When Rufus Woods put The Wenatchee World building at 14 Mission St. up for sale earlier this year it sparked a scramble in the building to locate and identify all of the archives four or five generations of journalists have collected and cared for over the paper's 116 years.

Rufus, who sold the paper to the Wick family more than three years ago, will eventually sell the building. When that happens, The World as a publishing venture may have to move to another location and we'll have to decide what to take with us.

Our vault of information and indexes is extensive and much of it is very old school: Handwritten notes on index cards, cllpped articles organized by topics, photographs and negatives and more than a century of bound volumes. There is also un-indexed microfilm of the paper at the Wenatchee Public Library and a couple copies of the microfilm at The World.

(Our electronic indexes, although fractured by switches to different platforms over the most-recent decades, are available through our website and online at NewsBank.) 

These days, journalists only rarely walk up the creaky wooden steps to the storage area at 14 Mission St. where the bound volumes are kept. As the decades have passed, the volumes are more fodder for historians than for reporters. 

After that initial scramble earlier this year, we now have a pretty good idea of the extent of our collection of Wenatchee Valley and NCW history. We have begun to put out feelers to see if a museum or university would be interested in acquiring all or parts of our collection. So far, the interest has been tepid, but the effort has only just begun. 

So, what will happen to the archives of a paper — a vault of information and history — that chronicles the lives and times of the Wenatchee Valley and North Central Washington since 1905? 

— Russ