C O M M E M O R AT I V E MAGAZINE J U LY 2 0 1 7
HAPPY 175TH ANNIVERSARY,
Texas First Bank is proud to have partnered with you for 44 years and counting! Truly community banking at its best.
From 1973... 22 locations strong:
Seated: Earl Jenkins, Marvin Briggs, Lawrence Henckel, Bob Bertolett, Thelma Franks, F.H. Huntington, John Buvens Standing: Dr. W.J. Estrada, Irvin Reeves, Rod Rehm, Dr. John Thiel, Emmett F. Lowry, Charles T. Doyle, Jack Fassetta, Lawrence Del Papa, Dr. Roger Youmans, Authur Autry, Dominic Tibaldo
... to now.
• Hitchcock – 1973 • Galveston - Stewart Road – 1975 • Santa Fe – 1977 • Texas City – 1982 • Crystal Beach – 1985 • Galveston - Broadway – 1991 • La Marque – FM 1764 – 1993 • Kemah – 1995 • Galveston - Pirates Beach – 1995 • Dickinson – 1996 • League City – 1998 • Friendswood – 1999 • La Marque - Oak St – 1999 • Winnie – 2006 • Baytown – 2006 • Fannett – 2006 • Pearland – 2007 • Mid County – 2012 • Pasadena – 2012 • Houston – 2012 • Hull – 2014 • Liberty – 2014
We’re PROUD to call Galveston County home. Left to Right: Charles T. Doyle, Matthew Doyle, Catherine Potter, Carlos Garza, Christopher Doyle, Mitchell Chuoke, David Daspit, Lee Ardell, Timothy O’Brien, Dennis Bettison, Pat Plaia, Gaddis Wittjen, Carlos Peña, Commissioner Stephen Holmes, Dickey Campbell Not pictured: Travis Hardwick, David Doyle
www.texasfirst.bank 2 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
175 YEARS H E R E ' S
T H E
N E X T
OF PROGRESS ACROSS THE ISLAND
FOLLOW THE PROGRESS
WATCH THE 2017 STATE OF THE CITY
THANKING THE DAILY NEWS Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 3
TABLE OF CONTENTS 6
Chronicling the history of The Daily News
The Founders: Samuel Bangs
The Founders: Willard Richardson
The Founders: Alfred Belo
Five Questions for Lissa Walls
A Note from Dolph Tillotson
A Note from Jim Yarbrough
Major Stories: Secession
Major Stories: Galveston Harbor Deepening
Major Stories: The Great Fire
Major Stories: The 1900 Storm
Major Stories: The Texas City Disaster
Major Stories: Hurricane Ike
News’ buildings are parts of the local landscape
The Daily News upholds a 175-year-long philosophy
Technology at The Daily News: A history of advancement
The Philosophy of Carmage Walls
How news will be generated and distributed in 2117
The definition of news has evolved, as has its presentation
4 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
Michael Bluitt checks a page and adjusts the press during a run of The Daily News. JENNIFER REYNOLDS ON THE COVER
(BACK COVER) Skip McComb threads newsprint into the web press at The Daily News. JENNIFER REYNOLDS
(FRONT COVER) A teletype operator works in the old Galveston News building downtown. DAILY NEWS FILE COVERS & DESIGN BY KAITLIN SCHMIDT
175 YEARS is kind of a big deal
The Daily News is older than the telephone, household electricity and even the state of Texas. That is what we call economic staying power. The Galveston Economic Development Partnership (GEDP) would like to congratulate The Daily News for the remarkable achievements of successfully serving the community for 175 years. While the GEDP mission is to help attract and create the environment for economic development in the region, The Daily News is a great example of how important a strong, long-term business can positively impact a community. Here is to another 175!
Mark your calendars for the GEDP Economic Summit Thursday, October 18, 2017 | Call 409.770.0216 for information Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 5
Mike Dean, left, who owns numerous island businesses, is congratulated by Leonard Woolsey, president and publisher of The Daily News, after being named the paper’s 2017 Citizen of the Year for his charitable work through Yaga’s Children’s Fund. JENNIFER REYNOLDS
175 YEARS OF INNOVATION CONTINUES BY LEONARD WOOLSEY
ne hundred and seventy-five years feels almost like an abstract number. As I sit here, publisher of the oldest newspaper in Texas, I am sincerely humbled. One realization you gain in leading a newspaper is that you are simply a steward of the time you occupy the role. Time and people march onward. Your time, however, is limited. In this case, regardless of the calendar, I will be but a blip on the history of The Daily News. I’ve followed some big shoes, most recently Dolph Tillotson. The man still knows more in his pinkie finger than I will ever hope to learn. And if you ask him, he too will tip his hat to the talented leaders who came before him. We are passing a baton of sorts — one with responsibilities none of us ever dreamed of holding for a community. This is humbling, to say the least. The Daily News is a storied newspaper around the state of Texas. Under the leadership of a long string of innovative leaders, the newspaper has continuously cut a powerful pathway for others to follow. From having its own private rail car to deliver newspapers around
6 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
the state to putting up the first telephone in Texas, The Daily News has always been an innovator. Even when it came to the digital age, The Daily News was on the internet before most people could even spell the word. Today we continue to reinvent ourselves — most recently successfully moving into the magazine LEONARD WOOLSEY business with Coast Monthly. And the good news is we have other new items in the pipeline. Some will succeed, others may not. But we will never stop working to provide valuable services to the community. This magazine is about a collective living history — one we plan on telling with the passing of each significant milestone.
Employees of The Galveston County Daily News and Galveston Newspapers Inc. celebrate the newspaper’s 175th anniversary. JENNIFER REYNOLDS
TAKE A TRIP THROUGH THE DAILY NEWS’ STORIED PAST BY MICHAEL A. SMITH
f you’re reading this commemoration of The Daily News’ 175 years on or near July 16, 2017, you’re likely a subscriber. For that, you have my personal thanks, along with that of the staff, which works every day to produce a newspaper worthy of your continued support. A lot goes into producing a quality newspaper, time and money, for example. And success depends on numerous variables, some beyond any editor’s control. But none of those is more important to the journalists working here than the readers. That’s who we serve and few days pass that we don’t discuss how to do it better. We launched this project with a lot of excitement, but also some trepidation. Newspaper journalists have a peculiar relationship with the practice of recounting history. We provide the raw material from which historical writing is constructed, but we’re not necessarily all that adept at it. We’re a forwardlooking bunch, by inclination and necessity. This particular topic was doubly thorny because we’d be writing about ourselves. Can you do that with the arm’s length detachment required for credible journalism?
We attempted to solve these problems by retaining a skilled freelancer with an affinity for digging deep into the historical record and breathing readability into old facts. After editing the thousands of words contained between these covers, I believe we’ve done what newspaper people set out to achieve each MICHAEL A. SMITH day — we produced a good read. I’ve been a Daily News fan since I first read it in the stripmall offices of a lesser newspaper more than 20 years ago. I’ve dug some into its storied past. Even so, I learned something on just about every page of this magazine and thoroughly enjoyed a journey through the history of a newspaper that just wouldn’t quit. I hope you do, too. Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 7
‘AN HONEST, AN UPRIGHT, A TRUTHFUL JOURNAL’ Chronicling The Daily News’ history BY TOM BASSING
t has been 175 years since a newspaper known as The Daily News first appeared in Galveston, a city far different from the one in which we live today. So, too, has the newspaper changed during those years: from the way it’s printed and where it’s printed to the frequency with which it has been printed and even the name under which it has been printed. Its front page over the years has carried the banner of The Daily News, The News, The Galveston News, The Galveston Daily News and, today, The Galveston County Daily News, the last of which best reflects its emphasis and reach, extending from Galveston Island north to Clear Creek, from Galveston Bay west to the Brazoria County line, and east along the Bolivar Peninsula. One thing, however, hasn’t changed at all: The paper has steadfastly adhered to pioneering editor and publisher Willard Richardson’s philosophy that The Daily News present an independent voice, beholden to no one, and that its content be something its readers can rely on to be thorough and fair. Here unfolds a chronicle of its history — that of the oldest newspaper in the broad, vast state of Texas — from its humble debut, on April 11, 1842, to its multimedia present, 17 and a half decades later. I. BIRTH OF A PAPER On a blustery and unseasonably cold Monday morning in early April 1842, Galveston’s latest newspaper — 300 or so single sheets of paper, each printed on both sides and folded over, four pages in all — appeared on the counters of downtown Galveston’s merchants. The paper’s masthead identified it as The Daily News and a box just below it boasted that it was “Published Every Day (Sundays Excepted) By George H. French.” Yet, save for the first few weeks, it neither appeared daily nor was it particularly newsy. Nor, history suggested, was The Daily News likely long for this world; indeed, two months later a competitor reported its apparent demise, the actual fate of more than a dozen
8 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
fleeting startups during the nine years that Texas was a republic. Hamilton Stuart’s Civilian and Galveston City Gazette, by then a robust 4 years old, reported with restrained glee that The Daily News had joined, among others, the Commercial Intelligencer, the Daily Galvestonian, the Morning Herald, the People’s Advocate, the Commercial Chronicle and the unfortunately but presciently named Croaker in passing into history. The Daily News’ tombstone, had Stuart’s account proved correct, would have read, simply, “Born April 11, 1842; Died June 11, 1842.” And that grave marker would have stood with all the others in a cemetery hastily filling up because of an epidemic of egotism in competition for a tiny audience; Galveston in 1842 was, after all, home to a mere 1,000 souls, some of whom were slaves. A secondary cause of death would have been listed as the absence of any genuine effort to get out and gather news. It was enough, those ill-fated publishers reckoned, to arrange for the use of a press for the selfaggrandizing purpose of pontificating on the issues of the day. What news they ran was stale at best, mostly relying on occasional reports brought by travelers from the mainland or cribbed from papers arriving aboard ships from New Orleans. In that regard, The Daily News in its earliest iteration probably deserved the fate of its deceased brethren. The oldest extant copy of The Daily News, that of Tuesday, April 19, 1842, carried on its front page, aside from mention of the recent spate of foul weather from the north, some advertising — including a notice that the paper’s founder, an itinerant printer, filibuster and former prisoner of war named Samuel Bangs, was available for any and all printing needs and another that he was willing to part with two leagues of Texas land the Mexican state of Tamaulipas had granted him under his legal Mexican name, Jose Manuel Bancs, for services rendered to Mexico during its first years of independence from Spain — and the text of a tariff act passed by the congress of the Republic of Texas three months before.
