The Sierra Sun’s colorful history | SierraSun.com

The Sierra Sun’s colorful history

Editor’s note: On the occasion of the Sierra Sun’s first major redesign in several decades, we decided it might be appropriate to look back at the Sun’s more than a hundred years of history.  Exact origins of the Sierra Sun are lost in time. No one knows for sure when it began, who published it or under what name. Most of the following story was taken from the Sun’s Centennial edition on May 7, 1969, and was written by the late Doug Barrett, son of former owner Walter Barrett. The younger Barrett wrote a long-running Sun column called “My Place in the Sun. “

 

For generations this phrase “Since 1869,” has appeared in the “flag” of the Truckee Republican and its successor, the Sierra Sun. It has always been taken as the point of beginning for the Republican and journalism in eastern Nevada County. The irony is this was the one year at that time in which nothing was doing.

No one knows for sure when it began, who published it or under what name. Most of the following story was taken from the Sun’s Centennial edition on May 7, 1969, and was written by the late Doug Barrett, son of former owner Walter Barrett. The younger Barrett wrote a long-running Sun column called “My Place in the Sun. ”

It has always been taken as the point of beginning for the Republican and journalism in eastern Nevada County. The irony is this was the one year at that time in which nothing was doing in the field. “Authority” exists for the claim. First, in Thompson and West’s “History of Nevada County” published in 1880, the statement is made, “in 1869 the Truckee Tribune, a weekly newspaper, was issued by Mr. Ferguson, who continued the publication until his departure in 1870. “Seeming to back this up but only compounding the error is W. F. Edwards’ “Tourist Guide to the Truckee Basin,” with directory, published in 1883. This book, published at the Republican print shop by the editor of the paper, stated, “In 1869 the first newspaper in Truckee was started by N. W. Ferguson and called the Tribune. ”

Transient Nature Of Newspapers

Such was the transient nature of the newspapers and newspapermen in that era that the paper’s publisher less than a dozen years later got two of his three “facts” wrong. The Truckee Tribune was not founded in 1869 – it was 1868 – and the first editor was E. B. Boust, not Ferguson. J. W. Ferguson & Company were publishers during the short life of the Tribune. In the Dutch Flat Enquirer of Sept. 8, 1868, was this announcement: “We shall issue the Truckee Tribune on or about the 15th of the present month, and we shall send copies to all present exchanges of the Enquirer, and shall be pleased to meet the familiar faces of all our friends, Address: Tribune, Truckee, Calif. “No copies of this paper exist, but copious clippings from it were picked up and printed in the contemporary metropolitan press of San Francisco, the earliest describing mining prospects at Meadow Lake under a dateline of Sept. 19, 1868. By 1870, Truckee, Meadow Lake and the Tribune were in a slump. On March 21, the San Francisco Bulletin noted, “The Truckee Tribune has been sold and the purchasers will publish the paper at some other point in Nevada. “The Bulletin reported an organized band of horse thieves making ranches along the Truckee River a principal scene for their rascality and the fact that a large hotel at Meadow Lake – costing $16,000 to build a few years previous – had sold at auction for $7. A qualified judge of prospects in Meadow Lake was quoted as saying it was a bad deal at seven cents. On April 1, 1870, was the last word on the Tribune. The plant and material had been moved to Fresno where the owners would publish a paper to “protect litigants. “Actually, the Sun was appended to the Truckee Republican title in the mid-1930s by the publisher, Stanley Bavier. First, Bavier was aware of the

The Truckee Tribune was not founded in 1869 – it was 1868 – and the first editor was E. B. Boust, not Ferguson. J. W. Ferguson & Company were publishers during the short life of the Tribune. In the Dutch Flat Enquirer of Sept. 8, 1868, was this announcement: “We shall issue the Truckee Tribune on or about the 15th of the present month, and we shall send copies to all present exchanges of the Enquirer, and shall be pleased to meet the familiar faces of all our friends, Address: Tribune, Truckee, Calif. “No copies of this paper exist, but copious clippings from it were picked up and printed in the contemporary metropolitan press of San Francisco, the earliest describing mining prospects at Meadow Lake under a dateline of Sept. 19, 1868. By 1870, Truckee, Meadow Lake and the Tribune were in a slump. On March 21, the San Francisco Bulletin noted, “The Truckee Tribune has been sold and the purchasers will publish the paper at some other point in Nevada. “The Bulletin reported an organized band of horse thieves making ranches along the Truckee River a principal scene for their rascality and the fact that a large hotel at Meadow Lake – costing $16,000 to build a few years previous – had sold at auction for $7. A qualified judge of prospects in Meadow Lake was quoted as saying it was a bad deal at seven cents. On April 1, 1870, was the last word on the Tribune. The plant and material had been moved to Fresno where the owners would publish a paper to “protect litigants. “Actually, the Sun was appended to the Truckee Republican title in the mid-1930s by the publisher, Stanley Bavier. First, Bavier was aware of the

