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1909-1922 Digitized by Washington State Library
Oroville began as a mining camp near the Canadian border in Okanogan County, Washington. Initially known as “Oro,” the town’s name was lengthened to “Oroville” by the local Post Office when it was established in 1893 in order to avoid confusion with the Snohomish County city of Oso.
Oroville’s first newspaper, the Madre d’Oro, was published out of a tent on August 27, 1892, by James M. “Jim” Hagerty (1864-1905), a new arrival from the Midwest. Hagerty enjoyed boosting Oroville at the expense of the neighboring town of Loomis, which was frequently the target of his jabs. Hagerty’s very brief career as a newspaperman came to a halt when, during a shopping visit to Loomis, the citizens decided to decorate the journalist with tar and feathers. The story goes that as a rail was produced to run him out of town a respected matron of the town stopped the proceedings with her commanding voice, bringing the ritual to a sudden halt. It would be over a dozen years before another newspaper would appear in Oroville.
The Oroville Weekly Gazette was founded by Frederick Jay Fine (1874-1928) in June 1905. A Washington State native, Fine had trained as an apprentice with the Spokane Spokesman-Review. Fine gained a business partner in March 1909 in the person of Frank Middlemore Dallam (1849-1928), a veteran newspaperman and political figure. Dallam’s long resumé included founding the Spokane Falls Review and serving as a member of the Washington Constitutional Convention in 1889. Dallam worked as editor for the Gazette while Fine filled the role of business manager.
Fine’s interest in the paper was bought out by Frank M. Dallam Jr. (1880-1966) in 1911. Frank Jr. had previously served as secretary to two governors. The father and son team used the newspaper as a vehicle to promote their Republican Party philosophy. In 1912, the Gazette was firmly in the Taft wing of the party. Meanwhile, Fine had moved to Olympia where he secured a job with the State Land Commissioner.
The tenor of the Gazette was somewhat stolid and politically conservative, not exactly reflecting the wild and raucous history of Oroville itself, although it was not without some rustic charm. This changed in September 1923 when the publication was purchased by Frank Spalding Emert (1895-1961), a World War I veteran with some experience in journalism. Political editorializing diminished and more column space was devoted to hard news. Emert also expanded the number of pages from four to six per week.
The title of the paper was eventually shortened to the Oroville Gazette. In 1974, the paper merged with the Tonasket Tribune and became the Gazette-Tribune (1974-1984), and then the North Okanogan County Gazette-Tribune (1984-1991). In 1991, it settled into its present name of Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune.
From N.W. Ayer & Son’s American Newspaper Annual, 1906
Editor: Fred J. Fine, Frank M. Dallam Jr.
Publisher: Fred J. Fine, Frank M. Dallam Jr.
Frequency: Weekly Fridays
Filmed by: University of Washington
Positives held by: Washington State Library, Call number: 9/71
University of Washington
Negatives held by: University of Washington, Library of Congress