(ABOVE) The Galveston News was the first to occupy a building created specifically to house a newspaper publishing plant. The building, in the 2100 block of Mechanic Street, was designed by Nicholas J. Clayton. DAILY NEWS FILE (LEFT) The old Galveston News building is on Mechanic Street in downtown Galveston. STUART VILLANUEVA What stood as up-to-date news were announcements of arriving ships — the schooners Falcon and Neptune, notably, the latter bringing 27 passengers and 15 slaves, and the sloop Phoenix — and mention of a concert scheduled that week at the old Tremont House. It was in such fashion that The Daily News slogged on for the next two months, publishing sporadically, reliant on the similarly sporadic arrival of ships from New Orleans, until Stuart’s Civilian on June 12, 1842, attempted to lay it to rest. II. A LULL AND A REBIRTH A year later, Stuart reported on what appeared to be nothing more than yet another paper’s birth, a terse announcement that “Messrs. M. Cronican and Co. have commenced in this city, the publication of a small semiweekly paper entitled ‘The News.’ ” The new paper, was, in fact, The Daily News’ return to life, nearly as unlikely as had been that of Lazarus. It would be Stuart’s Civilian itself turning up dead some 40 years later, its proprietor kindly hired by The News to write editorials. Messrs. M. Cronican and Co. were the printer Michael Cronican and the apprentice printer Wilbur Cherry, originally from Boston and Oswego, N.Y., respectively, who had come to Texas not to get into newspapering but to join the future republic’s fight for independence from Mexico. Cronican, then 26 and a member of the renowned New Orleans Grays, a volunteer militia mustered at first word of the Texas revolution, had arrived in 1835, as had Cherry, who at 15 had run away from home to join the fray. They met that year during the Texans’ October to December siege of San Antonio de Béxar. Texas gained its independence the following April — just 15 years after Mexico had won its own freedom — and Cronican and Cherry resumed their previous careers, opening a small print shop in Galveston. Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 9
In 1843, having pooled their resources, they rented from Bangs several cases of letter type and the same R. Hoe & Co. Washington hand press on which The Daily News putatively had been born the previous year, and they leased the same weatherworn, two-story building on Tremont Street, just around the corner from The Strand, where The Daily News had been printed — and retained the editor, French. And with that, The Daily News, now more accurately named The News, reappeared on June 23, 1843, with a proposed circulation of twice a week and the caveat that it would in fact “be issued as soon as possible after the arrival of the New Orleans steamer.”
THE NEWS EARLY ON MOSTLY CARRIED ADVERTISEMENTS AND OFFICIAL NOTICES ON ITS COVER AND BACK PAGE. WHAT PASSED FOR ACTUAL NEWS APPEARED INSIDE ON THE TWO PAGES PUT TO BED THE NIGHT BEFORE THE PAPER WAS TO APPEAR. The News was a larger sheet than its predecessor, at 12 and a half by 18 inches, half again as large as The Daily News, but still a four-page sheet. Cronican and Cherry offered an annual subscription for $4 in the depreciated currency of the Republic of Texas — about 80 cents in U.S. specie. Individual issues cost the equivalent of 2.5 U.S. cents. The News early on mostly carried advertisements and official notices on its cover and back page. What passed for actual news appeared inside on the two pages put to bed the night before the paper was to appear. French was one of two brothers of Bangs’ second wife, the former Caroline French, and both had accompanied the couple to Galveston in 1839, Bangs’ second stop on the island. He had first arrived in 1816 when Texas was the property of Spain, having joined a military excursion organized by one Francisco Xavier Mina, a Spaniard aggrieved by the rise to the Spanish throne of Ferdinand VII, an unabashed Francophile. Mina saw aiding the Mexicans in their fight for independence from Spain as a way of taking on Ferdinand. Things, however, did not go well for the filibusters; Spanish forces captured the lot, executing Mina and most of his crew, although sparing Bangs’ life given his ability to operate his press. After Mexico won its independence in 1821, Bangs was freed, yet remained south of the Rio Grande for several years, printing official proclamations for the new nation. Eventually, he made his way to Mobile where he wooed and married Caroline French before his 1839 return to Galveston. By then, Mexico was a sovereign nation and Texas was a sovereign republic, and the sovereign United States was still finalizing its borders. In fact, it was only in 1842, the very year The Daily News debuted, that the northern border with Canada east of the Rockies was established with the signing of the WebsterAshburton Treaty. Bangs by then had acquired a second press: the Hoe Washington press on which both The Daily News and The News are believed to have first been printed. 10 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
III. A SAVIOR’S ARRIVAL Cronican and Cherry’s little paper at first offered precious little to distinguish itself. Like most papers of the era — with the possible exception of Stuart’s well-regarded Civilian — The News served as little more than a vanity sheet and a vehicle for its publishers to advertise their services and pull in what advertising dollars they could. At the time, Galveston Island boasted no more than 300 homes and far fewer commercial buildings, all built along a grid extending from the harbor, which ran nearly two blocks farther inland than it does today. The roads were difficult to walk. As a visitor from England, a more established island, put it, there were “wide passages between the squares, which are ankle deep in fine sand during dry weather and almost deeper in wet, they being totally unpaved in any part.” The beached and rusting hulk of an abandoned clipper served as Galveston’s jail, which was rarely unpopulated. A hospital, in the days when infectious diseases were treated with little more than patience and isolation, stood a mile and a half west of all other structures. Drinking water, drawn from cisterns fed by shallow wells, bore an unpleasant taste, and feral hogs deemed the island theirs, contending only with similarly untamed dogs’ incessant bites and human beings’ flailing kicks. Soon enough, in early 1844, Cronican, perhaps fed up by all that, headed off to Corpus Christi after selling out to Cherry, who, finding himself all but immediately overwhelmed, hired a capable writer named Benjamin Neal, who had made the acquaintance of a former schoolmaster turned journalist named Willard Richardson when both were working at the Houston Telegraph and Texas Register. Neal invited Richardson to join The News. Richardson, despite the less than promising environment into which he had been recruited, took the job after being granted full authority to oversee the underwhelming editorial staff. Richardson, who brought in a refreshing philosophy, soon bought out Cherry’s share in the enterprise. Despite the island’s reputation as both a birthing place and a graveyard for startup newspapers — and despite the city’s scant population, and its unimproved roads, and despite recurrent competition and economic declines over which the paper had no say, and, too, despite the vagaries of ship arrivals from New Orleans bearing WILLARD RICHARDSON reports to crib — The News, largely due to Richardson’s guiding philosophy, came to be regarded as a metonym for responsible journalism. He announced that The News would henceforth stand independent of any political party — a radical departure at the time — and vowed that the paper would place news before views. Moreover, it would seek to dig up its own news to fill the pages.
Butler Longhorn Museum
From registered Majestic Oaks to the survival of the Butler Longhorn breed, League City provides a colorful narrative in Northern Galveston County spanning more than 175 years. Spend the day enjoying historical museums, a delicious lunch or dinner, shopping and relaxing.
West Bay Common School Children’s Museum
Take a stroll under 100-year-old Oak Trees in League City’s historic downtown district and experience a variety of colorful boutiques, specialty stores, antique shops and tasty restaurants located in historic downtown League City. St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Come explore League City and Galveston County History. For more information go to www.VisitLeagueCity.com Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 11
Richardson all but literally took that credo to the grave. Near the end of his life — he breathed his last on July 26, 1875 — he authored what is believed to be his final editorial for what was then known as The Galveston News. It read like an epitaph. “A generation has almost passed since the senior proprietor of The Galveston News entered upon that which has been his life’s work — the management of an honest, an upright, a truthful journal,” he wrote, and astute readers could all but hear a bell toll. “In reviewing that life’s work as written in the files of this journal, he is proud to aver that he has always battled for the right, been the foeman of corruption in high places and the uncompromising advocate of the material advancement of the people of Texas.” IV. WAR’S ARRIVAL His pages validated Richardson’s claim of personal advocacy for the people of Texas, with one glaring exception: He held at least one slave and ardently opposed abolition. Galveston, as a port, had begun to profit greatly — as, by extension, so did Richardson — from shipping commodities, among them cotton, with Texas by the middle of the 19th century a major producer of the plant. The work involved in growing the labor-intensive crop — the planting and chopping and picking of cotton from its bolls — often was performed by slaves, a large factor in its profitability. Less explicable is why Richardson held a slave, a man named Monroe, whom the publisher employed in driving a horse that, by means of a treadmill, powered the paper’s newfangled Hoe cylinder press, acquired in 1855. Then, five years later, the war arrived. Richardson, although an anti-abolitionist, was a pragmatist, and in the pages of The News he urged his readers to eschew secession. Yet, Texans in a statewide referendum voted to join the ill-fated Confederacy, whose April 1861 assault on the Union’s Fort Sumter, in South Carolina, ignited the Civil War. Early the following year, Union ships blockaded the island. Received wisdom held that should federal forces attack, the Confederacy would be able to do little if anything to protect the island, and so Gov. Francis Lubbock ordered all civilians to evacuate the island, a call Richardson heeded, loading onto rail cars his press and other essentials and moving The News to Houston. One islander, however, Ferdinand Flake, defied the order, staying behind and publishing Flake’s Bulletin, while also serving as a correspondent for The News as the war ground on. He already had proved generous as catastrophe befell The News when a fire destroyed the uninsured paper’s new offices shortly after Richardson arrived in the bayou city. Flake provided furniture, and other would-be rivals, including Edward Cushing, the editor of the Houston Telegraph, and Stuart, of the Civilian, similarly helped out, Stuart sparing a hand press, and Cushing contributing the paper on which to print The News. Flake later provided reams of copy to The News during the Jan. 1, 1863, Battle of Galveston, one of the Confederates’ last successful skirmishes. By then, the war had begun turning against the rebels, and for the most part telegraph lines west of the Mississippi River had been severed. Richardson soon ruefully had to acknowledge that news appearing in his paper today typically had appeared in the Telegraph yesterday. Only reader loyalty among the island’s evacuees sustained his sheet. 12 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
Supplies, too, became increasingly hard to come by. The Union blockade curtailed deliveries by water other than by the rare successful blockade runner; some newsprint arrived from Mexico, although not much, and the paper’s pressmen learned to wet wrapping paper the night before the press run, and hope for the best. By then, the paper — little more than a two-sided handbill run off on the loaned letter press — appeared three times a week at best, and Richardson came to swap copies for food as hyperinflation gutted the value of the Confederacy’s legal tender. Yet, thirst for any news as to how the fighting was going eventually drove circulation. By late February 1865, thanks in large part to The Telegraph’s establishment of a de facto pony express to bring and share war updates, The News began to appear six days a week, albeit still just a single sheet printed on both sides. Yet, after the war ended that April and The News returned to the island, Richardson continued printing his paper six days a week as well as his prewar weekly for wider circulation and a triweekly as well. And, too, he revived the annual Texas Almanac, which The News had launched in 1857 and which briefly during the war had ceased publication. The triweekly held on until 1877; the weekly until 1894. The Texas Almanac continues to this day. V. A NEW PARTNER A 28-year-old former Confederate colonel named Alfred H. Belo — he had been with Gen. Robert E. Lee in Virginia at the headwaters of the Appomattox River on April 9, 1865, when the rebel military leader surrendered to the Union — soon found his way to Galveston, and Richardson, impressed with his bearing, invited him to join the paper.
