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The Athena press. [volume] : (Athena, Umatilla County, Or.) 18??-1942
Place of publication:
Athena, Umatilla County, Or.
Geographic coverage:
  • Athena, Umatilla, Oregon  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J.W. Smith
Dates of publication:
  • -v. 55, no. 37 (Sept. 11, 1942).
Weekly July 5, 1907-Sept. 11, 1942
  • English
  • Athena (Or.)--Newspapers.
  • Oregon--Athena.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01881047
  • Also issued on microfilm from University of Oregon.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format as part of the Historic Oregon Newspaper online collection.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 6, no. 29 (June 9, 1893).
sn 96088356
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The Athena Press

Centerville, Oregon, situated halfway between Pendleton, Oregon, and Walla Walla, Washington, was originally viewed by travelers as a pit stop between the two cities. However, by the late 1880s, Centerville started producing high-quality wheat because of its fertile farmland. Growth in the wheat industry transformed Centerville into a bustling town with its own post office and a new name: Athena.

On January 1, 1887, J. E. McQuary and D. A. Hendricks launched a local independent newspaper entitled the Athena Press. It was available every Friday for 50 cents per issue or $2 for a yearly subscription. Its first publisher and editor, F. B. Boyd, was the most notable figure in the newspaper's history; he left and came back to the Press over the course of its more than 40-year run. In 1891, the Athena Press switched hands, with Irving McQuary taking over as proprietor. The newspaper changed ownership again in 1893; F. B. Boyd became its new part-time owner, operating the paper along with J. W. Smith until his death in 1934.

During this time, there was only one competing newspaper: the Inland Republican. Beginning in 1890, the Inland Republican came out every Saturday and had a Republican focus on politics. The rivalry with the Athena Press was short-lived, however, since the Inland Republican was only in operation for about five years. Upon its dissolution, the Press became Athena's primary news source.

Originally, the Press was a four-page newspaper. In the early 1910s, it expanded to eight pages. Each edition featured a considerable number of advertisements; typically, the front page had the most, with the whole left side covered. The focus of these advertisements varied from machinery to domestic animals. Eventually, the Press incorporated a "Classifieds" section, which promoted the sale of real estate, food, clothing, and the like. Every edition contained several specialty sections, such as the "Press Paragraph," which discussed local happenings and people's whereabouts, and "Women in Fashion," which discussed current fashion trends. The Press also published poetry, scripture, and short stories from local authors and everyday citizens of the town.

In its early days, the Athena Press focused mainly on the topics of agriculture and Native Americans. As time went on, it started reporting also on state politics and local and regional news, such as sporting events and school activities. Up until its discontinuation in 1942, the Press's expanded focus encompassed international events, such as world wars; national and local election results; and topical issues, such as the automobile's impact on society.

Provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR