Idaho Statesman

The Idaho Statesman is one of the oldest newspapers still published in the Rocky Mountain and Northwest states today. The first edition of The Idaho (Tri-Weekly) Statesman labored off the press on a hot July afternoon in 1864. At that time Boise was a community with a population of 1,000, according to a report of Frank Kenyon of Lewiston, Census Marshall of the territory. James Reynolds became the founder of The Statesman in the summer of 1864. He was 35 years of age.

The first Idaho Tri-Weekly home was a hut on the North Side of Main Street, several doors west of Sixth Street. It was in this primitive setting of glassless windows, a door less entry, and no floor that the editor and two pressman started working on Vol. 1, No. 1, of The Idaho Statesman published July 26th, 1864. Judge Milton Kelly purchased The Idaho Statesman from James Reynolds on January 01, 1872. Judge Kelly has a 17 year tenure as publisher and the paper became a daily in 1888.For the next forty years Calvin Cobb was the third publisher of The Idaho Statesman daily paper. The Statesman operation was now in its third home at Sixth and Main. Calvin Cobb died in 1928, leaving the paper to his daughter.

Margaret Cobb Ailshie (03/27/1883-08/26/1959) , Calvin Cobb’s only child was the only publisher of The Idaho Statesman and one of few in the entire nation. During her era from 1928-1959 she guided the paper to great growth. She remained at the helm for thirty-one years. During this time, 1952, The Statesman moved to Sixth & Bannock. This location was considered one of the most outstanding plants in the nation. She closely watched the Harry Orchard case in the assassination of Gov. Frank Steunenberg. Her papers elucidate documentation regarding this historical case including the confession of Harry Orchard.

James L. Brown (05/01/1899-03/18/1976) succeeded Margaret Cobb Ailshie following her death in 1959. He originally was her general manager at the paper. He was at The Statesman from 1940-1963. He was the last individual owner of the paper. When he retired October 01, 1963, he sold the paper to Federated Publications, Inc., a chain of four Midwest papers headquartered in Battle Creek, Michigan.

On its 100th Anniversary (1864-1964) The Statesman became a member of the Federated family. The new acting publisher was John A Scott. Eugene C Dorsey was named the publisher of The Idaho Statesman in 1965 and later transferred to Michigan in 1971.

1971 brought the merger of Federated Publications and Gannett Co., Inc., a Rochester, New York based national communications firm. The merger was approved both Board’s in June 1971.

Robert J. Miller came to Boise as the assistant to the publisher in December of 1966 working under Eugene C. Dorsey. He was promoted to Olympia, Washington in 1969 and in 1971 he returned to Boise as the publisher of The Statesman. He served as publisher from 1971-1979.

On July 30, 1972 the paper moved to a new 65,000 sq. ft. facility on a freeway connector with quick access to both downtown and the growing suburbs. This is the location that most native Boise residents will recognize on Curtis Road.

From 1979-1981 saw the return of publisher Eugene C. Dorsey. Gary F. Sherlock was publisher from 1981-1985 and since 1985 there have been numerous other publishers…
The Idaho Statesman was Gannett owned from 1971-August 03, 2005 when Gannett agreed to sell the Statesman to Knight Ridder, along with the Bellingham Herald and The Olympian newspaper of Olympia, Washington.

McClatchy bought Knight Ridder in 2006.

On the early morning of March 21, 2004, Idaho Statesman’s pressroom caught on fire. The fire left two of the newspaper’s nine press units severely damaged and two units partially destroyed. Newspapers from other cities chipped in and helped deliver papers to Boise. The cities included Nampa, Homedale and Twin Falls in Idaho; Ontario, Oregon and even Reno, Nevada.

The Idaho Statesman is a U.S. daily newspaper serving the Boise, Idaho metropolitan area. The paper has a current circulation of about 61,000 daily and 83,038 on Sunday. The Statesman employs about 450 people