Men stand in front of the old Galveston News building, to which is affixed a sign reading “The Galveston News, Established 1842, Incorporated 1881.” ROSENBERG LIBRARY
Belo, born in Salem, N.C., had served with distinction in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, twice suffering severe injuries, first at Gettysburg, on July 2, 1863, and then on June 3, 1864, at Cold Harbor, in Hanover County, Va., where an artillery round shattered his left ALFRED H. BELO arm, permanently rendering it useless. During the war, in addition to grit, Belo had demonstrated admirable administrative skills, which Richardson coveted, the war having fully taxed his managerial wherewithal and his publishing company’s accounts at the time in disarray. Belo was hired on as a bookkeeper in late August 1865 for a trial period of six months for which Richardson agreed to pay him $500 in gold. Within those six months, Belo had so thoroughly turned around the business operations — collecting debts and revamping the company’s accounting system — that Richardson offered to sell him an interest in the paper. Belo’s father, a North Carolina merchant still wealthy despite the ravages of the war, arranged for a loan, and so it was that Richardson, on March 1, 1866, six months after Belo’s arrival, named the former Confederate officer a junior partner in charge of the paper’s business office.
Two years later, with Richardson having determined that Belo possessed the mettle and expertise needed to ultimately succeed the publisher, appointed him a full partner in what then became known as Richardson, Belo & Co. Texas had begun to rebound — largely due to Richardson’s ceaseless push for expanded rail service — and The News began to gain additional readership and advertising. By 1871, The News boasted the largest circulation of any Texas newspaper, and soon claimed more readers than all other dailies in the state combined. Richardson had begun his railroad campaign on April 17, 1856, publishing on The News’ front page a map he had drawn up to illustrate where he envisioned tracks should be laid. An adjoining article called for the state to invest in and operate the proposed network, something that the legislature dismissed out of hand, although Austin eventually did float a railroad bond plan, which voters approved by a handy margin. As one result, a railroad bridge soon connected the mainland to the island, bringing the Galveston, Houston & Henderson Railroad into the county seat. Richardson continued his push by urging that any railroad running from coast to coast — it was at the time a matter of great discussion throughout the nation — reach and then traverse Texas. “The great value of this road to Texas induces us to notice some of the manifest advantages over all others proposed to be extended to the Pacific coast region,” he wrote in The News. “The more northern routes pass through barren and uninhabited regions, while this passes through regions partially settled and often inviting dense settlement, on account of the extensive prairies or fine pasturage, rich valleys, and valuable minerals.” His argument prevailed, and in 1883 The News — too late for Richardson to read it — ran a front-page article announcing that the Southern Pacific Railroad indeed would route its stretch of the transcontinental railroad through Texas. Willard Richardson had died on July 26, 1875 — a passing that elicited laudatory editorials in papers large and small — and Belo, as planned, assumed command. Richardson left the paper’s new chief with a robust staff and correspondents spread across the state. He had written in January 1872 that, “as the railroad extension of our state brings distant cities, towns and counties into proximity with Galveston, we shall extend our corps of reporters and correspondents.” He made good on the promise by arranging for the state’s postmasters and telegraph operators to serve as correspondents. For good measure, he added a New York correspondent to the payroll. VI. A CHANGE OF COMMAND Editorially, the imperially bearded Belo, who carried himself with a military officer’s starched posture, hewed to Richardson’s philosophy while solidifying the company, which in 1881 he refashioned as A.H. Belo & Co. To mark the occasion, Belo had a sign mounted above the center column on the face of the paper’s offices at 2217 Market Street that read: “The Galveston News, Established 1842, Incorporated 1881.” Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 13
Belo had included in the incorporation charter a clause allowing for the company to establish a paper in rapidly growing Dallas. So it was that on Oct. 1, 1885, the first issue of the Dallas News — today’s Dallas Morning News, which also dates its lineage to April 11, 1842, conflating its far shorter history with that of The Daily News — rolled off the presses. By 1890, the north Texas municipality’s population for the first time topped Galveston’s, making it then the state’s largest city. Belo on Oct. 12, 1874, had hired an English-born 15-year-old named George Bannerman Dealey. The former colonel had asked the boy what experience he had; Dealey responded that in addition to pumping his church organ, he was employed in pulling a string that put in motion streamers to shoo flies inside the Fifth Avenue Hotel’s dining room, leading Belo to deem him sufficiently versatile for newspaper work and brought him on as an office boy. Dealey proved a quick study, and 11 years later was assigned to the Dallas paper. After Belo’s death in 1901, Dealey assumed full editorial control. He would go on to stridently oppose the Ku Klux Klan, which by the early 1920s had established a stronghold in Dallas. The Klan fought back, persuading advertisers, those sympathetic to the white supremacists, to cancel their paid promotions, and organizing boycotts against those business owners who persisted in hawking their wares and services in the Dallas News. The paper’s revenue soon began to plummet even as The Galveston News, too, fell on hard times as readers and advertisers alike perceived it as having become too reliant on content provided by the then Dallas-based Belo company and no longer truly local. They abandoned it in droves. By 1922, A.H. Belo & Co., now in the hands of the colonel’s daughter, Jeannette Belo Peabody, and his son’s widow, Helen Ponder Belo, and its reserves all but gone, received an unsolicited offer from Galveston businessman and financier W.L. Moody Jr. to buy the ailing Galveston paper. The bid proved a godsend for both papers. VII. A RELUCTANT DIVESTITURE On March 1, 1923, The News changed hands — the first time in the paper’s then nearly 81-year history that an outsider had come W.L. Moody Jr. at his desk. MARY MOODY NORTHEN ENDOWMENT
in and taken over — and the proceeds from the sale allowed the beleaguered Dallas News to survive its fight against the Klansmen. Three years later, the paper had largely defeated the Klan, which Dealey at one point described in print as “a slander on Dallas.” Klan membership in Dallas fell from a high of some 13,000 in 1920 to 1,200 by the end of 1926, the year Dealey purchased A.H. Belo & Co. from its founder’s family. The Belo family, not wishing to publicly concede the damage the Klan attacks had done to the company’s fortunes, had put a brave face on the 1923 sale, contending that they had turned down any number of previous offers for the Galveston paper. “We were reluctant to think of parting with ownership of our original newspaper which is intertwined with the history of Texas and with which tender memories are associated, and we were firmly resolved that we would never permit it to pass to interests that could not be relied upon to maintain it in accordance with its honorable traditions or that would imperil the interests of the people of Galveston,” the Belo company said in a statement announcing the sale. “We have listened to and accepted Mr. Moody’s offer to purchase because we believed that the conditions that we had imposed upon ourselves were met by him. As he said in his own statement, ‘It is our purpose to continue The News on the high standard of conservation, accuracy and impartiality so ably maintained in the past.’” The sale was well-received on the island. Ad revenue picked up, as did circulation, and The News soon returned to profitability. In October 1926, Moody formed The Galveston News Inc., after also purchasing the rival Tribune. Moody, who was born in Fairfield in January 1865, had gone on to make his fortune in banking and insurance. By 1907, he had opened City National Bank, later known as Moody National Bank, and had a hand in establishing the American National Insurance Company, of which he took full ownership in 1908. Before Moody’s purchase of The News, the paper had begun to place more importance on sports, social goings-on, literature and other coverage considered innovative at the time. The additions were well received. In 1904, the Sunday edition included color comics. The News, after a period of retrenchment brought on by its pre-Moody slump, soon expanded coverage of mainland Galveston County with particular emphasis on Texas City, which grew as World War II spurred demand for products from its refineries and chemical companies, the industries that had come to define it. VIII. ARRIVING AT THE PRESENT The Daily News, as it eventually had come to be known, in 1963 again changed hands when the Hobby family, the owners of the Houston Post, purchased it and its affiliated publications. Oveta Hobby, former Gov. William Hobby’s widow, oversaw The Daily News and commissioned the design and construction of new offices, at 8522 Teichman Road, where it continues to operate. Yet, the Hobby family’s ownership, marred by in-house decisions poorly received by Daily News readers, was shortlived. They had killed off the Tribune; had moved The Daily News to afternoon distribution, while reducing its publication from seven days a week to six; and had promoted their Post as the morning read — none of which went over well with subscribers. So it was that the paper was ripe for purchase.
