Our Publications & Web Sites On the Internet
The evolution of communication with its twists and turns: from paintings on the walls of caves in France to the Egyptian hieroglyphs etched in stone to the invention of the printing press; to telegraph/telephone to the motion picture to video broadcasts; this evolution has now brought us global computer networks.
Messages fly around the world in a blink of the eye. With this perspective in mind, we decided to contribute our specialty: the written word about the history of the American Old West (and a few pictures and our favorite: line art) to the mass medium of the internet. Our main mission: "Linking the past with the future!"
Continuing our pursuit of information. . .
July 1995 ~ we learned that HTML was a way to make a page for the web and that it means HyperTextMark-upLanguage and the codes looked as intimidating as the name sounded. That was the month we changed from modem-to-modem Bulletin Board Services (fondly remembered as BBSs) to an Internet Service Provider (ISP). After much stumbling around, and one short four-hour course from Sam Churchill, we learned enough to launch the Historical Gazette web site in September 1995. It was only a page, but that would change quickly. We had lots of content and by December 1995 we were quite developed. Soon everyone who searched the Internet for Oregon history found us, and only us. I felt like we'd opened a visitor's bureau for Oregon. I was thrilled with Oregon Historical Society came online.
In early 1996, the editor of the Wallowa County Chieftain, Rick Swart, had us construct his web site. We had already collaborated on doing a BBS for the Chieftain, so we had lots of archive work done already. The current web site doesn't look much like it did back then, but the framework was set and the file structure was one created by us. That work fueled our desire to help others to "link" up with the future, we wanted to continue constructing web sites for small, weekly newspapers. It seemed to us to be the natural transition for newspapers as they were already in the "information business." Swart invited our editor, Bridget Smith, to attend a Oregon Publishers Association conference in Astoria. At this conference, Smith was able to make connections that would continue our newspaper web site production.
Another newspaper that we are proud to have helped make that leap is the Rogue River Press in Southern, Ore. (August 1997) We worked with publisher/editor Dave Ehrhardt almost a year through the internet and on the phone before we finally met him "in person" ~ we felt we already knew him! He found us because of our work on the Chieftain's site. Dave and his newspaper staff, just as Rick Swart did, picked up the task of doing the web site and last I looked it was still on and going strong.
In July and August of 1996, we had the pleasure of constructing the web site for The Woman's Journal, using the NewsPaper's same design and content features as in their monthly publication which was full of great writing by award-winning columnists and beautiful original art, usually by women. Topics changed each month with news that affected the lives of women and the world. Unfortunately, we stopped doing the WJ web site in September 1999 and the paper has suspended publication as of May 2000. The site which was created and hosted in Portland, Oregon, has now disappeared from view. The hard copies accumulated during those two years have been turned over to the Oregon Historical Society's research library.
Working at the Woman's Journal allowed me to get to know Susan Butruille better. She and I had met at a Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) event celebrating Abigail Scott Duniway. Our friendship blossomed and I urged her to get on the internet band wagon. She already knew how to do word processing stuff so I figured it would be an easy reach. She did and we built her web site based on her Women's Voices series of books which are described on her web site as well as for sale on Amazon. www.sbvoices.com Have a visit there and enjoy her Women's History Dates. She created it as a page for each month. It works well. Try it. You can also find my reviews of her books. For the time moment, I'm keeping it on my web space until she can locate another home because the ISP, SpiritOne, stopped their business of providing internet service.
Another woman who had influence over my thinking and my work in those days, was Doris Colmes. I can't recall the exact way we first met, but I know that it wasn't long until I was a true fan of hers. She had written a "memoir" that was every bit an autobiography if ever there was one. Her story was so interesting as to capture the attention in a way that you thought you were reading a novel. Find out more about Doris and her book: The Iron Butterfly a trip through the twentieth century
Another web contact caused us to look back at the HG web site and see what was NOT happening: updates or a new face. The 'email meeting' again brought us more opportunity... The editor and owner of the famous Comstock chronicler, the Territorial Enterprise found us through our Dan DeQuille pages. Tom Muzzio and our editor, Bridget E. Smith, met at Huber's Cafe in downtown Portland in October 1998. We "clicked on" the topic of history and what the TE means in American Old West history. Of course, Mark Twain worked there in his younger days along with our star [ghost] reporter, Dan DeQuille. The story goes that Twain and DeQuille had hilarious times together and much of what was written many days in the TE was done either drunken or hung-over from the previous night's drinking.
Meanwhile, publications at the Historical Gazette had turned to other local history. We were happy writing up the history of wheat for the Wheat Marketing Center. It provided us with a rare glimpse at prosperity. Ten editions were planned. We completed eight of the ten and feel good about the ones we completed. Our research took us to Ft Vancouver Historic Site where I was allowed to go through the Hudson Bay Company's library collections. I wish I could have been able to continue that ritual of browsing through notes and journals written at the time of McLoughlin's factorship.
