: “Muirhead peculiar in the most delightful way.” And then there’s the headline our copy editors couldn’t, um, bear, describing a “grizzly” murder in Kitsap County.

Alas, many clips go unread because people forget their reading glasses or the jump page is missing. Take, for example, “I was a female paparazzi in a man’s world – destroying lives for profit.” That sounds like a page-turner all right, but it’s hard to top “Kansas man happy to get brain back after one year.” Other clippings demonstrate why it isn’t always necessary to read the whole story, such as this lead from the Fresno Bee: “A Corcoran State Penitentiary inmate was choked to death Tuesday and his cellmate is the main suspect.” Yes, it was sent to Jay Leno and he used it. Those worried about the fu-

ture of journalism might want to read the clip about an ad posted on JournalismJobs.com by Adult Video News. Described as “the bible of the adult video industry,” that publication was seeking a work-at-home writer to review the kind of films not shown at theaters everywhere. Indeed, our cluttered walls offer wisdom on everything journalistic, from the value of skepticism to why The Leader is still going strong after 120 years. Perhaps Leader General Manager Fred Obee summed it up best in this quote from more than a decade ago: “If people stopped doing dumb things, we’d be out of business.”

Ann Katzenbach: Like being backstage at ‘Saturday Night Live’ By Ann Katzenbach

I arrived in Port Townsend in 1990 and spent the first six months of my life here building a house. When the house was finished, I bought my first computer and set it on the new desk in my new office. I began doing some writing for special sections of The Leader and took on a few play reviews. One day when I was in there working on something and feeling nervous because I hardly knew a soul, Scott Wilson came by, noted a lead he’d particularly liked in one of my reviews, and offered me the job of arts editor. “You don’t know anything about me,” I remember saying. “Shouldn’t I give you a résumé or something?” He just laughed and said that wouldn’t be necessary unless, of course, I wanted to. This seemed like a perfect job for me, and I was so delighted that I forgot to ask for a job description, which there wouldn’t have been anyway. I just made it up as I went

along. I knew how to write and take photographs, but under pressure, I learned to be a newspaper writer and a photojournalist. I also learned how to lay out pages, a completely new skill that I managed only with the help and good will of the production department. That was 1992. There were new galleries opening, The Water Street Deli was putting on some ambitious plays, and people wanted more arts coverage. Within a few weeks, the arts section grew from two to three pages and then, at the beginning of the summer, it became a separate small magazine section. When this happened, I had to learn a whole new technique for doing page layout. Graham Burdekin, who worked in production, couldn’t stand that This Week tab, and neither could I. The sales department was always a bit flummoxed about who had bought space, and when and where, in This Week. Monday night page-layout time was not so much fun as it had been. We

1 • Celebrate History! The Leader’s 10th Anniversary

were all happy when Labor Day rolled around and This Week went away. At first I operated out of an inbox upstairs and did most of my work at home. These were the early days of email. Getting copy entered meant writing it at home, bringing it into the paper on the weekend and retyping it into the system. Carol was the copy editor when I started work. I don’t remember much about her except that her husband was a minister and she was a perfectionist. Sarah Muirhead replaced Carol. Sarah proved to be witty, gracious and flexible. I always enjoyed working with her. Meanwhile, in the newsroom, a young reporter named Sandy left without a replacement. Patrick Sullivan and Scott asked me to take on her job until they could hire someone qualified. I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to do this. I must have imagined being a news reporter wasn’t too difficult or time consuming. I must have thought it didn’t take

much skill other than being a competent writer. After two weeks I was completely exhausted and demoralized. Being the arts editor was usually fun. News reporting was a huge responsibility, and the deadlines seemed never-ending. My happiest day at The Leader was when they found a new reporter (I have no recollection of who it was, Fred Obee, maybe?) and I got my life back. Patrick was a good teacher when I was doing my short stint as a news reporter, and he was good at helping me in a general way with my art stories, but he was always the first to admit that he didn’t know a thing about art and so he usually left me alone to sort out my own stories. After my time in the newsroom, I really appreciated the independence of my part-time arts editor job. I did finally get my own desk in the newsroom, although not my own computer. Now and then someone would get a new computer and I would inherit his old one, but

those old computers were hellishly slow, so it was just easier to wait until the weekend when I could find a faster, newer machine. My fondest memories of my time at The Leader took place in the production department. I imagine that everyone who has worked there has similar memories. Graham, Marian Roh, Chris Hawley, Drew Elicker and John Stanger were handling this aspect of the newspaper on the weekends and on Monday evenings during my seven years there. I sometimes compare this experience to being allowed into rehearsals for “Saturday Night Live.” Graham and John provided the dry British approach to humor. It seemed to be in their DNA. Marian, Chris and Drew were rowdier. Chris has a major talent as a mimic. All of them enjoy word play and can find the humor in almost anything. I would leave work on Monday night worn out from laughing. I miss those hours with the wacky production crew most of all.

Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

Profile for Port Townsend Leader

Celebrate History  

Celebrate History is a special publication from The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader, marking their 120th year serving Jefferson Coun...

Celebrate History  

Celebrate History is a special publication from The Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader, marking their 120th year serving Jefferson Coun...

Profile for leader