14 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
Dortheia Armstrong Christopher Sullins Samantha Ketterer Catherine Boudoin Paul Mottesheard Jennifer Reynolds Irene Alvarado • David Bean Janna Ceccacci • Matt deGrood • Steven Mooney Maureen Beans • Yvonne Mascorro • Donna Rhoades Eric Satterly • Melanie Perry • Desiree Culver • John Pire Allison Berry • Valerie Wells • Debbie Keith • Terry Sullins Jawanna Dunn • Mary Valencia • Mike Rode • David Kirby Skip McComb • Michael Bouras • Victor Lopez • Alex Linky Michael Otems • Stuart Villanueva • Reid Caro • Errick Breaux Amanda Krivokopich • Wiley Robinson • Jana Knoell • Robert Salinas • Sean Patterson James LaCombe • Lynette Tisdale • Stephen Maradeo • Laura Elder • Ain McWilliams John Rodriguez • Marissa Barnett • Emily Capetillo • Tom Dawson • Jasie Hughes Kristi Quigley • Michael A. Smith • Corey Ellis • D’Lorah Collier • Bobby Morrow Kevin M. Cox • Karen Knebel • Lamont Miller • Donna Bentley • Joseph Hurst Shelina Martin • Cindy Roberts • Patti Shelton • John Nagy • Darryl Eaton Angela Wilson • Broderick Wade • Melissa Rivera • Seames O’Grady Diane Mears Kaitlin Schmidt • Charles Elder • Kadie Rowe Arnold Andrew Reinsch • John Pool • Boyd Mallia Ellis Dustin Johnson • Joanna Mendoza Dave Mathews • Rene Schwartz John Wayne Ferguson Chere McComb Liliana Deleon Michael Bluitt Don Jackson Lisa Love Jose Soto
The Daily News may print on paper, but our most valuable assets pump blood, sweat and unbridled passion through their veins. On behalf of those who’ve come before us, those who are here today, and those who will carry the torch of The Daily News in the future, we proudly mark our 175th anniversary with the names of the employees of our newspaper. Respectfully, Leonard Woolsey, Publisher
(LEFT) John Romero pastes up an ad in offset. DAILY NEWS FILE Georgia-born B. Carmage Walls — who, armed with less than a high school education but with a remarkable eye for undervalued newspapers, had founded and built Southern Newspapers Inc. — purchased The Daily News in 1967 and immediately returned it to morning circulation, seven days a week. The paper became known as The Galveston County Daily News on Nov. 1, 1993, and two years later, on Christmas Day, 1995, made its online debut, one of the first newspapers in Texas to provide both print and digital editions. Walls’ career stands as an exemplum of the earnest pursuit of the American dream. Born in 1908 on a cotton farm outside the dirt-poor, south-central Georgia town of Cordele, he was one of 11 siblings. His newspapering career began inauspiciously and by happenstance. One day when he was 15, a decade after his father had moved the family to Orlando, Fla., he happened to accompany his cousin to the latter’s job stuffing inserts into that city’s Sentinel newspaper. A mailroom supervisor, seeing Walls standing idly by, offered him a job helping with the inserts. Walls, armed with the small paycheck that that modest labor provided him, decided to quit his studies. A quick learner and good with numbers, Walls rose in the Sentinel’s ranks, becoming head bookkeeper in 1931 when he was 24 — and he quickly got the paper’s accounts receivable caught up. Three years later, he became the paper’s business manager and earned the attention of Charles Marsh, an Austin-based entrepreneur with interests in a number of papers, including the Sentinel, under the umbrella of his General Newspapers Inc. Marsh in 1940 bought a controlling interest in the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph-News and named Walls general manager. Five years later, he promoted Walls to the General Newspapers presidency. Walls later founded his own company, Southern Newspapers Inc., through which the high school dropout became a multimillionaire; the fortune he eventually amassed placed him on Forbes magazine’s 1984 list of the 400 wealthiest Americans. One of Walls’ acquisitions was the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, which the former owner agreed to sell only if Walls also agreed to become its publisher. Walls did so, and during his tenure counted among his friends Texas-born President Lyndon Baines Johnson, a supporter of civil rights — and among his foes Alabama’s strident segregationist
governor, George Wallace, against whose racist policies Walls fought on the Advertiser’s editorial pages. In 1967, Walls sold the Advertiser and bought The Galveston Daily News, for which he created Galveston Newspapers Inc., a stand-alone B. CARMAGE WALLS corporation, and moved to Clear Lake. He died in 1998. Fourteen years later, he was inducted into the Texas Newspapers Hall of Fame. After Walls’ death, his wife of 44 years, the former Martha Ann Williams, better known as Molly, took the corporate reins, which she held until her death in 2014. Today, their daughter, Lissa Walls, is Southern Newspapers’ chief executive and the sole shareholder of both Southern Newspapers and Galveston Newspapers, which today publishes the award-winning magazine Coast Monthly, in addition to The Galveston County Daily News, continuing a 175-year tradition, now both online and on paper. Dolph Tillotson, president of Southern and a longtime publisher of The Daily News, credited Walls’ leadership for the paper’s success. “These are difficult days for many newspaper companies, but through Lissa’s leadership we’ve kept our focus on quality content and innovation in print,” Tillotson said. “To me, her leadership is the reason our performance is far better than average among our peers.” Molly Walls, in 2008, predicted both editions would remain indispensable. “I don’t think the print product will go away because, well, I just think that people like to have something in their hands that’s black and white, and they can read it and reread it and maybe say a few cuss words and write a letter to the editor,” she said for a 2008 Texas Newspaper Oral History. “I think that it’s the solidity of the newspaper, to have and hold, that will keep it alive.”
“I THINK THAT IT’S THE SOLIDITY OF THE NEWSPAPER, TO HAVE AND HOLD, THAT WILL KEEP IT ALIVE.” MOLLY WALLS
Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 17
SAMUEL BANGS The restless founder BY TOM BASSING
amuel Bangs, dead now more than a century and a half, certainly would have died 37 or so years earlier on were it not for the power of the press. Bangs was born around 1798 — accounts vary — near Boston — that is certain — where he learned the printing trade under a relative’s watch. The apprentice proved adept, and by the time he was 18 — a restless young man in a restless young nation — Bangs had made his way to Baltimore, where serendipity introduced him to a checkered Spanish colonel named Francisco Xavier Mina. Mina had recently fallen under the influence of a Mexican priest and an American army general, who convinced him to join Mexico’s fight to seek its freedom from Spain. Mina despised King Ferdinand VII’s fealty to the French, and after participating in a failed coup against the ruler, he fled to London, where in 1816 he met Father José Servando Teresa de Mier and Gen. Winfield Scott, the two men who convinced him he could gain vengeance on Ferdinand by helping to liberate Mexico. Mier was an ardent Mexican nationalist, and Scott reputedly promised him the United States, still irked by the Spanish sinking of the USS Maine, would support his filibuster. Mina, convinced, set sail, stopping first at Baltimore, where he recruited Bangs to run the hand press Mier had brought to run off broadsides to rally the Mexican revolutionaries, and then at Galveston. On Galveston Island on Feb. 22, 1817, Bangs produced on Mier’s press the first known document ever printed in Texas: “The Proclamation of General Mina.” By the time Mina left Galveston some months later, his armada boasted eight ships carrying 235 men under arms. Virtually all were doomed. AN IMPRISONED PRINTER Within months of the group’s arrival in Mexico, most of Mina’s men had been captured or killed. Mina suffered both fates, captured in northern Mexico and some months later — in either October or November 1817 — executed by firing squad. Bangs, too, had been captured, but the Spanish valued his ability to operate Mier’s press, on which he was made to print Royalist tracts until Mexico in August 1821 won its independence, and the printer was freed. Yet, Bangs stayed on for a time, printing proclamations for the new government, before eventually returning to the United States, where he wooed and won the former Suzanne Payne but failed to find suitable employment. He returned to Mexico, with his wife, where he worked as a government printer in the northern state of Tamaulipas until she died there in 1837 of yellow fever. Bangs made his way to Mobile, Ala., where he married for a second time, to the former Caroline French, and, in 1838,
18 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
headed back to Galveston with his bride and two of her brothers, fellow printers. Bangs took over the struggling Daily Galvestonian newspaper and named one of the brothers-in-law, George H. French, editor. When the paper soon foundered, Bangs, undaunted, produced a new paper, The Daily News, which first appeared on April 11, 1842, again with French as editor. SUSPENDED PUBLICATION Bangs’ second foray into newspapering didn’t initially go much better than had his first. The Daily News vanished for a year, during which time he sold it to two New Englanders who had arrived in Galveston after fighting in the Texas Revolution. The new owners, Michael Cronican and Wilbur Cherry, rented a press from Bangs — believed to be R. Hoe & Co.’s Washington Press No. 2369 on which The Daily News putatively had been printed — and, too, the building on Tremont Street in which it sat. And, too, they kept French on as editor of the paper, which they renamed The News. Yet, the ever restless Bangs stayed on the island only until 1845, when, with the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, he and his wife followed Army Gen. Zachary Taylor south to Corpus Christi, where with a financial partner he launched that city’s Gazette. When Taylor’s troops soon moved south to the Rio Grande, Bangs again followed him, and in Matamoros began publishing what would be his final paper, the Reveille, which included a Spanish-language supplement published by a Mexican who, not surprisingly, took Mexico’s side in the ongoing war. Taylor in a rage ordered the Reveille shut down and Bangs jailed, although the pressman was allowed to argue his innocence — that he had merely rented equipment to the offender — and was freed, once again, although he never resumed printing the paper. AN IGNOMINIOUS END So ended Bang’s desultory career as a publisher. He and Caroline instead opened a hotel in Point Isabel but not until after Bangs had returned briefly to Galveston. There he loaded all of his possessions onto a ship bound for Port Isabel. It sank, taking all he owned, save for his pride and the clothes on his back. One day in 1849, Bangs set out from Port Isabel for Brownsville by stagecoach, only to be waylaid. The marauders ordered him and his fellow passengers to strip naked, after which Bangs either was freed or managed to flee. With the confiscation of the clothes off his back, Bangs now stood stripped to the same naked state in which he had entered the world half a century before. Thoroughly disillusioned — and broke — he abandoned Texas forever, moving to Georgetown, Ky., where he briefly worked in the pressroom of that city’s daily Herald. It was there, on May 31, 1854, that Samuel Bangs died. The erstwhile filibuster, printer, publisher and would-be hotelier was believed to be 56 years old.
WILLARD RICHARDSON A steadying hand on the helm BY TOM BASSING
enjamin Neal was a fine writer and an early partner in The News, as the Galveston paper came to be known a year after it debuted as The Daily News on April 11, 1842. Yet, his greatest contribution to the newspaper came by way of an invitation he extended to a former schoolmaster he had met when both were working at the Houston Telegraph and Texas Register newspaper. The colleague, Willard Richardson, had come to journalism
Willard Richardson was a staunch supporter and promoter of Galveston Island. COURTESY
in a decidedly roundabout fashion. Born on June 24, 1802, in Marblehead, Mass., he moved to Charleston, S.C., when he was 15. The state in which Richardson was born and the state he adopted jointly fashioned his world view. Both were among the original 13 colonies — the Province of Massachusetts Bay and the Province of South Carolina — which became the original 13 United States of America and as such tended to impart to their citizens an independent streak. The latter, a slaveholding state well after the institution had been abolished in the North, also tended to promote in its citizens an expanded view of states’ rights. Richardson embraced both. FINDING A HOME The future newspaper publisher and owner adhered to the philosophy of John Calhoun, a South Carolina Democrat who served as the nation’s vice president from 1825 to 1832 and in the U.S. Senate for all but two years between 1832 and 1850, all the while promulgating what he held to be the primacy of state law over that of the nation. Richardson would go on to support the same through The News. Richardson, after graduating from South Carolina College, started out as an educator, first in Tuscaloosa, Ala., before, in 1837, making his way to Texas, where he befriended Mirabeau Lamar, who would become the second president of the Republic of Texas, succeeding Sam Houston, the hero of San Jacinto. Richardson briefly worked as a surveyor of vast tracts of western Texas and then, after Lamar assumed the republic’s presidency, served in minor governmental posts. Neither occupation particularly suited him, and so it was that he returned to teaching, opening a school for boys in Houston. During that time, he made the acquaintance of Francis Moore, the editor of the Houston Telegraph and Texas Register, who invited him to join the editorial staff. It was there that he met Neal, who soon left to join The News. The Galveston paper by then was run by a man named Wilbur Cherry, who brought Neal on as a junior partner. Richardson, in 1844, accepted Neal’s offer to become the paper’s editor. SOON A PARTNER The following year, Richardson became a partner in what was then Cherry, Neal & Co. He brought to The News a philosophy contrary to what was common to most Texas newspapers of the era: No longer would The News toe any particular political party line. Moreover, it would feature straightforward news as opposed to the pontifications that then passed for journalism. And, too, he saw the paper — Galveston being Texas’ predominant city throughout Richardson’s life — as something that should serve to benefit all who lived in the soon-to-be state. Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 19
“The interests of the new state will be better promoted by keeping aloof from party contests,” Richardson wrote in an editorial in 1845, the year he became a partner in the paper’s ownership and the last year of the Republic of Texas. “We believe it is our duty to have decided opinions upon all public questions and to declare them frankly, giving our reasons for them, regardless of whether they are considered as favoring one party or the other.” TORN ON SECESSION Richardson was not a man without stain; he not only sided with those advocating the preservation of slavery, he held a slave. But he opposed secession. Texas in the late 1850s boasted an emerging economy, in no small part due to Richardson’s widespread promotion of the state as a land of opportunity, and the publisher argued that secession would only disrupt that progress. Yet, when the state voted to throw in with the Confederacy — its second rebellion in 15 years against a nation to which it had pledged loyalty — Richardson went along with no small amount of fervor. Yet, he continued to promote Galveston and the rest of Texas. By 1856, he had conceived of a state-owned rail system and took his proposal to Austin for legislative approval, which wasn’t forthcoming. Still, Richardson’s well-argued and welladvertised plan spurred private development of rail lines. His editorial push also altered established railroaders’ plans, including those of the Southern Pacific, who had envisioned a sweep of track from the western banks of the Mighty Mississippi to the Pacific shore — just not through Texas. Richardson set out to persuade the Southern Pacific to his view. Twenty-seven years later, in 1883, an article on the front page of The News announced the opening of Pacific Southern service
“WE BELIEVE IT IS OUR DUTY TO HAVE DECIDED OPINIONS UPON ALL PUBLIC QUESTIONS AND TO DECLARE THEM FRANKLY, GIVING OUR REASONS FOR THEM, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY ARE CONSIDERED AS FAVORING ONE PARTY OR THE OTHER.” WILLARD RICHARDSON
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through Texas as part of the nation’s transcontinental rail system. It came eight years too late for Richardson to see. Willard Richardson, who in 1849 had married the former Louisa Blanche Murrell, breathed his last at 3:20 a.m. on July 26, 1875, at his home on Galveston Island. He was 73 years old.