During the time we were working on the last of the wheat editions, we met several very prominent local people who were big in the wheat industry world. One man, Martin Thompson, was working on saving Thompson Mills located south of Portland in a river drainage that not that many people would be familar with had he not found a way for it to become part of Oregon State Parks and Recreation. Its main mission is to tell the history of the past, especially how water was important to the milling business in the early days of Oregon. Our eighth edition tells that story, Grist Mills on the Calapooia River. Our newspaper, particularly through the distribution by BMS, helped promote the mill's restoration and revival.
After having worked with Martin Thompson on the publication, we talked about web pages. Then, we naturally went down the path to the Internet. Using their historical photos and stories we created a web site for The Boston Mill Society and further helped to promote the history of wheat, finally bringing its history into the 21st Century. As time passes and things evolve, we find that other people have taken up the duty of telling the story of those who have come before us. Today, the Boston Mill Society is carrying on these stories for future generations. We're happy to have been contacted by the new webmaster and proudly make links to their site.
The intertwinedness of the web continues...
In April 1996, another site we created was the personal project of an editor of the Historical Gazette, Keith Whittle. In 1957, while a young boy, returning home from a family trip to California he witnessed the flash of an early morning atomic test in Nevada. Read his recollections and research at the web site Anno Atomi - Growing Up with the Atom. The starkness of the black and white design fits well with the material.
Another Atomic History web site Keith Whittle created is again due to his hard work and vision. A gentleman we met who was lecturing about his experience as an Atomic Veteran inspired Keith to do it again. This man's story was so compelling that before we knew it, we were working on yet another web site (launched October 1996) 45 years to the month after his experience in the Nevada desert. We hope you'll take a few minutes to visit The Atomic Duty of Pvt. Bill Bires and find out what it was like to be a service member doing duty in the very beginnings of the Cold War at the Nevada Test Site. It was named cool site of the day by Hot Wired in March 1997. Soon Keith began to get emails from other atomic veterans wanting to tell their story.
So, just when you think there's not another way to approach the topic of Atomic History, Keith Whittle takes on the task of creating ~ and then maintaining ~ a web site designed to record the living history of Atomic Veterans. He worked on this project for 10 years. It's main working title began as Portland Oregon Atomic Veterans and we held meetings in Portland, Oregon.
It wasn't long before we came to think of this web site as a child of the Historical Gazette, mostly because we were still using the Historical Gazette web site and email for the duty of logging in the veterans' stories about their experiences. Our daily posts were on a page we called a log, just like when we were in the military. We used the What's News format to keep it straight in our online archives.
In January 1998 we named it the Atomic Veterans History Project because it is, after all, history. Indeed, it is a very important part of America's 20th Century history. Its effects are those of the Cold War. These personal history stories awakened many readers to the knowledge that the atomic light that will haunt us (society) throughout the whole 21st Century and longer. It's easy to be inspired by the words of the atomic veterans who tell their personal history. A major heart attack and cardiac surgery at the local VA slowed our editor, Keith Whittle down. Soon, he closed the web site to see if there were other experiences he might want before checking out.
Atomic Veterans certainly deserve more honor and respect than they have received for being a veteran who gave their all, including their future health, for their country during the atomic "tests" of the Cold War. Along the way, atomic veterans formed the National Association of Atomic Veterans (NAAV). Their story is on the internet. Oregon's NAAV Commander Fred Schafer came to Portland when he heard we were holding meetings. He saw what we had on the internet for Whittle and Bires, so he solicited us to build his picture site on the Internet. In 1997, we placed a small web site on the Internet that gave his testimony and showed the blasts that made up the Pacific Operation Dominic, 1962. In January 2014, Fred Schafer began to serve as the NAAV National Commander of NAAV.
Talk was plentiful among the veterans we met as they traded email back and forth. Soon we had aboard several Navy vets who were associated with other associations. One local veteran, Cecil Herald, an Operation Crossroads veteran suggested we needed to do a web site for the Pearl Harbor Association's Portland Chapter. And, so it was. A much longer story comes from this tune, but we'll have to write that up another time we're here. Right now, I invite you to visit the Portland Oregon Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Association circa late 1990s. Here's the place: http://www.historicalgazette.net/pearlharbor/ Check back. Reload the Pearl Harbor's home page if need be, but I do know that there's ghosts in them there ships. We hope to add more there occasionally.
That's a slice of our history for now. We're not promising when, but we will return to add more in the future. So, read on! Do remember the "Refresh/Rewind" feature on your browser. Enjoy learning our history because some day you, too, like all humans, will be a thing of the past. Humans, no matter how hard we try, we just don't last.
Bridget E. Smith, editor & publisher
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Published in Portland, Oregon
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