Local historians working to preserve unearthed newspapers

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — This summer Brighton’s Historic Preservation Commission will start a digital archive of nearly 400 newspapers that were found while renovating the Bromley-Hishinuma farm. 



Chairman Joe Burt said when the city was in the process of having structural work done at the farm three years ago, they needed to tear up floors. When the flooring was torn up they found 399 perfectly preserved newspapers written in Japanese and English from 1940 to 1958 that were primarily being used for insulation. 

Burt said it’s that mix of Japanese and American history that makes them “very special” and that it’s unusual to find newspapers that old preserved as well as they are.

“I think the other bit that makes them very important is the fact that several of the editions and runs that were found, can’t be found anywhere else,” he said. “We’ve done some research on that and we know that several of the editions aren’t in the state library, they’re not in the state archives anywhere.” 

Historian Pat Reither said five different newspapers were found — some are from Colorado and some are from San Francisco. She said each paper has two pages of Japanese and two pages of English and that she has inventoried all of them and cataloged an interesting fact about each one. 

Because the timeframe of the newspapers include World War II, Reither said they represent a historically significant period of time for Colorado and for Brighton. She said a lot of Japanese-Americans came to Colorado because they could live here and avoid the threat of internment camps that were set up during the war. 

Reither also said it was interesting to see the advertisements in the papers from Brighton and  Fort Lupton businesses and see local residents used as models. 

The newspapers have been cataloged and preserved and are currently owned by the city. Burt said the next process is to begin archiving the papers digitally. He said they have been wanting to digitally archive the papers for the last three years but that budget constraints haven’t allowed them to do so. He said this year, the city had the means to do it, and purchased a high-resolution scanner and software to help with the process.

“That’s the process we’ll be embarking on this summer,” he said. “We’ll be taking scans of all the newspapers, so we will be scanning those in at very high resolutions so we can then have a digital archive of the newspaper.”

Burt said they’re hoping to get some interns from surrounding universities and that at some point they’re going to need volunteers from the community to help with the “massive project.”

Anyone interested in helping the Historic Preservation Commission with its archiving can contact Burt at 303-835-2606 or via email at joseph.burt@comcast.net.