A successor’s successes BY TOM BASSING
he first volley pierced the crown of the captain’s cap, the second the shoulder of the major’s coat; neither found flesh and bone. The captain — assistant adjutant-general of the Confederate Army’s Alabama Brigade, named Cousins — had co-written a brigade report identifying the 55th North Carolina Infantry Regiment as having failed to protect an artillery piece seized by Federal troops during an evening raid outside Suffolk, Va. The major, assigned to the 55th, was Alfred Belo. Belo’s commanding officer, Col. John Kerr Connally, on learning of the allegation, accosted Cousins and his deputy, a captain named Terrell, demanding they retract the offending report. Orders showed the 55th had been positioned elsewhere during the raid, but the Alabamians refused. “Colonel Connally ... called a meeting of the field officers and captains, stated the circumstances to them, and insisted the honor of the regiment required its officers should demand satisfaction from those who had slandered it,” the 55th’s adjutant wrote, according to the regiment’s official history. Connally challenged Terrell to a duel, and avowed that his second in command, Lt. Col. Maurice Smith, would deal with Cousins. Smith, however, a Presbyterian elder before the war, morally objected to dueling. Belo volunteered. The matter would be settled at 40 paces. But a reprieve was in the works even as Cousins and Belo reloaded for a third round. “The friends of Colonel Connally and Captain Terrell were engaged in an effort to make an honorable settlement of the affair, and Captain Terrell, who was a gallant officer and true gentleman, became satisfied that he had been mistaken in the report which he had made and which had been the cause of offense, and he withdrew the same, which action prevented any further hostilities.” No blood was shed that day, but Belo’s soon would flow. PROMOTION BY BLOOD At Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, Belo — now a colonel after two battlefield promotions — led a charge at the dug-in Union forces, who unleashed a fusillade of rifle and artillery fire. The assault came midway through three days of carnage on the Pennsylvania battlefield. An artillery shard struck Belo, ripping apart his leg, a wound that took the better part of a year to heal. When it did, he resumed command of the 55th North Carolina Regiment and on June 3, 1864, led his troops on a similar charge during the second battle of Cold Harbor — with a similar result. “Colonel Belo was seriously wounded in this charge,” Cooke reported. “Colonel Belo’s wound was in the arm, half way between the elbow and shoulder joint; the bone was shattered and the operation of re-section was performed.” The round and the surgery rendered Belo’s left arm useless — and ended his war.
“The loss to the regiment was irreparable,” Cooke wrote. “He had been with the regiment in all its hard-fought battles, and had the absolute confidence of every man in the regiment. He was cool and intrepid. … He had a genius for organization.” Those qualities, that genius, would serve him well in his return to civilian life. LONG WAY TO TEXAS Belo’s injury at Cold Harbor ended his days in combat, but not in service; he accompanied Gen. Robert E. Lee to Appomattox, where, on April 9, the Confederate commander surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. The war was over. Belo had heard of opportunity in Texas and set out on horseback, reaching Houston, where in August 1865 the 26-year-old veteran was introduced to Willard Richardson, the owner and publisher of The Galveston News. Belo’s bearing and service record impressed the publisher, who had ardently supported the Confederacy. He offered the colonel a six-month assignment, paying $500 in gold, to straighten out the newspaper’s delinquent accounts. Belo in short order collected the bulk of debts owed by subscribers and advertisers and otherwise cleaned up the paper’s books. Impressed, Richardson offered him a share of the company. On March 1, 1866, almost exactly six months after Belo’s arrival at the paper, he was promoted to junior partner in charge of business. When Richardson died nine years later, Belo bought out the publisher’s heirs and took full ownership of the company, which in 1881 he incorporated as A.H. Belo & Co. A LASTING LEGACY Four years later, on Oct. 1, 1885, Belo launched a sister paper, the Dallas News. His philosophy, handed down by Richardson, reflected his mentor’s commitment to an independent journal. “A great newspaper must be serenely indifferent to personal likes and dislikes, personal opinions and prejudices inside or outside of its organization, which would interfere with its functions as a faithful collector and disseminator of news; as a voice, an intelligence and a reasoning conscience, to interpret for the reading public the ripest thought and best judgment of the time touching all questions of public concern,” Belo wrote. He continued to oversee The News, commissioning the architect Nicholas Clayton to design an elegant, solid, threestory building in the 2100 block of Mechanic Street to consolidate the paper’s business offices, its newsroom and composing room and its latest press. The building opened in 1884, and for the next 17 years The News thrived under the colonel’s command. Alfred Horatio Belo was born in Salem, N.C., on May 27, 1839, and died on April 19, 1901, while visiting his family’s summer home in Asheville, N.C., where he often traveled in his later years to recuperate from his evermore debilitating war injuries. Now, 116 years later, Belo is survived both by the paper he founded and by the paper that adopted him. Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 21
FIVE QUESTIONS FOR DAILY NEWS OWNER LISSA WALLS BY MICHAEL A. SMITH
hile most of this publication is dedicated to the people and events that shaped and directed The Galveston County Daily News during its long history, it’s appropriate to spend a little time on the leaders of the future. To that end, The Daily News posed five questions to Lissa Walls. She is the daughter of Carmage and Martha Ann Walls, whose leadership shaped the modern Daily News, and sole proprietor of the newspaper. Walls has been in the newspaper business since 1980. She began her career as a reporter for the Rosenberg (Texas) Herald Coaster, owned by Hartman Newspapers, and became chief operating officer of Southern Newspapers in 1985. She was elected CEO in March 2014. She has served on the boards of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation, Mutual Insurance Company and Trinity University and is a past vice chairwoman of The Associated Press. She was born in Guntersville, Ala., and moved to the Houston area with her family in 1973. She is a 1980 graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio and lives in Houston. Q: You were born into a newspaper family. Did you pursue it as a career because it was the family business or for other reasons? A: I never entertained any other career or profession. My parents were true partners, both actively engaged in a business that doesn’t get left at the office after 5 p.m. It’s part of your life, almost as if Southern were another child with a seat at the table. I saw how exciting and challenging it was. My parents did interesting things, went to interesting places, had interesting friends. I saw how much fun they were having. I wanted that and it has been that for me. I still find this business exciting, challenging and fun. Q: In the context of the newspaper and the company’s other publications and operations there, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Galveston County? A: Well, it’s a couple of things. Each community is unique, but there are some that are more unique than others. Galveston County is very unique, and it’s just a wonderful place to work as a journalist or to own and publish a newspaper. Southern has always expected high quality journalism from its papers, and The Daily News has always set the standard of quality for the other newspapers. Q: We’ve had a decade or two of gloom and doom about the future of printed newspapers. What’s your best professional estimate about the future of newspapers like The Daily News? A: I can only speak about newspapers in small and medium-sized communities, but I think that if you have a small or medium-sized newspaper in a community with a stable or growing economy, you have a very good future. There’s an if, though, and it’s a very 22 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
big if — If you commit the resources to produce high-quality, accurate, engaging, relevant content that fulfills a need in that community. I think every community has a need for that kind of content, and I don’t think it can be fulfilled in any other way. It can’t be done with social media, and it LISSA WALLS can’t be done on a digital platform alone. The product may change in the future. We may package that content differently, but it comes back to quality content that is relevant to the community. If you are producing that, then yes, this is a good business to be in. Certainly, there’s a place for digital publications, but print is still the primary medium and will be for some years to come. Q: What is most important to you about community newspapers? I’d like you to consider your answer from three perspectives, if you would: the journalism, the business and the community partner, or corporate citizen, maybe is a better description. A: It’s an interesting question, but I don’t think you can separate any one from the others. What you have there is three legs of a stool, each essential to supporting the others. You can’t have a strong community newspaper if you’re not doing all three of those things well. If it’s not a strong business, it can’t pay its employees a competitive wage or offer good benefits, so it can’t hire the best people. It can’t invest in the equipment, technology and the facilities you need to do the job. If you’re not producing good journalism, you’re not going to attract the readers and the advertisers you need to have a strong business. Being part of the community — being a very active part of the community, in my mind — is just as essential. Q: When you think back over your time with The Daily News, what are the three or four most memorable stories, just the first that come to mind? A: Hurricane Ike. I’ll just say that three times. Honestly, there have been a lot of stories that have been important to the community, but in my career there hasn’t been anything as important as how the paper covered that hurricane from the beginning until now, because we still feel the effects. I’ve always been proud of The Daily News and the people who worked so hard during, and served the community so well during that time. There have always been other challenges, and we have not always gotten it right, but we got it right that time, and I’m very proud of that.
Celebrating 175 years First Chamber in Texas
with our first chamber member!
