124 Years Young: A milestone for Tacoma’s legal newspaper

Today is a milestone moment in the Tacoma Daily Index‘s history — the newspaper is 124 years old.

The newspaper was first published on May 1, 1890, as a single-sheet under the name of the Daily Mortgage and Lien Record. The name then changed to the Daily Court and Commercial Index before finally settling permanently on the Tacoma Daily Index.

When the newspaper opened its doors in 1890, it did so inside the five-story, stone-and-brick California Building, located at 1110-1116 Pacific Avenue. The building was home to Merrick Brothers clothing and shoe store; St. John’s Pharmacy; I. J. Sharick jewelers; and Fidelity Rent & Collection Company. A photographer and “crayon artist” named Arthur French had a live/work space there, too. Sadly, the building was demolished in 1931 and replaced by a parking garage.

Over its lifetime, our small legal newspaper has been a major source of information for Tacoma and Pierce County residents, attorneys, and business leaders looking to keep up on matters related to legal notices, new business announcements, property sales, and news about city, county and state government. The Tacoma Daily Index has also earned its share of journalism awards over the years.

The newspaper passed through the hands of only a handful of owners. Victor J. Hedberg and his business partner, J. D. Ogden, bought the paper in 1931 when then-owner H. H. Johnson, who owned the paper for 17 years, passed away. Before that, R. B. Whitaker, the paper’s original publisher, owned the Index for 24 years. But no one owned the paper longer than Marshall B. Skidmore, who ran the publication for 37 years before selling it to Sound Publishing and retiring in 1997.

On this important anniversary, our staff looks forward to contributing to the Tacoma Daily Index‘s continued success.

To read more articles about the history of the Tacoma Daily Index, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index and recipient of an award for Outstanding Achievement in Media from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for his work covering historic preservation in Tacoma and Pierce County. He has earned four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengerssecond-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State; third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; and third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright. His work has appeared in All About Jazz, City Arts Tacoma, Earshot Jazz, Homeland Security Today, Jazz Steps, Journal of the San Juans, Lynnwood-Mountlake Terrace Enterprise, Prison Legal News, Rain Taxi, Real Change, Seattle Business Monthly, Seattle magazine, Tablet, Washington CEO, Washington Law & Politics, and Washington Free Press. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.