Historic Anchorage Newspapers to be Digitized

The following is a brief overview of early Anchorage-based newspaper titles, to be digitized in the current season of the Alaska National Digital Newspaper Project. A more complete summary of this history will be transmitted for inclusion in the Chronicling America newspaper directory in 2020.

According to early reports, a New Zealand native by the name of Bernie Stone, who had previously edited the Nome Nugget and was at the time responsible for the publication of the Seward Gateway, hired reporter L. F. Shaw along with journalist Ted Needham to found Anchorage’s first paper, the Cook Inlet Pioneer and Knik News, which would eventually become the Anchorage Daily Times and Cook Inlet Pioneer.

Needham and Shaw spearheaded a federal petition to request support for Anchorage’s founding, at a site named Ship Creek, where two thousand settlers had been pitching their tents and constructing temporary housing units along the banks of the creek since May of 1915. President Woodrow Wilson responded to Needham’s and Shaw’s request, assigning Tacoma newspaperman Franklin K. Lane to the role of Secretary of the Interior and directing Lane to build the railroad that would eventually grow the creek-side site into the boomtown of Anchorage, in coordination with engineering manpower from Col. Frederick Mears – at the time a young lieutenant – along with the Alaska Engineering Commission (AEC).

Early Anchorage papers such as the Cook Inlet Pioneer and Knik News (1915-1916) sold for ten cents a copy.

Pictured here is an article from one of Anchorage’s first weekly papers, the Anchorage Weekly Times, dated September 12, 1917.

Anchorage_Weekly_Times_-_Sept_12_1917

References

Atwood, Evangeline, and Lew M. Williams. Bent Pins to Chains: Alaska and Its Newspapers. (Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2006), 68, 247, 313.

Nicolson, Mary C., and Mary Anne Slemmons. Alaska Newspapers on Microfilm, 1866-1998. (Fairbanks: University of Alaska, 1998), 23.

Bruce Parham, “Mears, Frederick,” Cook Inlet Historical Society, Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940, http://www.alaskahistory.org.

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