Happy aNNIversary GalvestON COuNty DaIly NeWs
Are you a member? JOIN NOW!
www.GalvestonChamber.com Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 23
AT THE CORE, IT’S THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE THE PLACE BY DOLPH TILLOTSON
his summer, I’ll celebrate 30 years in Galveston. The late Vince Stiglich took a photo of me on my first day as publisher. The man in Vince’s picture is too young for his job. He’s trying to smile but smirks instead. If you look closely enough, there’s also a touch of fear in his eyes. Galveston and The Daily News changed me. That change did not come from the ups and downs of business. It didn’t come from the dramatic shifts in technology. (In 1987 the internet existed, just barely. None of us had ever written an email, and spam was a disgusting form of lunchmeat.) The change did not come from politics — always a passionate and bloody sport in Galveston. No. People, flesh and blood human beings, are at the heart of all real change. The Daily News gave my friends and me the opportunity to tell those human stories. What a strange and challenging trip it’s been, so full of victories and defeats, so filled with remarkable people. The month I arrived in Galveston, Shearn Moody was on the cover of Texas Monthly under the headline, “The sleaziest man in Texas.” I met him later at The Shrimp Boat, proudly flamboyant. J.R. McConnell came to me as a disembodied voice from a Houston jail cell. Weeks later, he committed suicide in disgrace. In Galveston, money, or at least the appearance of it, buys instant acceptance. But, oh, don’t slip. The fall is deep and painful. Robert Durst came to Galveston pretending — pretending to be mute, pretending to be a woman, pretending to be poor. Who could guess that his truth would turn out to be so much more bizarre? The reporting staff of The Galveston County Daily News works by lantern light in the conference room at the newspaper after Hurricane Ike. A web of extension cords run through the windows to generators on the loading dock. JENNIFER REYNOLDS
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Dolph Tillotson on his first day as publisher of The Daily News. VINCE STIGLICH There were tragedies — lost girls in killing fields, deadly blasts at refineries. There were stories of heroes and villains, of the brilliant and the addled. And there was Hurricane Ike. After the storm, some of our staff lost everything they owned. But they showed up in the wake of personal loss, working by lantern light around our conference table, funky and exhausted but inspired. I think of wonderful, talented colleagues — people like Rosetta Bonnin, Heber Taylor, D’Lorah Collier, Bill Cochrane and many more. I also think of our owners, Carmage and Martha Ann Walls and today of their daughter, Lissa. No newspaper ever had better or more generous owners than the Walls family. Galveston is a freewheeling place, unlike any other in Texas. All of you, the people who read the newspaper, grant us a kind of freedom that few small-town newspapers have. You have given my friends and me the opportunity to tell the human stories that give a place its myths, its culture and its identity. We can tell the truth when it’s pretty and when it’s ugly and every variation in between. For those of us who write, such freedom is the greatest gift. With it comes a responsibility to be courageous and to be right at least half the time. My assignment here was to write about what the newspaper has meant to me. The answer is simple. For me, this is a love story.
The University of Texas Medical Branch congratulates
The Galveston County Daily News on its 175th Anniversary
hat began in 1842 as a single broadsheet paper to inform the community on the happenings of the island and beyond, continues 175 years later. As the oldest newspaper in the state of Texas, The Daily News continues to tell the stories of Galveston County and the world. With its longstanding mission to improve health in Texas and beyond, the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB Health) shares the same commitment to our communities. Since 1891, the university has trained generations of health professionals and has made countless research and patient care advances, while our hometown newspaper has been there to share these wonders. Working togetherâ€”with local businesses, our employees, our students, our patients and our friends â€”we are working wonders to transform the future of health care and of our communities.
Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 25
NEWS WITHOUT VIEWS
Men work together to get the paper out. DAILY NEWS FILE
The Daily News’ resiliency and success can be directly tied to its integrity BY JIM YARBROUGH
“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” —Thomas Jefferson rom its original hand-cranked press, I believe that the “news without views” mantra that The Daily News was founded upon is the reason she has 175 years of recorded history today. Local newspapers are an invaluable resource for communities. Our founders understood the importance of educating our citizenry and a transparent government. As the mayor of Galveston, I personally can appreciate this sentiment. For 175 years, The Daily News has covered the governing body of Galveston while standing independent of political parties. They have been a voice to the inner workings at city hall and an opportunity for citizens to become engaged. She can be credited with inspiring political careers, public movements to support or
26 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
protest, and a driver for voters to fulfill their civic duty. She is honest in her coverage, and the integrity with which The Daily News has enjoyed for 175 years can be directly tied to her success. She is a historian, a storyteller and a record keeper of times that we’ve gotten it right, and times when we’ve JIM YARBROUGH gotten it wrong. The community of Galveston is blessed to have a local paper that has withstood the test of time and managed to reinvent itself along the way to keep current with the trends. As Jefferson so eloquently stated, I would prefer to have newspapers without a government, rather than government without newspapers. I would like to personally thank The Daily News for 175 years of service to this community; here’s to the next 175!
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MAJOR STORIES THROUGH THE YEARS
THE SECESSION A losing battle to avoid joining a lost cause BY TOM BASSING
t was a momentous decision, one that Willard Richardson had fought against, then accepted as Texas’ secession from the Union became all but ordained. So it was that The Galveston News owner and publisher made his way to Austin in late January 1861 to report on the proceedings of a weeklong convention called to draft and vote on an ordinance to sever the state’s ties to the nation it had eagerly joined a mere 15 years and a month before. Richardson’s report on the gathering’s conclusion ran in a single-page Extra edition of The News under a decidedly workaday headline: “Texas State Convention. Last Day’s Proceedings.” “Austin, Tuesday, Feb. 5th, 1861 — The Convention met at 3 p.m. yesterday. … “Gen. [John] Sanford … was welcomed by the President [of the convention] as the representative of the sovereign and independent State of Georgia. Having then been conducted to the President’s stand, Gen. S. delivered an eloquent address setting forth some of the objects of his mission, and the causes that impelled Georgia to secede from the Federal Union, and expressed his gratification at the prospect that Texas would also soon occupy the same position, and both States would speedily constitute part of a Southern Confederacy, in which our common rights and institutions should be preserved. … “Enclosed I send the Declaration of the causes that have induced the Convention to adopt the Ordinance of Secession. W. R.” The latter document — “A DECLARATION Of the Causes Which Impel the State of Texas to Secede From the Federal Union” — ran in full in the Extra; it began with an accounting of the former Republic of Texas’ Dec. 29, 1845, admission as a state: “Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the confederated States, to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility, and secure more substantially the blessings of liberty and peace to her people.” Left unsaid was that the consent brought with it federal funds sufficient to retire the Republic of Texas’ debilitating, multimillion-dollar debt. The declaration then assumed the words and tenor of a white-supremacist diatribe. “She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery — the servitude of the Africans to the white race within her limits — a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should continue to exist in all future time. Her traditions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and the other slaveholding States of the Confederacy.” 28 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
MAJOR STORIES THROUGH THE YEARS
IN THE DECADE PRECEDING THE ADOPTION OF THE ORDINANCE OF SECESSION, THE TEXAS POPULATION HAD VIRTUALLY TRIPLED, TO 604,215 PEOPLE, 182,921 OF WHOM WERE ENSLAVED. The declaration proceeded to list grievances attributed to abolitionists. “They have, for years past, encouraged and sustained lawless organizations to steal our slaves and prevent their re-capture. ... “They have invaded Southern soil and murdered unoffending citizens; and, through the press, their leading men and a fanatical pulpit, have bestowed praise upon the actors and assassins in these crimes — while the Governors of several of their States have refused to deliver parties implicated and indicted for participation in such offenses, upon the legal demands of the States aggrieved. “They have, through the mails and hired emissaries, sent seditious pamphlets and papers among us to stir up servile insurrection and bring blood and carnage to our firesides. “They have sent hired emissaries among us to burn our towns and distribute arms and poison to our slaves for the same purpose. “They have impoverished the slaveholding States by unequal and partial legislation, thereby enriching themselves by draining our substance. “They have refused to vote appropriations for protecting Texas against ruthless savages, for the sole reason that she is a slaveholding State. … “We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the [Union] itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as inferior and dependent races, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable. … “For these and other reasons, solemnly asserting that the Federal Constitution has been violated and virtually abrogated … and realizing that our own State can no longer look for protection, but to God and her own sons — We the delegates of the people of Texas, in convention assembled, have passed an ordinance dissolving all political connection with the government of the United States of America and the people thereof and confidently appeal to the intelligence and patriotism of the freemen of Texas to ratify the same at the ballot box, on the 23rd day of the present month. … “Adopted in Convention on the 2nd day of Feb., in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty one … .” In the decade preceding the adoption of the Ordinance of Secession, the Texas population had virtually tripled, to 604,215 people, 182,921 of whom were enslaved. Gov. Sam Houston had argued strenuously against secession — albeit allowing that should Texans vote to do secede, the state should return to its status as a republic and not join the Confederacy — but many of the state’s newcomers hailed from other slaveholding states, and Houston’s argument was dismissed. The ordinance passed by a vote of 166 aye to eight nay. On Feb. 23, 1861, three quarters of the roughly 61,000 Texans who voted in the statewide referendum similarly affirmed the ordinance, and, on March 2, Texas became the seventh member of the lost cause that was the Confederacy. Two days later, on March 4, President Abraham Lincoln raised his right hand, placed his left on a Bible, and solemnly swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. Houston, the hero of Texas’ independence, the first elected president of the Republic of Texas, and, too, the third, and twice elected the state’s governor, 12 days later refused to swear allegiance to the Confederacy — and his colleagues in Austin ousted him from office. The following month, on April 12, the bloody, awful war began. Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 29
MAJOR STORIES THROUGH THE YEARS
GALVESTON HARBOR DEEPENING Hard-won water fight BY TOM BASSING
illard Richardson from at least 1868 to the last days of his life had advocated in the pages of The Daily News for the deepening of the Galveston Harbor, portraying it as the island’s passage to its future. By then, with the Civil War past and Reconstruction underway, railroad companies had begun rapidly extending their physical and economic reach, and Houston was challenging Galveston’s primacy as the principal Gulf Coast port in the vast sweep between New Orleans and Veracruz, Mexico. Seaborne arrivals to Galveston at the time had to be offloaded onto so-called lighters to bring their wares ashore, even as shipyards were cranking out larger and heavier ships with ever deeper drafts. Even Mother Nature wasn’t helping matters. While the Houston shipping channel, scrubbed by the current, remained passable to the largest of ships, sand had begun to shoal inside and out of Galveston’s harbor, reducing its depth in places to 8 feet. The city, led by the island’s great benefactor Henry Rosenberg, formed a Board of Harbor Improvements, which raised $15,000 and embraced a plan calling for a series of cedar pilings to be driven off the island’s east end. The plan worked, concentrating the current to scour the seabed — but the harbor remained inaccessible to the heaviest ships. David Scott of the U.S. Coast Guard walks through a passenger bridge way overlooking the port while taking a tour of the Port of Galveston’s Cruise Terminal No. 2 during the 2017 Port of Galveston Community Open House. STUART VILLANUEVA
What was needed was a harbor 26 or more feet deep, a firstclass harbor, experts in the matter agreed. The Daily News joined in, avowing that nothing less than Galveston’s economic survival was at stake. Delegations lobbied Congress, given that only federal coffers were sufficiently endowed to finance such a project; it required an estimated sum of $7 million — $184 million in today’s dollars. They got nowhere, until, finally, Congress relented in 1890, 22 years after Richardson, then the publisher and co-owner of The Daily News, had first pushed for deepening Galveston’s harbor — and 15 years after his death. The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1890 committed the U.S. Treasury to spending $6.2 million for Galveston’s harbor. President Benjamin Harrison on Sept. 19 signed the bill into law, and The Daily News’ headlines the following morning — Sept. 20, 1890 — exulted: TIME TO REJOICE. “Galveston Has Many Reasons to Shout and Be Happy. “After Patient Watching, Disappointments and Suffering the Bill Which Makes Galveston a Great City Becomes a Law.” An unnamed correspondent, filing his report from Washington, D.C., noted that the bill had passed despite opposition from others along the Texas coast. “The news which came in this morning about 11 o’clock from Cresson Springs, where the president is adjourning, stated that he had signed the river and harbor bill. … “Texas gets about $7,000,000 under it, an amount which ought to satisfy the most voracious of her citizens. The great bulk of this appropriation, however, goes to Galveston. … “There were several points on the Texas coast which worked against the Galveston idea because they thought that the appropriation of such a great amount to the Galveston harbor meant little or no appropriation for them. Then there were private schemes of different kinds which opposed the Galveston appropriation. It is unnecessary to go over the whole story here. It is an interesting but lengthy one. … “Senator [Richard] Coke is entitled to the great credit of having passed the first bill appropriating $6,200,000 direct both in the senate commerce committee and the senate, without a dissenting voice against it. … “Now that the bill has become a law, the matter of preparing to commence the work on the harbor will be entered actively into. Mr. [Walter] Gresham will call at the war department tomorrow to have a conference with the engineers to draw plans and specifications for the completion of the work, as now authorized by law, on which advertisement for bids will be made.” The Daily News — then owned and published by Alfred Belo, who, in 1885, had launched a sister publication, today known as The Dallas Morning News — applauded the paper’s dogged shepherding of the legislation. 30 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
Galveston harbor in 1896. ROSENBERG LIBRARY
“For almost a quarter of a century, The News, first as a single publication at Galveston and next as a joint publication at Galveston and Dallas, has contended for the establishment of a deepwater entrance to Galveston harbor,” Belo wrote in an editorial. “For almost a quarter of a century it has waged a continuous campaign for this cause without wearying or wavering, without relaxing or relenting, sometimes with the aid of and encouragement of outside influence, sometimes alone and unencouraged, and occasionally even in the face of strong opposition from antagonized and antagonizing interests; but always and under all circumstances in view the best interests of Texas and the Southwest. … The struggle has been long and severe, but at length The News has the proud satisfaction that its efforts have been crowned with final success.” Soon enough, the Port of Galveston would accommodate the largest of cargo ships, including the Algoa, a British steamer with a previously unheard of 21-foot draft. By 1896, the historian David McComb noted in his seminal history of Galveston, “[t]he size of vessels using the port jumped by 24 percent. In the next few years Galveston exports increased by 55 percent, and imports by 37 percent.” Today, the Port of Galveston, with a depth of 45 feet, ranks as the nation’s fourth-busiest port for cruise ships, the anchorage’s principal source of revenue.
