208 Church St NE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 399-6611
Statesman Journal's web site: www.statesmanjournal.com
Many weekly newspapers were launched in pioneer times in
Salem and other Western towns. Only two Salem newspapers were
among those that survived to become modern dailies, the Oregon
Statesman and the Capital Journal, which later joined to become
the contemporary Statesman Journal Newspaper.
The Oregon Statesman, the state's second oldest newspaper,
began in March 28, 1851, in Oregon City in opposition to the
Whig newspaper, The Oregonian. It moved to Salem in June,
1853, when the Territorial capital was relocated to city.
Founder Asahel Bush II was active and influential in Democratic
Bush sold the Statesman in March, 1863, and went on to a
career in banking and other businesses. The Statesman had
a succession of owners and editors until Charles A. Sprague
came to Salem in 1929. Sprague became owner, editor, and publisher,
establishing a reputation as one of the Nation's great editors.
He served as Governor of Oregon from 1939 to 1943. One of
the West's most respected citizens, he died in 1969.
Will H. Parry started the Capital Journal on March 1, 1888,
with the twin purposes of promoting the Republican Party and
making money. But he sold the paper within a few months and,
for the next 30 years, the newspaper had a number of owners
and editors until George Putnam, a Medford editor, purchased
it. He converted the Capital Journal into one of the region's
most influential newspapers, made noteworthy by his editorial
crusades against the then-powerful Ku Klux Klan Oregon. He
served as editor and publisher for more than 30 years until
1953, when he sold to an Idaho newspaperman he admired, Bernard
In 1954, Sprague and Mainwaring concluded that the newspaper's
future required that they be operated as one business, with
one production facility - but with separate and competitive
news staffs. The Capital Journal moved two blocks down the
street to the new Oregon Statesman building. When Gov. Sprague
died,Wallace Sprague became publisher, with Robert Sprague as co-publisher
and Wendell Webb as editor.
In 1973, the Sprague and Mainwaring families agreed to merge
their company into Gannett Co., Inc., a merger completed in
1974. Six years later, the morning Oregon Statesman and the
afternoon Capital Journal merged into the Statesman Journal,
which has carried new generations of readers into the 21st
Compiled by Monica Mersinger.
Statesman Journal History, no author identified, no date
given 1 page. Source: Statesman Journal Newspaper, Salem,