The Kaweah Commonwealth
THREE RIVERS, CALIFORNIA
The Kaweah Commonwealth is the weekly newspaper of Three Rivers and all of Kaweah Country. Published every Friday, its coverage area includes Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and the communities of Woodlake and Lemon Cove.
It takes its name from the first newspaper published in the area ca. 1890 by the Kaweah Co-operative Colony. As novel as the Kaweah Colony itself, the present-day Commonwealth merely revived the high standards of community journalism and the essential quality of what made the original Kaweah Commonwealth "a journal for those who labor and think."
For 100 years, newspapers in Three Rivers have come and gone sporadically as many have attempted the difficult task of meeting an ongoing weekly deadline while earning a viable living in a small community. John and Sarah Elliott recognized the potential and necessity of a weekly newspaper in Three Rivers and purchased the Sequoia Sentinel. Prior to the first issue on March 1, 1995, John and Sarah changed the name of the newspaper to The Kaweah Commonwealth as a salute to the rich history of the region.
Since then, the husband-and-wife team has combined their talents of writing, photography, editing, sales and marketing, and graphic layout and design to develop an original, provocative, and graphically-pleasing newspaper for the community. That teamwork has led to a successful venture in independent publishing. They enjoy having the opportunity to be creative with their stories, photos, page design, features, and issues.
The newspaper's masthead and its straightforward black-and-white style still have appeal for a discriminating reader looking for something stimulating in a weekly newspaper of today. The masthead, based on the original Commonwealth's, communicates on the front page of every issue the General Sherman Tree (the largest tree on the planet) or what the colonists called the "Karl Marx Tree," and a stunning view of Alta Peak from Lake Kaweah (which is what greets every traveler to Three Rivers). The first panel is carried over from the original Kaweah Commonwealth and is a sketch of Burnette G. Haskell, the Kaweah Colony's founder, in front of his North Fork cabin.
JOHN ELLIOTT was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and attended college in Miami, Fla. After graduating from Florida International University in 1978 with a B.A. in history, he moved west to Southern California. He discovered Kaweah Country in 1986 while working for the Mineral King Preservation Society, preparing a National Register of Historic Places application for the cabins, road, and mines in that area of Sequoia National Park.
Following more than two decades in public history projects working primarily in cultural resource management, Elliott now devotes his career to documenting the people, places, and events of Kaweah Country.
SARAH BARTON ELLIOTT is a fifth-generation Three Rivers resident. Her ancestors, who settled in Three Rivers in the 1870s, include several writers and a newspaper publisher, as well as cattlemen, citrus ranchers, miners, and lumbermen. Place names in the area recognize the contributions of the Barton family (Barton Mountain, Stephen Barton Point, Barton Peak, Barton Creek, Barton's Camp). It is with pride that she carries on the legacy of her family in Three Rivers, using her writing talents to document the people, places, and events in this place that is collectively known as Kaweah Country.