The Aberdeen Building on Pioneer Avenue is the current home of the Agassiz-Harrison Observer. (Adam Louis/Observer)

The Aberdeen Building on Pioneer Avenue is the current home of the Agassiz-Harrison Observer. (Adam Louis/Observer)

COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER WEEK: A brief history of news coverage in Agassiz-Harrison

Earliest local papers date back to 1923

Journalists have been providing local news especially for Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Harrison Mills and the District of Kent as well as neighbouring First Nations communities for 99 years.

The Agassiz Record, the first Agassiz-Harrison-focused newspaper on record, was originally published in the autumn of 1923; the Agassiz-Harrison Museum’s archives has physical copies of the first year of the Agassiz Record dating back to Issue 10, Volume 1, originally published on Oct. 17, 1923. The Valley Publishing Company in Hammond printed The Record, and subscriptions cost $1.50 per year.

One of the earliest front pages is dominated with local happenings, including guests who visited the Hotel Agassiz (with 50-cent meals and 50-cent beds), a recap from the parent-teachers association meeting and personal comings and goings of some of the townsite’s earliest inhabitants.

The final edition in the local archives is dated Aug.20, 1924; it was ultimately succeeded by the Agassiz Advance. The local museum archives date back to 1930. Among the top headlines of the museum’s earliest copies is a tribute to the late Mary “Minnie” Agassiz, Lewis Arthur Agassiz’s daughter. She was remembered for her generosity and her volunteer work, especially as a Sunday school teacher and supporting children living with disabilities.

On March 28, 1990, The Agassiz-Harrison Observer published its first Wednesday issue, and the community was doubly covered by The Advance and The Observer for nine years until The Advance ceased publication in 1999.

The Observer’s first stories included coverage of a fire that destroyed a home next to the Kent Hotel and a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of an Agassiz-Harrison seniors social and child daycare centre, which would be the Agassiz Harrison Community Services Family Parenting Place and the Friendship House Seniors’ Activity Centre today.

Today, The Observer serves thousands of readers across Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs and beyond.


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