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The Leavenworth Echo
The first issue of the Leavenworth Echo was published on January 15, 1904, by Deed H. Mayar, two years before the town of Leavenworth, Washington, was incorporated and Mayar elected as its first mayor. Leavenworth had been growing since the 1890s when the Great Northern Railway built a line through nearby Stevens Pass and the Lamb-Davis Lumber Co. built a large timber operation in the area.
The railroad industry was particularly well covered in this small-town paper. Timber and mining were also important in this region and industrial accidents were frequently described. The activities of both businessmen and labor unions, as well as the social affairs of the town, which ranged from saloon brawls to theatrical events and an annual Chautauqua, were reported as well. The Echo also covered news from the nearby communities of Peshastin, Cashmere, Dryden, and Blewitt.
When Mayar retired in October 1919, the Cashmere Valley Record commented that Mayar was "quite a distinct character...He was firm in his convictions almost to the point of obstinacy, and his fearlessness made him a thorn in the side, at one time or another, of many of the people and interests in this territory." The fiery side of Deed Mayar was clearly expressed in his editorials during World War I in which he questioned the loyalty of Leavenworth citizens who did not buy Liberty Bonds and diligently promoted the thrift campaign. In April 1918 he wrote: “[The United States] entered this war to help stamp out the German will to impose her laws and customs on other peoples, and ultimately on our own people. The German spirit must be stamped out as one stamps out a fire that threatens his home.” (Ironically, in the 1960s the citizens of Leavenworth transformed their town into a Bavarian-style village to attract tourists to the Alpine-like area. The transformation was successful, and Leavenworth now hosts one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in the country.)
Mayar sold the Echo to the Echo Publishing Company run by H.S. Rearick, W.G. Schannach, and O.A. Lee. The three men had owned the Griggs County Sentinel Courier in North Dakota before relocating to Leavenworth. Under their ownership the Echo took on a less partisan tone. Unfortunately, the Great Northern Railroad chose to move its local headquarters to Wenatchee in 1922, ushering in a period of economic decline in Leavenworth that lasted until the 1960s. The Echo has continued to be published through all of the ups and downs in Leavenworth’s history.
Provided by: Washington State Library; Olympia, WA