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Northwestern California Newspapers - The Ferndale Region

Map of the Ferndale region

A brief newspaper-focused history

Timeline of Ferndale newspapers


"The indomitable spirit and energy that characterized the citizens of Ferndale and Eel River Valley in their determination to be surpassed by no other portion of Humboldt County, led to the plans for a Ferndale newspaper in the fall of 1877. Even though the establishment of a newspaper in the small town of Ferndale received the support of the entire community, it was considered by many as extremely unwise and financially a 'wild cat' speculation, doomed to an early collapse...." but "By January 1883, the Ferndale Enterprise had the largest circulation of any paper in Northern California."

So Denis Edeline describes the Ferndale Enterprise which, apart from a one-month name change to American Occident in 1882 and a stint as the Semi-Weekly Ferndale Enterprise from 1896-1904, began in 1878 and continues to the present as the longest living newspaper under a single name in Humboldt County.

There was some competition, however sporadic. The Ferndale Courier existed in June 1888, the Valley Oracle appeared in 1892-93 and the Weekly Report also appeared in 1892. Then there was the Ferndale Independent from 1892 until perhaps 1899 as well as the Silver Dollar in 1896 and the Semi-Weekly Ferndale Exchange about 1898-99. Few issues of these papers exist, making it hard to track them, but the editors/publishers appeared to move frequently from paper to paper as well as from town to town during this time period.

A more recent account of the Ferndale Enterprise may be found in George Ringwald's interview with editor/publisher Caroline Titus in the July 29, 1999 issue of The North Coast Journal after she had been on the job for ten months.

As the main route to Capetown, Bear River and Petrolia was over the Wildcat Road out of Ferndale, and those children attended school in Ferndale, the Ferndale Enterprise has long provided news coverage of doings in those areas.

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The Northwest California Newspapers Website is managed by Special Collections located in the Cal Poly Humboldt Library.