Special Reports

Cart and pony given to top paper carriers

When Beauford Cyril Hemminger became a paperboy for the Daily Reveille 100 years ago, he had six customers on his route. He picked up his papers at Yew and Kentucky streets, then traveled to the top of Yew Street Hill, back down to the foot of Alabama Hill and finally down to James Street to deliver his papers. His pay: $4 a month.

In 1912, boys with papers routes worked hard to become a top carrier for another paper, The Bellingham Herald, because it awarded prizes to its top three carriers. The young winner that year received a Shetland pony with a cart and harness. The second- and third-place winners received a pony, saddle and bridle apiece.

In the 1920s, Jack Carver began his paper route with The Herald. His father, William Coston Carver, was managing editor. It was the beginning of a lifelong career for the younger Carver, who spent 36 years as a Herald photographer, chronicling Bellingham and Whatcom County with more than 55,000 photos. Much of the communications field has changed over the decades, including the addition of radio and television, but one constant has been the public's insatiable curiosity about their world and the people who run it.

The first newspaper in the Bellingham Bay area was The Northern Light, which began in 1858 but survived only a few months. Several newspapers opened up shop from 1858 to 1903, the year of Bellingham's consolidation, but it was The Fairhaven Herald, begun in 1890 at 14th Street and Larrabee Avenue, that displayed staying power.

The first edition was published March 10, 1890, amid considerable difficulty. When the engine to run the printing press didn't arrive in time, Roland Gamwell, one of the paper's investors, borrowed a donkey engine from a local logging operation, hooked up a belt to the engine, then ran the belt through a window and connected it to the hand-fed press. The four-page paper was delivered on time.

Just before consolidation, Sidney Albert Perkins, who already owned newspapers in Tacoma, Everett, Olympia and Aberdeen, bought the Fairhaven Herald. When the towns of Fairhaven and Whatcom agreed to consolidate under the new name of Bellingham, the Fairhaven newspaper renamed itself The Bellingham Herald.

In 1905, Perkins hired a new reporter, W. C. Carver. He went on to become managing editor for 46 years, his name becoming synonymous with the Herald.

The Herald moved to its current location on State Street in 1926. Perkins and his heirs owned the paper until 1967, when they sold it to Federated Publications. Four years later, Federated merged with Gannett, the Herald's current owner.