Corvallis, Benton County, Or.
Corvallis, Benton County, Or.
The Corvallis Times was founded by Robert Johnson in 1888, who ran the paperfor five years, selling in 1893 to Benjamin (B.F.) Irvine. Irvine had begun his newspaper career at age 13 as the correspondent of an Albany (Oregon) weekly, before failing eyesight drove him to farming work. When the opportunity came for him to become editor and owner of the Corvallis Times, Irvine took the post in spite of his vision impairment. He would later remark that he did not regard his failing eyesight as a handicap, but that it somehow aided him to expand his energies and sensibilities.
Under Irvine’s ownership, the Times was merged with the Benton Leader [LCCN: sn96088336] in 1893 to serve as “The Official Paper of Benton County.” The eight-page, six-column spread was issued every Wednesday at a subscription cost of $2 per annum. The Times displayed a wide range of content in its early days, touching on news at the local, state, and international levels. The first page included briefs of current events, “important news of all kinds boiled down and arranged for busy people.” Subsequent pages included “Local Lore,” county news “From Our Country Cousins,” special interest stories, and advertisements for local services and business. Advertisements in early issues stated that 6,000 people could be reached through the columns of the Corvallis Times. By 1905, the paper was published on a semi-weekly basis every Friday and Tuesday evening, with issues ranging from four to eight pages.
Irvine left his helm at the Times in 1908 after joining the Portland Oregon Daily Journal [LCCN: sn85042444] as a staff writer. Later that year, N.R. Moore took over as editor and publisher of the Times, “an independent paper, politically and otherwise, with an ambition to see Corvallis a city of 15,000 and Benton’s population 30,000 in 1915.” With business conditions on the rise in Corvallis, Moore began nursing the idea of starting a daily edition. He was beat to the punch by Charles L. Springer and the Corvallis Weekly Gazette [LCCN: sn96088338] in May 1909, though talks of consolidation soon began between the two papers. The consolidation appealed to both Springer and Moore, since neither the Times nor the Gazette had a plant adequate for the publication of a daily paper.
The consolidation of the two papers was announced in the first issue of the Gazette-Times, published July 2, 1909. The proprietors aimed for the partnership to “give to the public the best possible newspaper service that conditions will warrant and to keep making improvements commensurate with the growth of the city and country.” The Gazette-Times ran for only two issues under that name, changing July 16, 1909 to the Weekly Gazette-Times [LCCN: sn96088341], which was published in conjunction with the Daily Gazette-Times [LCCN: 2004260241]. This paper lineage continues today as the Corvallis Gazette-Times [LCCN: sn83004714], in publication since 1921.
Prepared with reference to:
Koester, Frederick. “Benjamin Irvine, Blind Editor, 77.” New York Times, May 2, 1940.
Turnbull, George S. History of Oregon Newspapers. Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 1939.
-- Written by Maia Fiala