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History of The Clearwater Progress, Kamiah, Idaho
History of The Clearwater Progress Print E-mail

100 years of Progress

     The one constant in The Clearwater Progress’ 100- plus year history is change. 

     On Thanksgiving Day 2005, The Clearwater Progress celebrated its centennial anniversary. It seemed fitting to reach such a milestone on a nationally observed day of giving thanks. 

     Of course the paper’s founder, Charles Hofstetter had no idea he was starting the paper on Thanksgiving because the holiday was not ratified by Congress until 1941.

     But it turned out fitting nonetheless.

     Just as the early pioneers opted to purchase ground for a more stable and secure town site in 1905, the fourth town site to date, so too did Hofstetter feel the time was ripe to record and share Kamiah Valley’s news.

     According to historical record, Hofstetter actually printed a few issues in Stites prior to Nov. 24, 1905, but moved to Kamiah because of its more central location in the valley.

     The name Progress may well have been an indicator of what Hofstetter felt was happening in the community around him. Frame houses were going up, businesses starting and commerce seemed to be on the upswing in what was labeled the Lilly of the Valley, a reference from the first Progress.

     The potential seemed endless. 

     Rich with beauty and seemingly endless natural resources, Kamiah was the epitome of progress, or what progress could be. 

     Hofstetter must have observed and felt this and so gave the paper its unique name, The Kamiah Progress.

Have paper will travel

     The first decade of the Progress’ life was likely its most tumultuous. It jumped from place to place, usually switching homes when it switched hands, which happened aplenty as its owners often had numerous other business interests that competed for attention. And there was always the potential gold mine venture on the horizon. 

     The first location of The Kamiah Progress was at the McCallie building, which was located on the corner of where the Legion Hall now resides.

     The following year the printing plant was moved into the front of the newly completed IOOF Hall, which was torn down to make way for the city’s Emergency Service Building.

     In 1907 the Progress was on the move again as it relocated to the Benjestorf building. Later in the year, Hofstetter purchased two lots opposite Pomeroy’s Hardware and built a 20x40 office to house the paper.

     On Jan. 3, 1908 W.A. Dissmore took over as publisher and moved the paper back to the IOOF Hall, this time in its upper room. 

     Dissmore sold the paper to J.M. Shaw in 1909, who moved the paper to the corner of 6th and Main. Shaw was a notary public and ran Corbetts Ferry before operating the paper. In 1910 he sold it back to Dissmore who shuffled the paper to where Horseshoe Bar was located. 

     A fire burned the building and the paper was subsequently moved to C.J. Johnson’s funeral parlor, which gave real life to the meaning of the word deadline.

     Shaw worked as editor until taking the publisher’s position of the Orofino Tribune. In 1911 the paper was published by a husband and wife team of Dissmore and Dissmore.

     As so often was the case at the time, publishers wrote lengthy farewells or hellos announcing their departure or arrival. The words were like poetic mission statements, ringing with lofty values espoused by men of integrity. It spoke of an era where mutual respect and reputation were of great value.

     It was also a time when political and government boundaries were shifting into finality. In 1911 the portion of Nezperce County we know as Lewis was decreed with the town of Nezperce being named county seat. It was a hotbed issue many Kamiah citizens vowed to alter in two years, changing the seat to Kamiah as well as the county name. But the cause grew dim and vanished into history.

     In 1912 the paper changed hands again, this time to a partnership between Jesse Hurley and J.M. Shaw. They reoccupied the building at 6th and Main. Diversifying their interests, the office also handled insurance, real estate and pianos. 

     Playing Mozart could well have been cure for writer’s block.

     By 1914 Shaw’s partner had left. He hired Paul B. Blake as editor. As was a common practice in that day, after Blake cut his teeth with editing the paper he opted to buy it. With ink in his veins, Shaw invested in the Kooskia Mountaineer, a few miles upriver. 

     Blake then sold a half interest in the paper to E.L. Grinnell in 1915. Together they installed a cylinder press. 

     Grinnell then left for Michigan and Blake continued on until 1916 when he sold to C.H. Martin, who continued publishing the paper until health reasons pressed him to sell to the dean of country newspapers, Ralph Prescott in 1918.

The dean of country newspapers

     Known as the dean of country papers from Grangeville to Spokane, Prescott operated the paper at a building which became the Ringen Plumbing shop. 

     Prescott also published the Stites Enterprise and leased the Kooskia Mountaineer.  

      He took only three vacations in the near quarter century of work, and was absent during only 10 printings out of 2,352 issues. 

     “A period of close to a quarter century is a long time to remain at the helm of a country newspaper, and few editors have that experience,” he eflected. 

     Prescott closed the doors of The Kamiah Progress with the issue of June 24, 1942. Subscribers and Kamiah news were transferred in par to the Nezperce Herald.

     He closed the paper due to the World War II conflict, which emptied the town of qualified help and supplies. Only four men were left in business at Kamiah who were present when Prescott arrived: Dr. J.F. Bridwell, Dr. C.H. Bryan, Wade Wilson, and Jack Mills. 