In the Dutch Flat Enquirer of Sept. 8, 1868, was this announcement: “We shall issue the Truckee Tribune on or about the 15th of the present month, and we shall send copies to all present exchanges of the Enquirer, and shall be pleased to meet the familiar faces of all our friends, Address: Tribune, Truckee, Calif. ” No copies of this paper exist, but copious clippings from it were picked up and printed in the contemporary metropolitan press of San Francisco, the earliest describing mining prospects at Meadow Lake under a dateline of Sept. 19, 1868. By 1870, Truckee, Meadow Lake and the Tribune were in a slump. On March 21, the San Francisco Bulletin noted, “The Truckee Tribune has been sold and the purchasers will publish the paper at some other point in Nevada. “The Bulletin reported an organized band of horse thieves making ranches along the Truckee River a principal scene for their rascality and the fact that a large hotel at Meadow Lake – costing $16,000 to build a few years previous – had sold at auction for $7. A qualified judge of prospects in Meadow Lake was quoted as saying it was a bad deal at seven cents. On April 1, 1870, was the last word on the Tribune. The plant and material had been moved to Fresno where the owners would publish a paper to “protect litigants. “Actually, the Sun was appended to the Truckee Republican title in the mid-1930s by the publisher, Stanley Bavier. First, Bavier was aware of the

No copies of this paper exist, but copious clippings from it were picked up and printed in the contemporary metropolitan press of San Francisco, the earliest describing mining prospects at Meadow Lake under a dateline of Sept. 19, 1868. By 1870, Truckee, Meadow Lake and the Tribune were in a slump. On March 21, the San Francisco Bulletin noted, “The Truckee Tribune has been sold and the purchasers will publish the paper at some other point in Nevada. “The Bulletin reported an organized band of horse thieves making ranches along the Truckee River a principal scene for their rascality and the fact that a large hotel at Meadow Lake – costing $16,000 to build a few years previous – had sold at auction for $7. A qualified judge of prospects in Meadow Lake was quoted as saying it was a bad deal at seven cents. On April 1, 1870, was the last word on the Tribune. The plant and material had been moved to Fresno where the owners would publish a paper to “protect litigants. “Actually, the Sun was appended to the Truckee Republican title in the mid-1930s by the publisher, Stanley Bavier. First, Bavier was aware of the

By 1870, Truckee, Meadow Lake and the Tribune were in a slump. On March 21, the San Francisco Bulletin noted, “The Truckee Tribune has been sold and the purchasers will publish the paper at some other point in Nevada”The Bulletin reported an organized band of horse thieves making ranches along the Truckee River a principal scene for their rascality and the fact that a large hotel at Meadow Lake – costing $16,000 to build a few years previous – had sold at auction for $7. A qualified judge of prospects in Meadow Lake was quoted as saying it was a bad deal at seven cents. On April 1, 1870, was the last word on the Tribune. The plant and material had been moved to Fresno where the owners would publish a paper to “protect litigants. “Actually, the Sun was appended to the Truckee Republican title in the mid-1930s by the publisher, Stanley Bavier. First, Bavier was aware of the

The Bulletin reported an organized band of horse thieves making ranches along the Truckee River a principal scene for their rascality and the fact that a large hotel at Meadow Lake – costing $16,000 to build a few years previous – had sold at auction for $7. A qualified judge of prospects in Meadow Lake was quoted as saying it was a bad deal at seven cents. On April 1, 1870, was the last word on the Tribune. The plant and material had been moved to Fresno where the owners would publish a paper to “protect litigants. ”

