Eddie Owens Martin at Pasaquan
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Pasaquan, and starting a magazine when you’re flat broke

Before we could print, we had to have content, and there it was, the great big, huge, awesome, intimidating question hanging over our first production meeting: what do we run on our new magazine's first cover?

Almost three years ago Monica Jones called and asked if I wanted to start a magazine. If you know Monica Jones, you know I had no choice. We were starting a magazine.

Monica and I had worked together on another publishing project, she selling advertising and I writing and editing. For The LocaL, we would need a dedicated graphic designer and layout editor. Mat Cornett, a blacksmith and bartender, was perfect for the gig.

The plucky three of us set out to start a magazine. We had no money, no resources, and a ton of hope. We also had a few phone numbers. Mat cooked up a striking eight page mock-up magazine, and Monica and I set out to sell it. A month later, we were printing our first issue.

Let me back up. Before we could print, we had to have content, and there it was, the great big, huge, awesome, intimidating question hanging over our first production meeting: what do we run on our new magazine’s first cover?

I had the good fortune of a years-long friendship with Charles Fowler, the caretaker at Pasaquan. I knew the site. I could already see the cover. After Mat and Monica saw pictures from Eddie Owens Martin’s technicolored dreamworld, they were in. We wanted Pasaquan for our first cover.

Almost three years later, Pasaquan has been splashed all over the press, from national newspapers like the Wall Street Journal to niche blogs like Atlas Obscura. But back then, when I set out to meet my friend Chuck for a tour, snapping photos with a, yes, iPhone 7, Pasaquan was a recently renovated gem as yet uncovered by the nation’s curiosity. I don’t want to say that our story broke the dam, but a flood of coverage came in the wake of Pasaquan: bringing the past into the future, the very first cover story for The LocaL.

I hope you enjoy.

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