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Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 31
MAJOR STORIES THROUGH THE YEARS
THE GREAT FIRE Covering the catastrophe
Few buildings still stand at 19th and Postoffice streets after The Great Fire of 1885. ROSENBERG LIBRARY BY TOM BASSING
y the time the Great Fire of 1885 had burned itself out, a 100-acre swath of Galveston Island lay in ruins. The following morning, Saturday, Nov. 14, headlines in The Galveston Daily News amply described the catastrophe: A GREAT HOLOCAUST. More Than Forty Blocks of Buildings Destroyed. 100 Acres in the Heart of the City Laid Bare. About 2,300 People Made Homeless at a Single Blow. The first alert sounded during the previous day’s witching hours. “About 1:45 o’clock yesterday morning the alarm bell gave the signal which foretold one of the most dire conflagrations which has ever devastated Galveston Island, sweeping as it did almost from bay to gulf across the island, destroying in its path some of the most elegant residences of Galveston, and reducing to ashes a portion of the city in territorial area about 100 acres, all thickly populated and embracing about forty squares, with nothing now to mark the place where stately residences once stood save a number of ghostly chimneys and an occasional bare wall where a brick building chanced to be in the wake of the devouring flames. “The holocaust was confined to the residence portion of the city, composed almost entirely of frame buildings, where
32 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
scarcely a vestige remains over the burned district to outline the places where the houses so recently stood, some palatial mansions and others less pretentious, but all bearing the happy name of home to several thousand people who today are homeless.” The blaze ignited after a foundry’s furnace was left lit and unattended — and fanned by nature’s indifference. “The flames were first discovered in the rear of what was known as the Vulcan foundry, and while the direct origin can not be traced, it is supposed to have occurred from the leaving of fire in the furnace, which may have been fanned into flames by the stiff gale which prevailed during the night. This foundry was located on Strand, between Sixteenth and Seventeenth streets, and the fire was first seen in the rear of the foundry, on the alley between Strand and Avenue A, about the location of the furnace.
“THE SCENE WAS SUBLIME IN ITS VERY AWFULNESS, AND TO THE LOOKERS-ON IT SOON BECAME APPARENT THAT ALL EFFORTS WOULD BE USELESS IN TRYING TO CHECK THE HEADSTRONG FURY OF THE FLAMES.” THE GALVESTON DAILY NEWS, NOV. 14, 1885
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MAJOR STORIES THROUGH THE YEARS
The Great Fire destroyed nearly everything in its path as seen here at the corner of 18th and Postoffce Streets. ROSENBERG LIBRARY “It was some time after the discovery of the fire that a general alarm was sounded; hence a consequent delay of the arrival of the fire department. Add to this the very defective working of the waterworks and the fact from 2 to 4 o’clock a.m. the wind registered a velocity of thirty miles an hour.” Most of Galveston’s building and housing stock at the time was built of wood — much still is today — and with the neargale-force wind blowing from the northeast, the fire quickly burned toward the Gulf. “The flames soon spread with startling rapidity, and within a very few minutes were being blown a solid sheet of fire across Strand street, catching the frame buildings on the opposite or south side. While the fire department was very severely criticized, mainly by those opposed to the recent change to a paid system, they did, under the circumstances, about all that could be done with the limited number of men in the service, and after the flames had crossed the block between Strand and Mechanic and Sixteenth and Seventeenth streets the combined fire departments of the State would have proved ineffectual to overcome their progress. “On the northwest corner of the block between Strand and Mechanic and Sixteenth and Seventeenth streets was a lumber yard, at which every effort was directed to prevent its burning, as the high piles of dry lumber in flames would have been but kindling to the general fire. “The high wind, however, carried sparks and large pieces of blazing embers high up over house tops and through the air with a force that wafted them several squares ahead of the flames as death dealing couriers to announce the dire and inevitable result.” 34 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
Homeowners and others rushed to remove whatever belongings could be saved. They had underestimated the firestorm’s fever. “The scene was sublime in its very awfulness, and to the lookers-on it soon became apparent that all efforts would be useless in trying to check the headstrong fury of the flames, and then attention was turned toward trying to save what was possible of the effects of the houses in the immediate march of the stormbeaten flames. All volunteered to give a helping hand in this, and houses for blocks around were stripped of their contents, which were carried, as it was thought, out of danger — those living on the gulf front, who were busy in assisting their distressed neighbors living along the bay side, little dreaming that they would be called to the preservation of their own families and firesides.” Eventually, the fire, having consumed virtually everything in its path, encountered open ground. “The block between Eighteenth and Nineteenth and M½ and N, was consumed with the exception of one cottage on the northwest corner of the block. Petering out for want of food, and being offered some resistance by an engine that was placed here, the great fire was stopped at O, not, however, until it had destroyed the block between 19th and 20th and N and N½, and between 19th and 20th and N½ and O, excepting three small cottages on the south-west corner of the block. “The limit was reached about 6:30 or 7 o’clock, and within the space of about five hours over forty blocks of Galveston’s buildings succumbed to the flames.” All told, the terrible fire destroyed 568 houses, yet, miraculously, there is no evidence that a single life was lost.
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MAJOR STORIES THROUGH THE YEARS
THE 1900 STORM The angriest sea BY TOM BASSING
s the sun rose to its height in Galveston on Sept. 7, 1900, it brought about another unbearably hot and humid day in what had already been an unbearably hot and humid summer. Yet, the following day, a Saturday, brought relief. Low-hanging, black clouds began to build to the east and northeast, and a brisk, preternaturally cool breeze swept the island. Delighted residents took to their verandas or headed down to the beach where heavy waves had begun to pound the shore. There was a sense of holiday in the air even as the surge began to swamp the island’s lowest-lying areas. Few intuited the arriving peril, which later that day, amid ferocious wind and rain and cascading sea, would leave no fewer than 6,000 people dead, victims of what came to be known as the 1900 Storm. The Galveston Daily News that Saturday morning had noted
rain in the forecast — but offered no notion of what truly loomed. It did include an article reporting that the latest U.S. Census showed 8,000 people had moved to the island in the previous decade, an unknown number of whom were among the doomed. It wasn’t until the following Wednesday that the newspaper regained its footing and attempted to describe the enormity of what had befallen the island. The paper’s somber, grim account began with an acknowledgment that Galveston and the surrounding area had fallen victim to “one of the greatest catastrophes in the world’s history.” “Words are too weak to express the horror, the awfulness, of the storm itself; to even faintly picture the scene of devastation, wreck and ruin, misery, suffering and grief,” an unnamed editor wrote. “Even those who were miraculously saved after terrible experiences, who were spared to learn that their families and properties have been swept away, spared to witness scenes as horrible as the eye of man ever looked upon — even those cannot tell the story.