     In his final issue, Prescott summed up in third person that “All his represents a lot of work, but there has been much pleasure mixed in, for there is a fascination about newspaper making and printing in general which gives to one who loves the profession an unusual amount of job, which offsets a vast amount of grief which is bound to go along with it.”

     “We have tried at all times to hold close to the motto carried with the paper’s heading “Always Working for Kamiah’s Progress” and believe we have hit the mark pretty much of the time. Anyway we’ve surely published a lot of good things about this wonderful valley, and will continue to spread the word of its beauty and resources without the help of printer’s ink.”

     Prescott retired to Florida. 

     Kamiah had no local newspaper until 1953.

Progress returns with new name

     Bruce Wilkinson revived the Progress in December 1953 after purchasing the building on the lower end of Main Street next to Johnston’s store. 

     But he made a noticeable change. The Kamiah Progress became The Clearwater Progress to reflect a larger readership. With Kooskia and Stites lacking newspapers, the Progress welcomed readers and news from those towns into the fold.

     He sold the newspaper and printing plant to Thomas Campbell of Lewiston in 1958. Two years later Larry McIntosh became publisher. He sold the paper to Larry and Karon Schlieper in 1963. 

     In July of 1966 the Schliepers moved the paper to a modern block office they built at the corner of 4th and Hill streets. They hired Cheeta Brown as editor in 1967. The Schliepers held the second longest tenure of the Progress at 20 years and offered a world of improvements. 

     Larry said he was the first to incorporate computers into the business, which marked the beginning of the end of linotype and compugraphic machines. 

     They sold the paper to John and Cloan McNall in 1983.

     Scott and Cheryl Anderson become publishers in 1986, with Margaret Scott becoming contributing news editor that same year.

     The paper was then sold to Barney and Wilma Mowrey. Their editor was Nona Perry.

     Raora Davidson worked as news editor and reporter beginning in 1987.  Leslie Bucknell took her place in 1992 and a year later Bill Glenn was hired for the job.

     Bill and Shirley Glenn purchased the paper from Mowrey in 1993 and operated it until 2001. In 1998 they moved the office from its 4th Street location to its present site at 417 Main Street. The 4th Street location was one of the longest homes of the paper in its history.

     In fact, despite numerous attempts to update phone book records, some books persist in maintaining the old address.

     John and Susan Bennett bought the paper on July 1, 2001 at which time Ben Jorgensen was promoted to editor.


“A newspaper is something more than just a means of making a livelihood or a way to spread news, or advertise goods for sale. A newspaper is an instrument for the good of the community, and of mankind in general.   It is or should be a means of raising the moral standards of our citizenry and it should never stand back for anything that threatens those standards, Yes, a newspaper is all of these and more; and it is our fervent hope that the publishers of the new Clearwater Progress will always do just that.” ~Ira Chamberlain

New era for The Clearwater Progress Print E-mail

Progress begins offering free subscriptions

From our Feb. 7, 2008 issue:


     The Clearwater Progress will embark on a new course this week, perhaps the boldest approach in its colorful 102-year history, when it begins offering free newspaper subscriptions to all residents in the upper Clearwater Valley.

     Beginning today, The Clearwater Progress will suspend local subscription sales and begin delivering free weekly newspapers to all box holders in the Kamiah, Kooskia, Stites, Clearwater and Harpster areas.

     The decision is in response to modern changes in the way information, advertising and news is delivered, according to Progress owners John and Susan Bennett of Grangeville.

     The Bennetts, who have owned the paper since 2001, said technological advances like the Internet and other forms of electronic media have changed the informational landscape across the country.

     While these many new choices are good and healthy for consumers, the trend has a way of dissolving the traditional conversations and dialogues that give individual communities their unique identities. 

     “We think it is very important for the long term health of the community for people to be engaged in the everyday activities of the people who live here,” said John Bennett.

     “And one way that our business can help is by distributing our local paper to as many people as possible.  We recognize that many people are on fixed incomes and we do not want that to be a barrier to getting news about their town and the people involved in it. A community paper has a unique position of being able to inform the largest audience of what is happening in their community without having to sift through many pages of articles and advertising that does not relate to our town. 

     “This paper also has the responsibility of presenting all sides of important local issues so that those who live here will be able to make the informed decisions that affect our quality of life and our future generations.”

     By saturating the area with local news and advertising, the Bennetts believe a more informed population of residents will make better choices for their community, be it a vote on a local school levy or a buying decision that will support local employment and the tax base.

     The distracting din of this new informational age hides an even broader danger, added Progress Editor Ben Jorgensen.

     “As we slowly disengage ourselves from our communities, we are beginning to experience a breakdown in volunteerism, be it for the local ambulance service or CVRA,” Jorgensen said. “It is important that we as individuals keep investing in our communities to preserve those qualities most appealing to us.”

     Jorgensen said the move to free distribution is also in response to the surge of many new faces arriving in both communities as new residents discover the beautiful Clearwater Valley.

     “We want to be welcoming to everyone and let them know they have a lot at stake in preserving what attracted them here in the first place.”

     The size of the paper has also changed for greater ease of use by readers. 

     This change in paper size is also aimed at helping advertisers’ investment in their own goods and services work even harder for them. “Advertisements stand out in a much greater way on a smaller page because, quite simply, they are easier to see,” said Jorgensen. “Not only will they be more attention grabbing, but more eyes will see them as a result of direct mailing the paper to every active box in the upper Clearwater Valley.”

     The Bennetts said the move to a free distribution newspaper would also give hometown businesses a great, new opportunity to compete for local dollars through total-market saturation advertising. 

     While the area already has free advertising publications, the Bennetts feel offering an additional bonus of free local news content will definitely give The Clearwater Progress a leg up when approaching advertisers.

     “Every household in the valley can now rely on our paper to provide them with information relating to their very own surroundings. The advertising is an important component; our local businesses will appreciate being able to reach all people within our community,” Susan Bennett added.

     The move will effectively triple The Clearwater Progress circulation to 4,325.

     Current newsstand sales and out of area subscriptions will not be affected by the change.


The year we were born Print E-mail

A look back at some of the events of 1905

     Franklin Roosevelt marries Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, his 6th cousin, on March 17. President Theodore Roosevelt comes to New York City to give the bride away.

     The first Yellow Pages were invented.

     The Jukebox is invented with 24 songs.

     The first “portable” electric vacuum was invented by Chapman and Skinner in San Francisco and weighed more than 90 pounds.

     The card game Flinch, played with a custom deck, is invented.

     The Popsicle is invented by 11-year-old Frank Epperson, who had left a fruit-flavored soda outside with a stir stick in it. The drink froze to the stick and tasted good.

     The mechanical windshield wiper was invented by Mary Anderson who was issued a patent in 1905.

     The fly swatter as we know it today was invented by a schoolteacher named Frank H. Rose. He was inspired to do so by Kansas State Board of Health member Dr. Samuel J. Crumbine, who was at the time on a campaign to rid Kansas of flies. Rose called his invention, made of wire screening attached to a yardstick, a fly bat. It was renamed a fly swatter by Dr. Crumbine.

     Revolution breaks out in Russia after Bloody Sunday.

     Albert Einstein suggests abandoning the idea of absolute time.

     Buses are invented. The early buses in the U.S. were in New York and were very uncomfortable.

     The first exhaust-driven turbocharger was invented by Dr. Alfred J. Buchi, a Swiss engineer.

     Best sellers in 1905 were: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Return of Sherlock Holmes and Baroness Emmusca Orczy’s (Hungarian-born English novelist) The Scarlet Pimpernel.

     Intelligence tests are invented by French scientist Alfred Binet.

     A 1,250 sq. ft. plot on Wall Street, New York City, was sold for $700,000.

     Published in 1905: Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, E. M. Forster’s Where Angels Fear to Tread, and George Santayana’s The Life of Reason.

     Picasso began his Pink Period in Paris.

     Lehar wrote The Merry Widow.

     Debussy wrote La Mer.

     The traverse rod was invented to draw back the drapes and let in the outside.

     Although The Jazz Singer movie is usually credited as being the first talking picture, the truth is the first movie with an actual soundtrack was invented in 1905, 20 years before The Jazz Singer premiered. This cinematic treasure, whose title has been lost to the ages, was directed by Steven Stereoski, who also invented the sound system that bears his name.

     .45 ACP is first invented. Many world experts swear by this caliber.  After all, it helped America stay a free country by being the sidearm of choice of the American Armed Forces for many wars in which we were involved.

      Popular songs included Sweet Adeline, In My Merry Oldsmobile, Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis, and Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home.

     The player piano was invented.

     Bob Burns coined the word ‘bazooka’ for the homemade musical instrument he invented from two gas pipes and a whiskey funnel. The weapon of the same name was named after Burns’ device during World War II.

     Chero-Cola was invented by chemist Claud Hatcher of Columbus, Ga. The drink later became known as RC Cola.

     Rotary dial phones are invented.

     The foundation of Rotary International.

     Albert Einstein publishes four papers. In particular, he formulates the theory of special relativity and explains the photoelectric effect by quantization. 1905 is regarded as his “miracle year”.

     Las Vegas, Nev. is founded when 110 acres, in what later would become downtown, are auctioned off. 

    Bomb kills Frank Steunenberg, ex-governor of Idaho. The case leads to a trial against leaders of the Western Federation of Miners.

     Albert Einhorn introduces novocaine.

     Among those born in 1905 are Tex Ritter, actor and singer; John O’Hara, writer; Benny Friedman, football player; Joan Crawford, actress; Henry Fonda, actor; Edward Bernds, director; Doc Cramer, baseball player; Howard Hughes, filmmaker, industrialist, aircraft designer, and airline founder.     The New York Giants defeated the Philadelphia Athletics four games to one in the World Series.

     Sports debutes include Hal Chase, Ty Cobb, and Eddie Cicotte.

     The college football season is blighted by 15 fatal injuries, as a result of which U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt calls upon the game’s authorities to reform it.



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