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Colorado’s first newspapers…

Mountaineer-from-ColoradoCredit is given to John Oswald’s “Printing In The Americas” for much of the following:

Colorado was first organized as the “Jefferson Territory” in October, 1859 and Congress renamed it Colorado Territory in February, 1861. It would become a state in 1876 hence it’s nickname “Centennial State”.

Colorado’s first printing was done in on April 23, 1859, on which date two newspapers were established in Denver, a town named after James W. Denver, the territorial governor of Kansas, and now occupying the site of two towns originally called Auraria and St. Charles. The “Rocky Mountain News” was started by William¬† Byers, John Dailey & Thomas Gibson. Byers became the sole owner in 1870. The second newspaper, the “Cherry Creek Pioneer“, was started by John Merrick but only lasted for just a single issue.¬† But shortly thereafter the “Rocky Mountain Gold Reporter & Mountain City Herald” was started August 6, 1859 at “Mountain City, Jefferson Territory”. A few months later the same printing press was used to launch the “Western Mountaineer” at Golden, Colorado.

The first daily newspaper in Colorado was the “Daily Herald and Rocky Mountain Advertiser” dating from May 1, 1860, and nearly four months later the “Rocky Mountain News” also became a daily publication.

There being no United States mail throughout Colorado at that time the newspapers were delivered by carriers mounted on burros to the various mining camps at 25 cents per copy, or $24 per year. One can imagine with such a lack of efficient distribution how small the print runs were and how few issues would survive to the 20th century.

Keep in mind that these early publication dates coincided with the Colorado “gold rush” which ran from 1859 to 1861 or so. It was typical that newspapers would spring up in areas when population would boom and land development was flourishing. Newspapers were quick to arise wherever the people would be, as was the case in California, Alaska and many other Western states.

Any of these early Colorado newspapers from 1859 or the early 1860’s are exceedingly scarce and would be choice issues for any collection.

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1 Comment To "Colorado’s first newspapers…"

#1 Comment By Steven Barton On 02/24/2013 @ 11:18 am

Tim, I do beleive I have a 1st print of the Cherry Creek Pioneer. I have been trying to find someone that might have one so I can conpair size or anything to determin if it is real. I can’t find anyone that even has a copy. Would you know anyone that I could contact? I put it in a frame when I was 15 and have had it for 45 years and of course it was found in our Great Aunts Hope Chest. She lived to be 101 and past away when I was 15.