The Cottage Grove Bohemia nugget
Cottage Grove, Lane County, Ore.
As Anglo settlers moved through the southern Willamette Valley of central Oregon, the small settlement of Cottage Grove was established and incorporated in 1887. By the 1890s, over 3,000 people lived in the city due to the discovery of gold in nearby creeks which led to the Bohemia mining boom (Center for Columbia River History).
In 1897, Horace Mann started the Cottage Grove Messenger [LCCN: unknown], a weekly newspaper published on Fridays. However, in 1899, C.J. Howard bought the paper and changed its name to the Cottage Grove Bohemia Nugget [LCCN: sn96088074], publishing the first issue on January 20, 1899. The Nugget started as a politically Independent paper, but shifted to Republican views by 1900 under ownership of Bohemia mining promoter Frank J. Hard, manager of Cottage Grove’s first newspaper, The Leader [LCCN: sn96088077].
Direction of the Nugget changed frequently over the eight years of its existence. T.H. Supple of Portland contributed for a short time in 1901, and Lee Henry joined Howard in 1902, taking over the paper for a short time before Howard regained full control the same year. In 1903, Reverend Barton C.V. Brown became associated with the paper as well. As of November 27, 1903, A. P. Bettersworth was listed as the sole owner, although true ownership at the time belonged to C.J. Hurd, and Colonel Warner A. Root quickly replaced Bettersworth. J. McKean Fisher was editor in 1906, and in 1907, Walter C. Conner and Joe DuBruille, publishers of the Cottage Grove Leader [LCCN: sn96088075], bought the Nugget, consolidating the two papers under the Leader title. In 1918, the Leader was bought out by its rival paper, the Cottage Grove Sentinel [LCCN: sn96088073].
According to Cottage Grove newspaper pioneer Elbert Bede, the community’s early papers, like the Nugget, “were strong for colonels and preachers” (Turnbull 1939, 270). The Nugget was specifically directed toward miners at first, featuring advertisements for mining supplies and mining news on the front page. The paper claimed to be “Devoted to the Mining, Lumber, and Farming Interests of this Community, to Good Government, and Hustling for a Living,” a motto that changed to “…Hustling for a Grub Stake” in 1900, and then shortened to simply, “Devoted to the Mining, Lumber, and Farming Interests of this Community” by 1905.
The Nugget also featured short stories, local and social updates, statewide, national, and international news of governmental actions and wars, and included similar columns to other papers of the time with jokes, daily sermons, and agricultural segments. Towards the end of its run, mining issues became less apparent in the Nugget, but even today the people of Cottage Grove continue to celebrate the history of their town with the Bohemia Mining Days Festival.
Prepared with reference to:
Center for Columbia River History: A Regional Partnership. “Cottage Grove: Then and Now.” Center for Columbia River History: Promoting the Study of Columbia River Basin History. Accessed July 22, 2011. http://www.ccrh.org/comm/cottage/city.php
Turnbull, George S. History of Oregon Newspapers. Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 1939.
- Written by Sheila Rabun