Actually, the Sun was appended to the Truckee Republican title in the mid-1930s by the publisher, Stanley Bavier. First, Bavier was aware of the historic precedent of the name; secondly, he wanted a title more appropriate for a paper covering news not only of Truckee but the Donner Summit, Lake Tahoe and eastern California region in general; thirdly, he was an ardent Democrat, a friend of Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York. The Sun name had its origins in this district and township fully two years earlier than the Truckee Tribune. The Morning Sun was a daily paper published 14 miles northwest of Donner Summit in the boom mining city of Meadow Lake. The Sacramento Bee on June 9, 1866, clarioned the founding of the Sun under the ownership of E. B. Boust and W. Lyon. Meadow Lake was incorporated in 1866, having previously been known as Summit City. After several months of declining fortunes in the many mines of the district and a couple of really tough winters under 20 feet of snow, the following terse announcement appeared in the daily Alta in San Francisco on Jan. 27, 1868:”The press and

The Sun name had its origins in this district and township fully two years earlier than the Truckee Tribune. The Morning Sun was a daily paper published 14 miles northwest of Donner Summit in the boom mining city of Meadow Lake. The Sacramento Bee on June 9, 1866, clarioned the founding of the Sun under the ownership of E. B. Boust and W. Lyon. Meadow Lake was incorporated in 1866, having previously been known as Summit City. After several months of declining fortunes in the many mines of the district and a couple of really tough winters under 20 feet of snow, the following terse announcement appeared in the daily Alta in San Francisco on Jan. 27, 1868: “The press and materiallately used for printing the Meadow Lake Sun has been removed to Cisco and stored. ” In Edwin F. Bean’s “History and Directory of Nevada County for 1867,” the Meadow Lake Sun had a full page ad, proclaiming its office on the north side of Second Street. Weekly at this point, the Sun published Saturday at the rate of $6 per year. In addition to the newspaper and general job printing, the ad announced: ” Briefs and transcripts executed neatly, promptly and handsomely, in accordance with the new rules of the Supreme Court. “At that time, there was no Truckee. Coburn’s Station sat near where Truckee now is, but J. D. Pollard’s Lake House at the head of Donner Lake was more the center of things around this specific area. On Nov. 9, 1871, D. B. Frink and E. W. Hayden issued the first number of the Grass Valley Republican in the west end of the county.

In Edwin F. Bean’s “History and Directory of Nevada County for 1867,” the Meadow Lake Sun had a full page ad, proclaiming its office on the north side of Second Street. Weekly at this point, the Sun published Saturday at the rate of $6 per year. In addition to the newspaper and general job printing, the ad announced: “Briefs and transcripts executed neatly, promptly and handsomely, in accordance with the new rules of the Supreme Court. ” At that time, there was no Truckee. Coburn’s Station sat near where Truckee now is, but J. D. Pollard’s Lake House at the head of Donner Lake was more the center of things around this specific area. On Nov. 9, 1871, D. B. Frink and E. W. Hayden issued the first number of the Grass Valley Republican in the west end of the county.

At that time, there was no Truckee. Coburn’s Station sat near where Truckee now is, but J. D. Pollard’s Lake House at the head of Donner Lake was more the center of things around this specific area. On Nov. 9, 1871, D. B. Frink and E. W. Hayden issued the first number of the Grass Valley Republican in the west end of the county. His was a four-page, five-column daily, every morning except Sunday. On April 7, 1872, the last issue of the Grass Valley Republican appeared. The paper was removed to Truckee “to a better field” and became the Truckee Republican. An announcement by the publishers on April 10, 1872, announced the shift and said the Truckee Republican would henceforth be enlarged to a 24 column paper issued tri-weekly. Among fires, violent deaths and “revolving door”

On Nov. 9, 1871, D. B. Frink and E. W. Hayden issued the first number of the Grass Valley Republican in the west end of the county. His was a four-page, five-column daily, every morning except Sunday. On April 7, 1872, the last issue of the Grass Valley Republican appeared. The paper was removed to Truckee “to a better field” and became the Truckee Republican. An announcement by the publishers on April 10, 1872, announced the shift and said the Truckee Republican would henceforth be enlarged to a 24 column paper issued tri-weekly. Among fires, violent deaths and “revolving door”

An announcement by the publishers on April 10, 1872, announced the shift and said the Truckee Republican would henceforth be enlarged to a 24 column paper issued tri-weekly. Among fires, violent deaths and “revolving door” ownerships in the early years, the Republican survived as the direct successor to the Dutch Flat Enquirer, Truckee Tribune, Meadow Lake Sun and Grass Valley Republican, the oldest component of the Sierra Sun. The available evidence indicates the Sun started either earlier or later, but most certainly not 1869. The confusion is understandable. The first couple of years of the Republican were fairly stable. Hayden sold his interest to Frink on Oct. 8, 1874. Frink did not long enjoy his exclusive ownership. He was martyred

The available evidence indicates the Sun started either earlier or later, but most certainly not 1869. The confusion is understandable. The first couple of years of the Republican were fairly stable. Hayden sold his interest to Frink on Oct. 8, 1874. Frink did not long enjoy his exclusive ownership. He was martyred to the cause of “law and order” on Nov. 23 when he was out with other members of the “601,” the local vigilance committee and was accidentally shot to death. The paper resumed publication a few days after Frink’s killing. Hayden resumed his ownership long enough to all the administrator to sell Frink’s estate. In December 1874, the Nevada City Transcript gave the following notice:”B. T. K. Preston, the new proprietor of the Truckee Republican, left yesterday to assume control of that paper. That’s a good town to publish a newspaper in. They believe in giving all their work to the local paper and that’s one reason the town is so prosperous. “The McGlashan YearsPreston soon associated with W. P. Edwards, and the latter by December 1875 was still on the masthead, along with C. F. McGlashan and T. S. Ford. By January 1877, John Keiser joined Edwards and the other two were out – one temporarily, the other, apparently, permanently. In April that year George Ford bought the Republican and in, August 1878, he sold to McGlashan and D. J. Crowley. In November 1879 McGlashan bought out his partner and in May the next year sold to “Hon. ” B. J. Watson of Nevada City. “Edwards’ Guide” also lists J. T. Weisenburger as an editor and publisher during the first dozen years of the Republican. The original Tahoe Tattler, published in the summer of 1881, mentioned that a man named A. Porter had taken over the Republican and “judging from its clean looking pages and extra large amount of reading matter run in its enlarged columns, we should say he understands his business. “The tiny Tattler that summer also pinpointed another source of frustrating confusion in unraveling the early history of newspapers in the area. First, Aug. 4, 1881: “The estimated loss in the recent Truckee fire is $350,000. Truckee is indeed fortunate. “Then, on Aug. 12, “The Truckee Republican comes again for the first time since the the fire; its singeing having reduced it to near the size of the Tattler. May it soon grow to its original goodly proportions. “Obviously, the Republican in its earliest years was in shaky shape. To boost circulation, McGlashan announced in 1878 he would serialize a history of the Donner Party. What began as a circulation booster evolved through legal contention and challenges, from persons concerned with suppressing portions of the history, into a scholarly,

They believe in giving all their work to the local paper and that’s one reason the town is so prosperous. “The McGlashan Years Preston soon associated with W. P. Edwards, and the latter by December 1875 was still on the masthead, along with C. F. McGlashan and T. S. Ford. By January 1877, John Keiser joined Edwards and the other two were out – one temporarily, the other, apparently, permanently. In April that year George Ford bought the Republican and in, August 1878, he sold to McGlashan and D. J. Crowley. In November 1879 McGlashan bought out his partner and in May the next year sold to “Hon. ” B. J. Watson of Nevada City. “Edwards’ Guide” also lists J. T. Weisenburger as an editor and publisher during the first dozen years of the Republican. The original Tahoe Tattler, published in the summer of 1881, mentioned that a man named A. Porter had taken over the Republican and “judging from its clean looking pages and extra large amount of reading matter run in its enlarged columns, we should say he understands his business. “The tiny Tattler that summer also pinpointed another source of frustrating confusion in unraveling the early history of newspapers in the area. First, Aug. 4, 1881: “The estimated loss in the recent Truckee fire is $350,000. Truckee is indeed fortunate. “Then, on Aug. 12, “The Truckee Republican comes again for the first time since the the fire; its singeing having reduced it to near the size of the Tattler. May it soon grow to its original goodly proportions. “Obviously, the Republican in its earliest years was in shaky shape. To boost circulation, McGlashan announced in 1878 he would serialize a history of the Donner Party. What began as a circulation booster evolved through legal contention and challenges, from persons concerned with suppressing portions of the history, into a scholarly,

