Cashmere group undertakes project to preserve the past

By Dick Brender
The Friends of Old Mission

Newspapers have always been a valuable tool for linking our past to our present. Whether someone lives as close by as Waterville or East Wenatchee, or far across the country, access to daily or weekly newspapers is an important part of rediscovering our heritage. We look to past newspaper issues for long-lost facts about family history, information to complete school projects or even to prepare copies of “clippings” to display for an upcoming high school reunion.

Did you realize that Cashmere’s history has been captured in the Cashmere Valley Record since it began publication in 1907 and that it has continued to record the history of our valley since then? What if this documentation of Cashmere’s history was destroyed, where would we turn to read about our past?

What a tragedy it would be if a fire, flood, theft or vandalism wiped out our link to the earliest days of our community. Yet copies of the Cashmere Valley Record, from 1907 to present, sit vulnerably in the Record office on Cottage Avenue. These bound volumes of newspapers contain detailed accounts of life since the beginning of Cashmere. This is the only repository of all the “hard copy” back issues. (The Record is available on reels of microfilm at the Wenatchee Public Library.)

Other small towns have recognized threats to the preservation of their history and have embarked on the task of having their newspapers digitized so as to preserve their stories forever. Eatonville, Anacortes and Vancouver have recently completed the digitization of their newspapers.

The Friends of Old Mission, a nonprofit organization at the Historic Museum and Pioneer Village at Cashmere, are seeking to have the Cashmere Valley Record digitized so a permanent record will be available to the public — online, for free, and key-word searchable. The Washington State Library Office of Newspaper Digitization, following standards created by the National Archives, will lead this project but we need to raise the funds.

This is a costly undertaking. To digitize 100 years of the weekly newspapers, it will cost about $38,000. The good news is that we have already raised $19,000 — just by word of mouth. Won’t you join with other current and former Cashmere citizens to support the preservation of our history?

People are drawn to their past and even more so now in the age of social media. Everyone has fond memories of their hometown. Former Cashmere residents — regardless of where they currently live — will always remember their hometown. Our group strives to keep Cashmere’s past alive and help our weekly newspaper be accessible to all as a valuable link to our local heritage. This will be an asset to everyone in North Central Washington and beyond.

For more information on the digitization project, contact Mari Chakarian Beckley at (360) 888-5400, Dick Brender at 670-8244, Tom Hart at 782-3014, or Pam Wonn at 782-5554. Donations may be made payable to the “Friends of Old Mission” with “Digitization Project” written on the memo line and may be sent to the Cashmere Museum at P.O. Box 22, Cashmere, Wash. 98815. All donations are tax-deductible.


Dick Brender is a member of The Friends of Old Mission. The Friends are a group of volunteers who are dedicated to helping and supporting the museum.