Pacific Palisades was founded in early 1922 by Methodists who migrated west. In September 1924, the fledgling Methodist-based community’s governing body, the Pacific Palisades Association, began publishing a monthly news sheet known as the “Progress,” edited by Thomas R. Gettys. Each issue carried local church and social items and the latest real estate sales in a town being marketed with the slogan “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea.”
Thirty-two year old Telford Work moved to the Palisades in March 1926 as director of public relations for the Pacific Palisades Association. A journalism graduate from the University of Southern California who had assembled a small chain of local newspapers near Fresno, Work became editor of the “Progress.” On May 4, 1928, he launched The Palisadian, an 8-page weekly tabloid that sold for five cents a copy. “It is with the confidence that an alert, constructive-spirited newspaper, distinctive in format and devoting itself resolutely in its news and editorial columns to making Pacific Palisades the business, banking, school and religious center of the north shore section…will meet with a hearty welcome from the residents of Pacific Palisades and the surrounding sections that the publisher herewith presents the first issue of The Palisadian,” Work wrote in his front-page introduction. The lead story announced that $1 million was being spent to pave Marquez Avenue (now Chautauqua) and plant trees along the community’s link with Santa Monica Canyon.
On September 7, 1934, Work sold The Palisadian to his friend Clifford D. Clearwater, who in 1922 had been one of the first settlers in the community with his young wife, Zola. In fact, the first of their three children was the second child ever born in the Palisades.
Although untrained as a journalist (his previous jobs included delivering the mail by horseback as the town’s original postal carrier), Clearwater had natural talents that enabled him to serve with distinction as editor, publisher, photographer, and civic leader until his death in 1956.
When Clearwater died of a heart attack in 1956 at the age of 59, his widow Zola took over as editor and publisher. By 1960 she was ready to retire and sell her newspaper to “crosstown” rivals Charles Brown and William Brown, twin brothers who in 1954 had acquired the Pacific Palisades Post, a separate publication that was established in 1950. The Browns immediately consolidated both papers into one operation at 839 Via de la Paz, where two years earlier they had built their own printing plant. The plant enabled the Browns to publish their paper in a broadsheet format (today’s standard newspaper format), as opposed to The Palisadian’s smaller tabloid size.
Charlie and Bill Brown ran a thriving operation, financially and editorially until August 1981, when they sold their business to the Small Family of Kankakee, Illinois. Jean Alice Small, her daughter, Jennifer Small, and her two sons, Len R. Small and Thomas P. Small, led the newspaper until 2012 when they sold the paper to Alan Smolinisky, a real estate entrepreneur born and raised in the Palisades. At the time of the sale, Rob Small said “it has been a great privilege to have been part of this wonderful community since 1981, and to work with the magnificent staff at the Palisadian-Post…I am proud of what we have achieved and know that [the new ownership] will build on that tradition for even greater success.”
Thirty-three year old Alan Smolinisky purchased the Palisadian-Post, Post Printing and the building located at 839 Via de la Paz on December 5, 2012. Smolinisky, a graduate of Palisades High and the University of Southern California, is a dedicated newspaper enthusiast who spends 4-5 hours per day reading. Smolinisky wrote a Viewpoint titled ‘Why I Bought the Palisadian-Post’ in the December 7, 2012 issue of the newspaper explaining his love of the town and its only newspaper. He and his wife, Caroline, a native of Indiana and a fellow USC graduate, live in the Huntington Palisades with their children, dogs and newspapers. “I love that the Post has always been family-owned,” Smolinisky said.
On January 30, 2013, the Los Angeles Times ran a front page article titled “Pacific Palisades newspaper junkie buys his own paper.” “Pacific Palisades is my favorite place on Earth, and the Palisadian-Post is my favorite newspaper,” Smolinisky said. “Since 1928, the Palisadian-Post has never missed a Thursday issue – through fires, floods, earthquakes, the great depression and wars, the paper has always made it to subscribers each week. I have a moral obligation to make sure this newspaper is published every Thursday for as long as I live.”
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