All The News On This Side Of The Lake

In the first part of the century, small newspapers came and went within the Kirkland community; The Kirkland Independent, The Kirkland Press, & the Kirkland-Redmond Sun, to name just a few. Most of these papers lasted only a few years, and unfortunately, very few copies of these papers are known to exist today.

The first issue of the East Side Journal arrived off the presses on July 25, 1918. The Seattle dailies had been providing Seattle news for years, but those papers gave very little mention to the East Side. This new local paper spoke to Kirkland businesses, residents and neighbors. Stories about local people and events peppered the front page:

From this small but auspicious start, we can already see the kind of town Kirkland was in 1918. Transportation issues are very apparent. A connection to and from the big city requires boats, cars and roads. Far beyond the big city, a war rages in which the son of a neighbor lies injured. At home, petty crimes are front-page news.

The rest of the edition, as with other early issues, is filled with local events, occasionally interspersed with national or worldwide stories from outside news-services. As the town grew over the years, stories off the wire became less and less, eventually being overtaken by local stories.

Much of the local news was of an over-the-fence variety. It wasn't uncommon to read about someone having a dinner party at the neighbors, or of someone going on vacation. A cow getting lost from a pasture or a Ford getting caught in the mud was almost a weekly experience worthy of being reported, every time it happened. Stories like these were printed in neighborhood columns, and were too numerous to include in the index. An intrepid researcher can still hunt down fascinating tales such as these through a complete reading of the archived newspapers.

For a small town like Kirkland, all of these stories were important. For the next six decades, the East Side Journal would publish articles with a wide range of subjects. From world wars to quilting bees, from local politics to little league baseball, from schoolchildren to community leaders, and in some cases from births to deaths - each of these stories has meaning. Each has import.

For Kirkland residents who were reading the articles as they were published, the Journal provided an overall guide to the community. As friends and neighbors experienced joys or hardships, readers were there to share or commiserate. As Kirkland grew, so did city government, and the newspaper made sure that the community kept up with the changes. Sometimes the Journal was a community booster, but whenever necessary it pointed out flaws in the system. All of this was news that people could use.

During publication, the Journal reported this news. Today, in retrospect, it provides us a glimpse of Main Street, USA, circa 20th Century.

From WWI to Black Tuesday


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1998 - Alan J Stein