Friday, December 7, 2012

Wallowa County Chieftain Building listed in National Register of Historic Places

News Release from: Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept.
Posted: December 7th, 2012 11:03 AM
Photo/sound file:

The Wallowa County Chieftain Building in downtown Enterprise is Oregon's latest entry in the National Register of Historic Places.

Throughout its history the Wallowa County Chieftain was a profoundly important and influential source of news and opinion in Enterprise and rural Wallowa County. In 1911, George Cheney purchased the paper and became the owner, editor, and publisher, and constructed the current Wallowa County Chieftain Building in 1915. A strong community booster, for the next twenty-six years Cheney reported and commented on many locally important events including the 1917 fuel shortage, 1918 smallpox epidemic, and the Great Depression. With WWII looming, Cheney sold the paper to Gwen Coffin. Under Coffin's leadership the paper often reported on controversial issues, offering the community a platform for debate and discussion. His thorough reporting and commentary on legalized gambling in Wallowa County attracted the attention of state regulators who ended the practice. Sharply criticized for publicizing the issue, Coffin remained unapologetic for this and his many other positions through his
tenure ending in 1972.

Oregon's State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation recommended the building's nomination in June 2012. Eight historic Enterprise properties are now listed in the National Register, which is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

More information about the National Register and recent Oregon listings is online at (click on "National Register" at left of page).

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