Patterson's hometown newspaper since 1911, the Irrigator is independently owned and published every Thursday by Tank Town Media.
When town founder T.W. Patterson began work in 1909 on an irrigation system to serve thousands of acres of West Side farmland, he had in mind a massive land sales campaign.
Two years later, the new town of Patterson had a newspaper. Its prime purpose: to promote the sale of the rich agricultural farmland. With local subscribers very few in number, the newspaper was mailed back to the Midwest and Eastern states in an effort to bring potential land buyers — including Portuguese and Swedish dairy farmers — to Patterson.
A San Francisco printing firm, Bolte & Braden, is listed as the newspaper’s first publisher. However, Elwyn Hoffman was the first editor and soon became publisher and owner of the Patterson Irrigator. Hoffman had been brought here to write follow-up letters to prospective land buyers, and as he had previous newspaper experience, he was the logical choice to become the Irrigator’s one-person staff.
Reportedly, it was Hoffman who was responsible for the newspaper’s unusual name. He submitted a list of potential names to the Patterson family, and Irrigator was chosen from that list.
The first newspaper office was on the second level of the Patterson Mercantile building (now Oak Valley Community Bank).
Hoffman sent his news and advertising copy by train to Bolte & Braden every Wednesday evening, and the printed copies arrived back in Patterson on Friday evenings for Saturday distribution. He is quoted as saying that his worst fear was a major catastrophe occurring in Patterson on Thursdays and Fridays.
Only once did a major problem arise. That’s when the printed Irrigators were erroneously shipped to Paterson, N.J.
Hoffman suffered health problems that forced him to sell the newspaper to R.C. Fleharty in mid-1919.
In 1929, Fleharty contracted with local builder Walfrid Knutson to construct a permanent home for the newspaper at 26 N Third Street.
The Irrigator has remained at that location since.
Experiencing more than 100 years of press evolution the Irrigator continues to serve Patterson and the Westside community.