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The History of Bohn's PrintingAdam Bohn

The Dalles was experiencing its first expansion when Adam Bohn founded Bohn's Printing, an organization that for over a century and through four generations has been closely identified with the progress and development of the city. The story really begins back in 1900 at Ilwaco, Washington, where Mr. and Mrs. Bohn made their home, with their daughter Hazel, and younger son Charles. Adam Bohn owned a small weekly newspaper, where for many years he published the Pacific Journal and made a mark for himself as a journalist. The Newspaper plant was typical of small weeklies of that day - cases for type that was set by hand, the customary marble encased make-up “stone,” a groaning old flatbed press powered by a gasoline engine. Yet the newspaper that came off the antiquated equipment was outstanding. For with the keen knowledge of what his readers wanted, Bohn selected his assistant editors with care. At one time Samuel L. Simpson held the desk on the Pacific Journal. At another time the editorial pen was wielded by Vance Hutchinson. Both later became nationally known writers. Disposing of his newspaper in 1903 due to political interest, he moved his family to the Willamette valley. There they remained while he looked around for a permanent location.

Bohn's PrintingAttracted By The Dalles

Already 50 years old, with its ups and downs, disastrous fires and hard knocks history in the Northwest, its ideal location and adjacent natural resources were so great in possibilities that The Dalles was looked upon as one of the up and coming cities of Oregon. After a year of searching about, Adam Bohn decided to cast his lot with the growing city of The Dalles and in 1904 purchased a dilapidated print shop from a man named Howerth and founded Bohn's Printing. The first location of the newly established business was upstairs in the Pioneer building at the corner of Washington and Second Streets. The family was settled in rooms back of the printing office. Hazel, 16, and Charles, 14, started to attend school. Charles made the high school football team at the age of 16, unfortunately hazel died from an incurable disease at the age of 18. The original Bohn's Printing which was originally called Job Printing and later changed, was equipped with a few cases of dirty type and only one small Pearl press, which, without a throw-off lever was a constant source of danger to hands and fingers. Early day work consisted chiefly of letterheads, business cards and posters struck for itinerant dramatic stock companies. “Hand bills” they were called in those days and they were distributed from door to door by youngsters after school hours. where it is located today.Bohn's Printing

Bohn's Printing Current LocationExpanded in 1907

Piece by piece the antiquated equipment was discarded and new installed. Battered type faces were weeded out and new faces purchased. The business prospered and had expanded to a point where larger quarters were necessary. Bohn moved his plant to the Doan building. He also started construction of a house on Jackson Avenue, today East Ninth Street. At that time a two-story residence, on a bluff overlooking the Columbia, was suburban property. Today it is surrounded by homes. The year 1917 was eventful in the life of the Bohn family. It saw the marriage of Charles and Lelah Jordan. It marked the passing of both A.N. Bohn and his wife, and also saw Charles enlist for service in World War I. The year 1921 was another milestone in the life of Charles and his wife, Charles had returned from service and assumed the place of his father as manager of Bohn's Printing. A son was born, Jordan C., and the printing plant was moved to 308 Union Street, where it is located today.


Charles Bohn

Managed By JordanJordan Bohn

Years passed. Under the second generation management of Charles, business showed a steady and substantial growth. Through the years the expanding business added more space and updated equipment, and in 1932 became one of Mail-Well Envelope Company's first dealers outside of Portland. Meanwhile young Jordan had entered grade school, and went on to high school, where he had the advantage of taking a course in printing, which was to lay the ground work for him when in 1939, he took over as the third generation manager of Bohn's Printing. 1951 marked the passing of Charles and then, in 1952 Richard C. was born to Jordan and Marcile Bohn with daughter Debbie following couple years later. In 1958 all the printing machinery was moved to the back room at 308 Union and the up-front space became the new department for office equipment and supplies.

A Fourth Generation

Richard BohnRick grew up helping out at Bohn's until his graduation from high school in 1971. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army and spent two years at Fort Ord, where he headed the Sills B. Hays Army Hospital Printing Department. In 1974 he joined the family firm working with his father Jordan. In 1986 Richard took over the management position from Jordan and continued to produce and prosper in the business. 1984 saw the birth of the fifth generation, a daughter, Ellen, and in 1987 a son Edward. Years passed and in 1993 Bohn's Printing became an authorized Konica Copier Dealer for North Central Oregon, now Konica Minolta, adding one more option to our broad scope of services. The summer of 2001 marked the passing of both Jordan and his wife Marcille. Bohn's Printing has evolved from a small printing shop to a complete commercial printer that also sells office supplies, office equipment, and office furniture. This is the story of Bohn's Printing, work being carried on by the family through World War I, Radio, The Great Depression, World War II, Television, Man on the Moon and the World Wide Web, we credit our success to keeping pace with the ever expanding needs of our community.