A Look Back in Time: Chehalis Celebrates 50th Anniversary of The Chehalis Bee-Nugget Newspaper


A crowd of about 200 people, including Lewis County pioneers, gathered at a banquet at the St. Helens Hotel in Chehalis on the evening of July 15, 1932, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Chehalis Bee-Nugget newspaper.

The celebration was sponsored by the Chehalis branches of the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs and the Chehalis Chamber of Commerce. Chehalis Mayor John West presided over the event, which included singing and piano music.

Clarence Ellington, the editor of The Bee-Nugget, spoke about the history of the paper while J.T. Alexander and N.B. Coffman told stories from the pioneer days of Chehalis. Colonel W.W. Robertson, the editor of The Yakima Herald-Republican and an editor of The Bee-Nugget during its early days, gave “an excellent talk complimenting the Bee-Nugget and its owners.”

“Dan Bush gave a most interesting talk on the pioneer families of the county, during the course of which he introduced a number of the old-timers who were present at the banquet,” The Chronicle reported.

Champoeg, Oregon, resident Albert Tozie, who founded The Bee-Nugget, told stories about the early years of the paper. The Chronicle reported Tozie telling the audience one story related to a hog.

“He told of a time when the paper did not appear for two weeks due to the fact that a hog ate part of the ink roller,” The Chronicle reported.

After speaking, Tozie presented Ellington with a pair of tweezers he used while setting up the first issue of The Bee-Nugget.

Also present at the celebration were John Kelley of The Morning Oregonian (later renamed The Oregonian), F.M. Lockerby and Bert Brinton of the Tacoma News Tribune and Lloyd Sullivan of The Chronicle.


July 16, 1932

• C.E. Sharp, the pastor at Montesano’s Presbyterian Church, was injured in a car accident on the night of July 14. Sharp’s car skidded off the road and overturned, resulting in a “badly wrenched back.” A passing motorist drove the minister home. Sharp was returning to Montesano from an annual session of the Presbyterian Synod in Centralia when the accident occured.

• Thieves broke into the Copeland Lumber Company’s plant on the night of July 15, stealing $5 without leaving any clues. The thieves entered the plant by “prying a piece of metal from a rear door.”

• Two Centralia Republicans, James McCash and John Markham, entered the race for Lewis County commissioner on July 15. The two men joined a race that included incumbent Republican Commissioner Frank Martin, Republican C.A. Young and Democrat Theodore Hoss. In total, 14 candidates paid the fee to run for county office on July 15.

• Clarabelle McGuire, a girl of unspecified age, broke her collarbone on July 13. She received the injury after falling down the stairs of the barn her father, J.D. McGuire, owned in Tenino.

• A Centralia lineman’s hands were “severely burned” on the morning of July 16 after making contact with two wires. The injured lineman, E.L. Rogers, was taken to Centralia General Hospital and was later released to go home. The Centralia Fire Department initially responded to the accident, but their services were “not needed.”

• Arthur Cory, of Chehalis, became the first candidate to file for state Senate on July 15. Cory, a three-term state representative, listed unemployment aid as his primary focus, along with decreases in government expenses and higher taxes on “those of ample means and by owners of intangibles.”

• Six cattle were listed as missing in the July 16, 1932, edition of The Chronicle. The cattle were described as four black Jersey steers and two black heifers.


July 16, 1942

• Swimming at Centralia’s Plummer Lake Center was suspended on the order of Dr. Orville Kroger. Kroger, the Centralia health officer, was acting on the recommendation of John Olsen, the Lewis County sanitarian, who had tested the water and found unspecified pollutants. Wilfred Pratt, the Plummer Lake Center supervisor, said activities would not resume until approved by Kroger.

• Centralia’s Draft Board announced the names of 12 newly drafted Centralia men. The newly announced men followed the drafting of 24 other Centralians two days prior. The drafted individuals were Louis Townsend, Harry Arnold, George Jones, Jack Bruer, Eugene Arnold, Henry Miller, Ira Huff, Gerald McDonald, Thomas Hardy Burgess, Edwin Turner and Ivan Stout.

• Larry Hasuam, general chairman of the Lewis County USO Campaign, announced Centralia would not take part in the effort to raise $7,500 for the USO until Aug. 1. Centralia’s delay was due to a separate $50,000 bond drive that had started on July 15 and was scheduled to end on Aug. 1.

• The Centralia Townsend Club was set to hold its annual picnic at Fort Borst Park on July 19 with the public invited to join. Fred Drebis, the chair of the picnic, said attendees should bring their own lunches. The picnic would be opened with an address by Centralia Mayor Ray Sprague. Buses were scheduled to transport people to the park from downtown Centralia at 10 and 11 a.m.

• The Centralia bond drive had raised $11,297.33 as of July 16, out of its total goal of $50,000. The goal of the drive was to finance a navy amphibian tank to be called the “Centralia Tiger.” Centralians who wanted to participate in the drive, which included stamps as well as bonds, could purchase bonds and stamps at any of the city’s financial institutions, as well as many retail stores.

• An advertisement for a two-piece living room set was included in the July 16, 1942, edition of The Chronicle. The set included a couch and chair for $120. The ad described the furniture as including a “hardwood frame and full number of springs” with “a 100% mohair cover.”