The paper resumed publication a few days after Frink’s killing. Hayden resumed his ownership long enough to all the administrator to sell Frink’s estate. In December 1874, the Nevada City Transcript gave the following notice:”B. T. K. Preston, the new proprietor of the Truckee Republican, left yesterday to assume control of that paper. That’s a good town to publish a newspaper in. They believe in giving all their work to the local paper and that’s one reason the town is so prosperous. “The McGlashan YearsPreston soon associated with W. P. Edwards, and the latter by December 1875 was still on the masthead, along with C. F. McGlashan and T. S. Ford. By January 1877, John Keiser joined Edwards and the other two were out – one temporarily, the other, apparently, permanently. In April that year George Ford bought the Republican and in, August 1878, he sold to McGlashan and D. J. Crowley. In November 1879 McGlashan bought out his partner and in May the next year sold to “Hon. ” B. J. Watson of Nevada City. “Edwards’ Guide” also lists J. T. Weisenburger as an editor and publisher during the first dozen years of the Republican. The original Tahoe Tattler, published in the summer of 1881, mentioned that a man named A. Porter had taken over the Republican and “judging from its clean looking pages and extra large amount of reading matter run in its enlarged columns, we should say he understands his business. “The tiny Tattler that summer also pinpointed another source of frustrating confusion in unraveling the early history of newspapers in the area. First, Aug. 4, 1881: “The estimated loss in the recent Truckee fire is $350,000. Truckee is indeed fortunate. “Then, on Aug. 12, “The Truckee Republican comes again for the first time since the the fire; its singeing having reduced it to near the size of the Tattler. May it soon grow to its original goodly proportions. “Obviously, the Republican in its earliest years was in shaky shape. To boost circulation, McGlashan announced in 1878 he would serialize a history of the Donner Party. What began as a circulation booster evolved through legal contention and challenges, from persons concerned with suppressing portions of the history, into a scholarly, historic source book on the pioneer tragedy in the winter of 1846-47 at Donner Lake – the lake first known as Truckee Lake, then Starvation Lake. The book “History of the Donner Party” resulted because McGlashan wanted to tell what really happened to the group of people in their fateful attempt to reach California. McGlashan did more than publish newspapers and write books. In the early 1880s he was a member of the California Assembly. He later returned to Truckee to devote his life to editing the Truckee Republican. Modern TimesBriefly, at least four publishers of the Republican have served in the state Legislature. At least two have been shot to death during their incumbency. In the century plus of its existence (or existences), Walter Barrett’s more than three decades at the helm, represents the longest period of consistent ownership. This followed the briefer similar ownership of the Stanley Bavier family in the 1930s. Bavier, who added the name Sierra Sun to the Truckee Republican, died as the result of a tragic automobile accident while working as editor and publisher. Mrs. Bavier carried on until she was appointed postmaster of Truckee, selling the newspaper to the Barretts in August 1936. During the 30-plus years the Barretts published the Sierra Sun and Truckee Republican, the area showed a consistent development. New schools, a hospital, airport, miles of new streets and highways, the construction of the freeway, the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, the new state park and museum, the Boca, Prosser, Stampede dams and recreation areas, were all built and promoted during those 30 years. The Barretts’ ownership ended on March 21, 1967, when the Sun was sold to Scripps League Newspapers. During the 1970s, the Sun was known as the Sierra Sun-Bonanza and published twice weekly. In the early 1980s, the Sun and its sister publication the Tahoe World of Tahoe City became the property of Mount Rose Publishing Co. , a corporation headed by Philip Swift, of Swift Newspapers Inc. in Reno, Nev. , and James McClatchy, chairman of the board of McClatchy Newspapers, a Sacramento-based firm that owns the Sacramento Bee and other newspapers. Several years ago, Swift Newspapers became the sole owner of Mount Rose Publishing Co. Swift Newspapers also publishes the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza of Incline Village, the Tahoe Daily Tribune of South Lake Tahoe, the Nevada Appeal of Carson City and the Record-Courier of Minden-Gardnerville.