Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Life of Enos, Part 11

Publisher William Moore was elected to Congress on the Republican ticket in the fall of 1872. His partner James Kelley would be unable to take over The Reporter in his absence, and so Moore wrote to Enos Christman, who still owned an interest in the paper, and pleaded with him to return to Washington.

The Christmans, after a 15-year hiatus, returned to the growing borough, and Enos took over as editor and manager on April 2, 1873. His son William, then 15, who had been such a help to his father on the farm, and then delivering newspapers in West Chester, attended school on East Beau Street for only three weeks before quitting and going to work for his father. It would be a career that lasted 30 years to the day.

It was Enos' need to find a suitable home in Washington for his large family and his inability to afford one that led to his founding the first building and loan association here. His house at 21 West Prospect Avenue, which still stands, was in 1874 the first to be built by the Washington Building & Loan Association. Before that pioneer institution passed out of existence, it had made possible the building of many homes and businesses in Washington and was an inspiration to the lending institutions that would follow.

Clark Bartlett, who worked as an editor for Christman, wrote in 1925 of his former employer: "The Major was by nature thrifty and conservative, yet courageously progressive when occasion demanded."
That courage would be put to the test when Christman launched Washington's first daily newspaper in 1876. Many of his competitors and business associates thought that venture was foolish and destined to fail.

And they were nearly right.

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