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Statesman Journal Newspaper

208 Church St NE
Salem, OR  97301

Phone: (503) 399-6611

Statesman Journal's web site:

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 causes.

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 Mainwaring.

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 century.

Compiled by Monica Mersinger.

Statesman Journal History, no author identified, no date given 1 page. Source: Statesman Journal Newspaper, Salem, Or.



Capitol Journal newspaper building, 1947

The new building of the Capital Journal newspaper located at 444 Chemeketa St. in Salem, Oregon, on February 17, 1946.
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Asahel Bush II
Asahel Bush II
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Governor Sprague
Governor Sprague
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Newsroom, 1970
The Statesman-Journal news staff busy at work on September 23, 1970. Standing on the far left is Isabel Rosebraugh, in the doorway at the back right is Jeryme English, and standing at the far right is Wendell Webb.
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