127 years young

A box stored in the archives at Tacoma Public Library's Northwest Room contains issues of the Tacoma Daily Index that date back to 1916. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

A box stored in the archives at Tacoma Public Library’s Northwest Room contains issues of the Tacoma Daily Index that date back to 1916. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

 

Benjamin Harrison was president of the United States when the first issue of this newspaper appeared on this date 127 years ago. It was “The Gilded Age” in this country when the newspaper that is today known as the Tacoma Daily Index was born. It was only the year before, in 1889, that the territory of Washington was admitted to the union as a state.

As for the Tacoma of 1890, it was a rough-hewn city of 36,000 people. By 1892, Tacoma’s population had swelled to 50,000. It was a time of rapid growth and development for Tacoma, the city having a number of years earlier been designated the western terminus by Northern Pacific Railroad. Sailing ships came to the deep waters of Tacoma, docking at private facilities, as the Port wasn’t established by voters until 1918.

A century ago, the Tacoma Daily Index included display advertisements for downtown businesses, which no longer exist. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

A century ago, the Tacoma Daily Index included display advertisements for downtown businesses, which no longer exist. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

The first issue of this newspaper appeared on May 1, 1890 as a single sheet under the name of Daily Mortgage and Lien Record. That same year, the name was changed to the Daily Court and Commercial Index. Around 1915, the name was changed once more to the present Tacoma Daily Index.

One of the oldest newspapers in the state, the Index has had relatively few owners. R.B. Whitaker was the newspaper’s first publisher. He sold the publication to Herbert Johnson in 1914, with Johnson continuing as publisher until his death in 1931. That year, Victor Hedberg and J.D. Ogden purchased the newspaper.

Marshall Skidmore purchased Ogden’s interest in the newspaper in 1961, becoming the sole owner following Hedberg’s retirement in 1969. Sound Publishing, Inc. purchased the newspaper from Skidmore in 1997 and is the current owner. With over 45 newspapers and a combined print circulation of 661,072, Sound Publishing is the largest community media organization in Washington State.

Tacoma native Marshall B. Skidmore, with his son, Rob, in October of 1989, outside the Tacoma Daily Index's office on Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma. No one owned the paper longer than Marshall, who ran the publication for 37 years before selling it to Sound Publishing and retiring in 1997.  (PHOTO COURTESY SKIDMORE FAMILY)

Tacoma native Marshall B. Skidmore, with his son, Rob, in October of 1989, outside the Tacoma Daily Index’s office on Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma. No one owned the paper longer than Marshall, who ran the publication for 37 years before selling it to Sound Publishing and retiring in 1997. (PHOTO COURTESY SKIDMORE FAMILY)

Much has changed since the Index was conceived. Tacoma is now one of the Northwest’s leading cities, and is a lot less rural than it was back then, embracing technology as “America’s #1 Wired City.” Today the newspaper has a Website, e-mailed legal notices and computerized production – all things unimaginable in 1890.

Still, the mission of the Tacoma Daily Index remains essentially unchanged – to deliver timely information useful to those in the business and legal community.

The publisher and staff thank you for your support and look forward to continuing to serve you.

An Index article from January 10, 1917 Photo by Morf Morford

An Index article from January 10, 1917
Photo by Morf Morford

WHAT ELSE HAPPENED IN 1890?

- William II became Kaiser of Germany and dismissed Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, thus ending the career of the man who was responsible for the unification of Germany.

- The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France was completed.

- Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh committed suicide. During his lifetime he sold only one painting, becoming successful only upon death.

- The McKinley Tariff, the highest tariff in American history to date, was passed. It called for a tariff of over 49.5 percent on most goods.

- Idaho and Wyoming became the 43rd and 44th states, respectively, to join the United States.

- Convicted murderer William Kemmler became the first person to be executed in the electric chair, as he was put to death at Auburn State Prison in New York. The electric chair was introduced in New York City.

- Also in New York, the first moving-picture shows began to appear.

- Index Staff