Bandon, Coos County, Oregon
In 1851, french fur trappers discovered gold at Whiskey Run Beach on the coast of southern Oregon, sparking settlers’ interest in the coastal town now known as Bandon. With the arrival of Anglo settlers, farming, cheese-making, logging, and shipping at the mouth of the Coquille River quickly became key economic functions in the area. Named after settlers arrived from Bandon, Ireland, the City of Bandon was officially incorporated on February 18, 1891, and became a popular tourist attraction on the Oregon coast by 1910. By 1912, Bandon had become a prime shipping port between San Francisco and Portland.
Bandon’s first newspaper, the Bandon Recorder [LCCN: sn93051610], actually had roots in Denmark, Oregon, where P.O. Chilstrom and J.M. Upton (son of early Oregon newspaperman J.H. Upton), founded the Curry County Recorder [LCCN: unknown] in 1883. The paper was published weekly on Thursdays until the title was changed to the Southwest Oregon Recorder [LCCN:sn96088349] in 1884, published on Tuesdays. In 1885, publication switched to Saturdays.
It was not until 1887 that Chilstrom and Upton moved their publication to Bandon, and shortly after, the paper became known as the Bandon Recorder. In the late 1880s, David E. Stitt took over for Chilstrom until 1906, succeeded by publisher George P. Laird and editor S.W. Scottin. Editors of the Recorder in the early 1900s included Irving S. Bath in 1907, Graydon T. Treadgold in 1908, and C.E. Kopf from 1909 to 1916. From 1910 to 1915 the paper ran twice a week as the Semi-weekly Bandon Recorder [LCCN: sn96088347], then changed back to a weekly, again titled The Bandon Recorder [LCCN: sn96088348].
In addition to state, national, and international news stories, the Recorder included updates on local events such as live music performances and social dances, news of local businesses and real estate prospects, and information on church sermons and services, as well as columns on agricultural news and practices. Women’s issues were discussed in articles “By Women, For Women” and the “Woman’s World” column, and announcements for activities such as “lady bowling” and ladies’ club gatherings appeared frequently.
Poems, editorials, and short stories with illustrations appeared in the paper as well. On the front page of an 1890 issue, the Recorder featured a poem titled “The Rigs and Jigs of Bandon,” harkening back to the town’s Irish influences: “Oh! My name’s Pat McQuillan, I live close to Bandon, the rising young sea port on the brink of the sea; and as long as I’ve got just a leg to stand on, I’ll stick to fair Bandon, she’s darling for me.”
Facing competition from the up and coming Bandon Western World [LCCN: sn96088350], established in 1912, the Recorder went bankrupt in the spring of 1915, at which point Richard B. Swenson, of Riverside, California, took over management with the help of Harry Crain, who later worked for the Salem Capital Journal [LCCN: sn90066132]. However, the Western World prevailed and the Recorder was suspended in the summer of 1916, at which time Swenson left Bandon to purchase the Monmouth Herald [LCCN: sn96088093]. The Western World is still in publication today.
Prepared with reference to:
The City of Bandon, Oregon. “Bandon History.” Community History. Accessed July 27, 2011. http://www.ci.bandon.or.us/community-history.htm
Turnbull, George S. History of Oregon Newspapers. Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 1939.
– Written by Sheila Rabun