Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Charles Edward Trombley and The Peninsula Gateway

Gateway press
Gateway office
C.E. Trombley

Charles Edward Trombley was born in Hemlock, Michigan. He was married in 1902 and in 1904 he and his wife moved to Jamaica, Iowa where it appears he started his newspaper career. He moved his family again in 1907 to Tillamook, Oregon, where he owned and operated a newspaper. 

In August 1923, Trombley moved with his wife and three children to Gig Harbor where he purchased the Bay Island News. The Deed of Sale of the newspaper was signed by F.S. Drummond, Gig Harbor Printing Company, by C.O. Austin, and J.B. Fuller. As you will see he made an excellent decision in buying this paper.

The Bay Island News was started in May 1917 as a weekly paper by Ira Case, Editor/Owner and Homer S. Mohr, Assistant Editor and was published in Burton, Washington

Their mission statement read: “The paper will be purely local, its policy will be to build up, never tear down. It will aim to cover the field without partiality. We will have no favorites insofar as locations may be concerned. Each community will be largely depended upon to build up its local columns; we want the news, all of it. With this and your individual cooperation our mission will be mutually successful.”  

We want 500 partners in this newspaper enterprise at once.  One dollar pays your subscription for a whole year.”

By March, 1922, the Bay Island News was including columns representing news from the communities of Burley, Midway, Glencove, Wauna, Purdy, Shore Acres, Warren, Fox Island, and Longbranch.

Trombley changed the name of the newspaper to The Peninsula Gateway and published it for 30 years until his death in October, 1953. 

During his lifetime, Trombley was a very influential person in the Gig Harbor community. He served in the Washington State Legislature in 1939 as a Democrat from the 26th District. He was active in Peninsula Federated Clubs, John Paul Jones Lodge #271 F. & A.M., Gig Harbor Lions Club,as one of the founding members, Peninsula Grange, and the Gig Harbor Toastmasters.

The Peninsula High School Quill and Scroll Society named their newly formed chapter after him, C.E. Trombley Chapter and named him an honorary member. The society is an international honorary chapter for high school journalists.

If you like Summer Sounds, you might be interested in knowing Trombley organized and conducted the Peninsula Band. He was a gifted cornetist. The band entertained at local affairs, and on Saturday evenings during the summer gave concerts on the little bandstand near the newspaper office. (The bandstand was located at the site of today's Anthony's parking lot on North Harborview Drive.)

In 1953 shortly before his death, he formed a peninsula area club named “I’m Glad I’m Well.”  He began by persuading a few friends to match his $10 donation for the local March of Dimes fight against the still raging polio epidemic.

The Trombleys had two daughters, Mary and Sarah, and one son, Charles. His daughter Sarah married Reid O. Hunt, of the local Hunt steamboating and ferry family. 

After his death Mrs. Trombley continued to publish the paper until January, 1955, when she sold the paper to Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Platt, Sr,. who moved from Port Orchard, Washington. Mrs. Trombley died in April, 1964. The Platts continued publication until 1969 when they sold it to their two sons, Robert H. Platt Jr. and John Platt.

Thomas C. Taylor and his father took controlling interest of the newspaper in May, 1981, with John Platt retaining minority shareholder and co-publisher until 1987 when he sold his share to the Taylors

The Taylors owned and published The Peninsula Gateway until 2001 at which time they sold it to the McClatchy Company, publisher of the Tacoma News Tribune, The Sumner Herald, and The Olympian as well as several other national newspapers.  Today The Peninsula Gateway still states its beginning “Since 1917.”  

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

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