• A six-room modern house in Centralia was listed for $2,700. According to The Chronicle, the house included 10 acres and a chicken house with a 500 chicken capacity.


July 16, 1952

• A body found in the burned down Pioneer Hotel in Fairbanks on July 14 was believed to be the remains of former Chehalis resident Edna Richardson. Richardson had graduated from Chehalis High School, later renamed W.F. West, in 1925. In total, four people had died in the fire with an additional five people missing. Another eight individuals were still being treated in hospitals.

• Ed Mayes filed for reelection as a state representative on the morning of July 16. Mayes, a Republican from Centralia, had previously announced he would not seek reelection due to issues with his car dealership, which he felt “would require his entire attention.” Mayes told The Chronicle, “Since then my business affairs have worked out so satisfactorily I feel I can devote what time will be necessary to serve another term in the legislature.” In the leadup to his filing, petitions had been circulating asking Mayes to reconsider his decision not to run.

• Chehalis School District officials announced regrading of the Chehalis High School grounds would begin the following week. The Shirley G. Stone Company had been granted the contract for the construction work. The project was scheduled to be completed before the first day of school on Sept. 2. The officials also announced a special election to be held to determine whether to transfer the $19,580 the school district had made from the sale of the old high school property from the building fund to a general fund to finance repairs to Cascade and R.E. Bennett Elementary Schools.

• Secret Service agent Carl Eliason expressed disapproval toward a publicity stunt in Chehalis on July 15. Eliason was head of the Seattle branch of the Secret Service, which in addition to its responsibility for protecting the President of the United States is also charged with investigating the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. According to Eliason, several banks in Southwest Washington had reported silver dollars with stickers attached on one side reading “Chehalis Dollar Days July 26, 27, 28 SAVE.” Eliason pointed to a federal law that permitted fines of up to $500 for attaching advertisements to U.S. coins and said his office was investigating the origins of the ads.

• The Chehalis branch of the American Legion announced the Chehalis planning commission had decided not to allow the old Chehalis High School to be used for a post office. Jack Kneeland, the commander of the local branch of the Legion, said they would look for another to hold a post office.

• Barbara Ray, 14, was taken to the St. Helens Hospital in Chehalis on July 15 for a potential back injury after falling out of a tree. The Chronicle reported Barbara Ray was the daughter of “Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Ray,” of Winlock.

• The British-American Oil Company, which has since been merged into ConocoPhillips, was speculated to be examining the potential for oil drilling in the Winlock area in the near future. “The international oil company has secured a total of 59 leases from farmers and residents, with the leases having been recorded at the Lewis County Auditor’s office,” The Chronicle reported. In total, the leases covered about 2,000 acres. While some thought the company would soon begin drilling, others thought the company had come to the area after drilling was done near Forest, south of Chehalis, and “had taken the leases just on the chance oil might be discovered.”


Monday July 16, 1962

• “A blue-eyed blonde from Bellevue shattered the hopes of a green-eyed blonde from Chehalis” on the night of July 14 as Miss Chehalis, Shary Dombroski, placed sixth in the Miss Washington Beauty Pageant in Vancouver. Susan English, of Bellevue, was named Miss Washington and was to compete in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

• State forest crews responded to a brush fire about 2 miles south of Winlock over the July 14 and 15 weekend. The fire crews were sent from the Chehalis headquarters of the state Department of Natural Resources. The Vader fire department responded to a separate fire on Saturday night caused by sparks from a passing train.

• A funeral scheduled for the night of July 17 was suspended by request of the Lewis County Coroner Dr. A.R. Twiss. According to Sheriff O.R. Amondson, Twiss wanted to conduct an investigation into the death of Evelyn Kerssen, 34, after she drowned in the Winlock community swimming pool. Amondson said the preliminary autopsy report had indicated no foul play but Kerssen had been accompanied by three Winlock men at the time of her drowning. Kerssen had “fell into the pool while trying to walk over the small dam and diving board,” The Chronicle reported. One of her companions, Carl Mohrman Jr., 32, was subsequently arrested on charges of public drunkenness.





• The dedication for the then new $1,400,000 White Pass highway bridge across Mayfield Lake was set to be held on July 18. The dedication ceremony was to begin at 11 a.m. on the west end of the bridge with Gov. Albert Rosellini scheduled to appear.

• A large cottonwood tree fell on a power line north of Centralia on the afternoon of Saturday, July 14, causing about 600 residents to lose power. The outage began around 2 p.m. and power wasn’t restored until 9:30 p.m.. The damage was estimated at $1,000 to $1,500 with several poles knocked down and 800 feet of line burned.

• Two Centralia residents, Robert Larson, 19, and William Goodwin, 18, were arrested by state patrolmen after being found to be in possession of alcohol 1 mile south of Centralia. Larsen, the passenger, was released on $50 bail while Goodwin, the owner of the car, was released on $100 bail for the additional charge of “throwing lighted material from a motor vehicle.” Both were scheduled to face trials with Judge Jack Cunningham of the Centralia Justice Court.

• John Keel, of Centralia, was reported as having displayed a copy of a 107-year-old newspaper at The Chronicle’s office on the morning of July 16. The newspaper was a July 4, 1855, edition of The Daily Missouri Republican from St. Louis, Missouri. Keel said he found the newspaper in an old hotel in Tacoma.