Founder recalls LOG’s beginning
This issue marks the 46th year of what will always be “my baby,” no matter who owns it. The LOG was first published on Oct. 6, 1966. It was a “lark” hatched by yours truly and Joanne Hoogland, who as a teacher at the time had had the dubious pleasure of being my high school journalism teacher in 1950-51.
We had, along with friend Bill Lantz, purchased some offset printing equipment from Kirkpatrick Printing earlier that year. Bill was OK with doing job printing when he was available, but he was busy with Seward’s only TV outlet and its translator on Mount Wolcott as well as his TV repair business. When Joanne and I got starry-eyed about starting a weekly newspaper too, Bill balked and backed out of our fledgling partnership.
Joanne and I had read about newspaper printing equipment for sale in Wrangell and pursued purchase of it with Lew Williams, then owner of the Ketchikan, Petersburg and Wrangell papers. Lew told us the man who had put out the Wrangell Sentinel for him had committed suicide and the paper would therefore be printed in Ketchikan and so the equipment was no longer needed. That little bit of news should have given us a clue, publishing a newspaper is not for the faint of heart!
Heedless of this warning we went ahead and bought the equipment which had to be shipped to Seattle first and from there to Seward. When it arrived we had forgotten one little thing — where would we put it? In haste I suggested the Dunham basement. That solved one problem but caused another. How would we get all that stuff down there? Another great idea from me — take the side of our basement stairwell off. That done, the equipment in, the wall back in place, Lew here to give us training on how to operate it, and we were in business. Whew!
As far as the economy of Seward is concerned it was the worst of times. We were 2-1/2 years out from the ’64 quake and construction of the railroad dock was completed but there were no takers. Shipping had moved to Anchorage and we were suffering from the “one industry” blues. It wasn’t until three years later that Seward’s recovery began.
So, the first 10 years of the LOG were tougher than you can imagine. Luckily my spouse had a real paying job so I could borrow his paycheck on the first of every month to pay toward the pittance my employees got. When the advertisers paid me the money could be used to keep the wolf from the Dunham family door.
So, we got by with the slave labor of our kids and a few folk who were willing to work for that pittance, or just to hear me shout and cuss (there was a lot of that). After two years Joanne bowed out of the business to tend to her school job and continue to honcho City Express. I soldiered on, two years out moving the LOG headquarters to the log cabin across from the bank. The house was once more a home but some of the equipment remains in the basement and will probably be there when spouse and I are taken off to the newsroom in the sky.
Nearing 50 years of publication, the LOG is one of the longest running papers in the state. It has endured other owners besides me and I wish Edgar and Annette the best of luck and lots of good news to relate. Guys, treat my baby well.