Every now and then a little gem that’s worth sharing with readers crosses my desk.
Here’s one I received last month from Ron Maskovich of Reno, Nevada, who sent me an email about a piece of furniture with a South Sound connection.
“My wife and I refurbish old furniture and recently came upon some chairs that in a way involved your newspaper,” he wrote.
They had gone to a local thrift store, where they bought two chairs for $3 apiece. The chair seats were made of “rush,” or woven fibers. Inside the rush seats, old newspaper had been stuffed for padding.
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“My wife, Liz, took the paper and gently steamed every piece of paper open and carefully ironed them smooth,” Maskovich wrote. “What we found was simply amazing. It was your newspaper from Dec. 10, 1942! Even more amazing was that we had the front page.
“We are both fascinated with history and had to use your front page for one of our pieces. We had a 1940s vintage round table and, out of honor for the piece and for your headlines of the day, we combined the two into one fine piece of vintage memorabilia.”
He included pictures of the newspaper’s “final resting place.”
Only after I asked did Maskovich say they’ve decided to sell the table. They might even be able to deliver it, he said, adding, “it would give us a chance to visit our favorite aunt in Spokane.”
He also would like to track down a bride-to-be featured in the newspaper, Dorothy Pope. Maskovich would like to send the Society page to her, if she’s still living.
According to the paper, she was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Pope of Tacoma and was marrying Toney Raymond of Shelton, a cadet in the Army Air Corps.
If you have any information, send it to my email address below, and I’ll share it with our friend in Reno.
VISUALS BRING MALL STORY TO LIFE
Sometimes I mistakenly think of journalism only as a words business. As evidenced by today’s front-page story, it is so much more.
Our Tacoma Mall anniversary package includes several interesting pieces gathered and written by Craig Sailor and C.R. Roberts.
But when I saw the pages coming together Friday — in print and online — it hit me what an impact the visuals can have on our storytelling.
Photos by Dean Koepfler and Peter Haley show us the man who helped create the mall and the faces of people who inhabit it today. A graphic by Jessica Randklev illustrates how the mall expanded over the years.
And even with all that, it was the extra effort by page designer Scott Stoddard that brought the story to life. I asked him to share how and why he did that:
“The mall’s unique architectural elements resonated with me both as a designer and a fan of historic preservation and the mid-century modern style, so I wanted to incorporate a bit of that in the pages.
“The angles of the flattened green hexagon I used throughout the package appear repeatedly throughout the mall — on the giant sliding doors of The Bon Marche, the vaulted ceilings, the “umbrella columns” and the original awning that was on the exterior of The Bon.
“I tried to bring one of the less visually interesting elements of the package — the list of original tenants — to life by adding a few of the store logos.
“I visited the Tacoma Public Library’s Northwest Room and requested bound editions of The News Tribune from October 1965, the month the mall opened, and found a treasure trove of ads from those stores that ran the day before the mall opened.
“I simply took photos of the logos with my smartphone and then used Photoshop to clean them up a bit.
“It was in the digital archives of the University of Washington’s library where I stumbled upon my favorite visual element in the entire package — the architectural drawing on A6 from John Graham and Co., the Seattle firm that designed the mall (and Seattle’s Space Needle).
“The colors and the style are so unmistakably mid-1960s that I thought it was the perfect image to kick off the visual chronology that runs through the inside pages of the package.
“This package was a rewarding chance to design a great piece of retrospective journalism. It also was an opportunity to learn more about the origins and design of the mall and share that new-found knowledge with readers, especially those beautiful mid-century lines.”