Looking west on Broadway from 13th Street after the 1900 Storm. ROSENBERG LIBRARY
36 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
MAJOR STORIES THROUGH THE YEARS
“There are stories of horrible deaths, thousands of stories of individual heroism, stories of wonderful rescues and escapes, each of which at another time would be a marvel in itself and would command the interest of the world. But in a time like this, when a storm so intense in its fury, so prolonged in its work of destruction, so wide in its scope and infinitely terrible in its consequences has swept an entire city and neighboring towns for many miles on either side, the human mind cannot comprehend all of the horror, cannot learn or know all of the dreadful particulars. One stands speechless and powerless to relate even that which he has felt and knows. … “The storm came not without warning, but the danger which threatened was not realized, not even when the storm was upon the city. Friday night the sea was angry. Saturday morning it had grown in fury and the wrecking of beach resorts began. The wind came at a terrific rate from the north. Still men went to their business and about their work, while hundreds went to the beach to witness the grand spectacle which the raging sea presented. As the hours rolled on the wind gained in velocity and the waters crept higher and higher. The wind changed from the north to the northeast, and the water came in from the bay, filling the streets. Men attempted to reach their homes in carriages, wagons, boats, afoot, in any way possible. … “Still the wind increased in velocity, even after it seemed impossible that it should be more swift. It changed from east to southeast, veering constantly, calming for a second, and then coming with awful, terrific jerks, so terrible in their power that no building could withstand them, and none wholly escaped injury. The maximum velocity of the wind will never be known. The gauge at the weather bureau registered 100 miles an hour and blew away at 5:10 o’clock. But the storm at that hour was as nothing when compared with what followed and the maximum velocity must have been as great as 120 miles an hour. The most intense period and the most anxious time was between 8:30 and 9 o’clock. With a raging sea rolling around them, with a wind so terrific that none could hope to escape its fury, with roofs being torn away and buildings crashing all around them, men, women and children were huddled This map shows the extent of destruction. Most Galvestonians died south of Broadway. ROSENBERG LIBRARY
Four men stand on debris from The Grand 1894 Opera House after the 1900 Storm. ROSENBERG LIBRARY in buildings, caught like rats, expecting to be crushed to death or drowned in the sea, yet cut off from escape. … “And all during the terrible storm acts of the greatest heroism were performed. Hundreds and hundreds of brave men, as brave as the world ever knew, buffeted with the waves and rescued hundreds and hundreds of their fellow men. … Then, like that, the storm passed and the full scope of the horror came to light. “Sunday morning came and bright sunshine fell upon a wrecked city,” the report continued. “Everywhere was wreck and ruin, everywhere was death and desolation. The streets were a tangle of debris, of broken timbers, brick and mortar, tangled wires and poles. Human bodies and the carcasses of animals lay all around. And yet the awfulness of the calamity was not felt. The mortality was estimated at 150 to 300; men put away the horrible thought that a greater number of their fellow men had perished. But every hour since then has brought fresh knowledge of the work of the storm, and estimates of the dead have passed into the thousands, until now it appears that the population of the city has been decimated.” With the ground initially sodden, those charged with the grim task of disposing of the dead realized the bodies couldn’t immediately be buried, and immediacy was of the utmost given the decomposition all around as the summer’s awful heat returned. Some bodies were sent out and buried at sea. In the calm after the storm, it was deemed that fires could be safely set with debris — the wreckage of a city — serving as fuel, and bodies were piled atop the pyres. The gruesome work continued amid hope that help soon would arrive. “Cut off from all rail communication, cut off from telegraphic communication, absolutely cut off from the outside world, the people of Galveston have gone ahead with their appalling task, confident that the world would come to their relief as speedily as possible,” the account continued. “Help is needed and needed quickly.” The disaster spurred the building of the 17-foot-tall seawall, on which work began in 1902 and continued through 1963. That, and vast improvements in hurricane prediction, have seen to it that such a toll has never recurred on the otherwise still vulnerable island. Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 37
MAJOR STORIES THROUGH THE YEARS
THE TEXAS CITY DISASTER Disaster in the hold BY TOM BASSING
n a brisk and sunny Wednesday morning in April 1947, a cargo ship loaded with thousands of tons of quietly smoldering ammonium nitrate suddenly exploded in port, demolishing much of Texas City. The tremendous blast generated such a tremor that a seismograph in Denver, 1,005 miles away, recorded the shock in a jittered scrawl. By the time a second, similarly devastating blast came 16 hours later — at 1:10 a.m., April 17, 1947 — a reporter for The Daily News named Roy E. Hanna was rushing to the scene. “I was driving along highway No. 146 and had reached the Republic Refining Corporation,” Hanna reported in time for that morning’s edition of the paper. “Suddenly, I looked up and noticed what appeared to be a floating rainbow rising gently into the black, smoke filled skies above. “At first I thought it was a butane tank at Monsanto, but after an investigation found it to be another ship.” It was the S.S. High Flyer, which crews had tried but failed to tow from the port before it exploded. “After I saw what was happening, I jumped out of my jeep, left it running in the road and hit the dirt in a ditch to seek protection. The ditch was full of gas and stagnant water, and I crawled into a drainage pipe to avoid the falling fragments of steel that whistled through the air like heavy artillery and showered the area for a mile or more. …” The explosions — first in the hold of the S.S. Grandcamp and then in that of the High Flyer — killed more than 600 people in what remains, still today, the nation’s worst industrial disaster. Windows were shattered as far off as Baytown, 25 miles across the water, and, too, in Galveston. “Mounting casualty lists from hospitals and aid stations showed that at least 400 persons were dead and over 700 were injured,” the April 17 lead story in The Daily News reported. “Rescue workers early Thursday still were struggling to give help to the injured yet unaided and to care for the bodies of the dead. “Estimates of the total number of deaths ranged from 450 to 1,200. Injuries were reported from one source at 4,000. Only a small portion of the 800 Monsanto employees were reportedly located. … “Almost every building was damaged, and many were uninhabitable. Many persons both in Texas City and elsewhere were still trying to learn the fate of relatives and friends. … “Virtually three-fifths of the industrial might of the petroleum, chemical and sugar shipping center was obliterated.” An official report on the disaster was released two weeks later. 38 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
“A fire discovered by stevedores preparing to resume loading of ammonium nitrate aboard the S.S. Grandcamp at Warehouse (Pier) O, about 8 a.m., April 16, 1947, resulted in the first of two disastrous explosions at 9:12 a.m., which destroyed the entire dock area, numerous oil tanks, the Monsanto Chemical Company, numerous dwellings and business buildings,” the report began. “The second explosion resulted from a fire in ammonium nitrate aboard the S.S. High Flyer, which occurred some sixteen hours later at 1:10 a.m. … “Approximately 1,000 residences and business buildings suffered either major structural damage or were totally destroyed. … Drill stems 30 feet long, 6 3/8 inches in diameter,
MAJOR STORIES THROUGH THE YEARS
“I WAS DRIVING ALONG HIGHWAY NO. 146 AND HAD REACHED THE REPUBLIC REFINING CORPORATION. SUDDENLY, I LOOKED UP AND NOTICED WHAT APPEARED TO BE A FLOATING RAINBOW RISING GENTLY INTO THE BLACK, SMOKE FILLED SKIES ABOVE. AT FIRST I THOUGHT IT WAS A BUTANE TANK AT MONSANTO, BUT AFTER AN INVESTIGATION FOUND IT TO BE ANOTHER SHIP.” DAILY NEWS REPORTER ROY E. HANNA
weight 2,700 pounds, part of the cargo of the S.S. Grandcamp, were found buried 6 feet in the clay soil a distance of 13,000 feet from the point of the explosion. … “All firemen and practically all spectators on the pier were killed as were many employees in the Monsanto Chemical Company and throughout the dock area. At this date, April 29, 1947, 433 bodies have been recovered and approximately 135 (many of whom were on the dock) are missing. … The exact casualties will probably never be known as many bodies were blown to pieces. …
“Over 2,000 suffered injuries in varying degrees, among whom were many school children injured by flying glass fragments and debris in school buildings located about 6,000 feet distant.” Hanna, drenched from his ditch dive to escape the debris of the High Flyer’s explosion, ran to his jeep and sped back to The Daily News offices in downtown Galveston to type up his first-person account, which ran on that morning’s front page. “Four fire departments were reportedly at the docks fighting the fire,” he wrote in conclusion. “Some reports indicated there were several hundred persons in the area, and I wonder how any could have survived.” (LEFT) Aerial view of Texas City on April 16, 1947 after a French ship loaded with ammonium nitrate exploded in the harbor area, torching part of the city. CARL E. LINDE/AP FILE (BELOW) The Galveston Daily News on April 17, 1947. DAILY NEWS FILE
Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 39
MAJOR STORIES THROUGH THE YEARS
MAJOR STORIES THROUGH THE YEARS
HURRICANE IKE Day of agony BY TOM BASSING
oon after Hurricane Ike had raked Galveston Island on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008 and passed on to the mainland, reporters from The Daily News streamed out to report on what the storm had wrought. The following morning’s paper — despite the travails of getting around on the island and mainland Galveston County — began to chronicle the disaster. “All wind gauges on the island failed early during the storm, but before landfall the National Weather Service estimated the gusts would top 110 miles an hour,” one reporter noted. “The wind toppled concrete picnic tables on the seawall, ripped roofs off homes and businesses and toppled giant oak trees on the East End. “But the rising water wreaked the most havoc. “Most of the area behind the seawall was covered in a minimum of
4 feet of water. In some places, the water rose to more than 10 feet.” The 17-foot-tall seawall, on which construction began in 1902, two years after the devastating 1900 Storm, had provided some protection on the Gulf side, although Ike’s estimated 20-foot sea surge topped it. The surge overwhelmed the bay side of the island; Galveston’s historic downtown was left a wreck. The broad-shouldered storm — nearly 600 miles wide at its extreme — wrought havoc from the Louisiana coast southwest to Corpus Christi, after earlier raking the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Bahamas and Cuba. Reporters made their tortuous way around battered Galveston Island and the mainland. “High-profile pickup trucks braved hood-deep water on FM 2094, but the intersection with Highway 146 was completely blocked by water as high as stop signs in front of Stewart Elementary in Kemah,” a reporter found.
(LEFT) Maleni Garcia and Yesenia Vahena of Texas City relax in a Raton chair that washed up on the roadway while waiting for traffic to begin moving again on Interstate 45 as people try to re-enter Galveston Island in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike on Sept. 17, 2008. KEVIN M. COX
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MAJOR STORIES THROUGH THE YEARS
Oscar Aleman carries a mirror to the debris pile at his flood-damaged home in Galveston. He said the pile of debris from Hurricane Ike grew so big that his wife, Suzi, put the “yard sale” sign on top. JENNIFER REYNOLDS Other reporters scoured the internet for what information could be found there. “Hurricane Ike disrupted electricity to roughly 2.1 million CenterPoint Energy customers and all 115,000 Gulf Coast customers of Texas-New Mexico Power, according to information posted Saturday on the companies’ Web sites,” one report read. “CenterPoint Energy estimated it could take four weeks or longer to restore power to its customers, a process which would begin Sunday.” No hurricane before had similarly curtailed access to the power grid. “The impact of Hurricane Ike on our service territory has been extensive and widespread, affecting more than 90 percent of our customers, which is the largest power outage event in our company’s more than 130-year history,” a CenterPoint spokesman told a reporter who was able to reach him. The news staff worked around the clock. “As Hurricane Ike spiraled on toward North Texas on Saturday, the island, which took the brunt of the storm’s wide girth, entered recovery mode and remained closed to all inbound traffic, officials said,” one report read. “Emergency crews’ search and rescue efforts focused on the West End, but the city had no immediate reports of fatalities. “About 100 people were rescued by Saturday afternoon, authorities said. At least four were flown to local hospitals in critical condition. “At least 17 structures have collapsed, including two apartment buildings. …” “The causeway was in ‘bad shape,’ City Manager Steve LeBlanc said. ‘It is covered in debris, and the road has buckled in places.’ “But LeBlanc said he did not think the structural integrity of 42 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
The Galveston County Daily News office can be seen between boats that came to rest on Interstate 45 in Galveston in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike on Sept. 14, 2008. KEVIN M. COX the bridge was compromised. The city was allowing people to leave the island.” Large numbers of people in Galveston County had disregarded evacuation orders; more than a dozen paid with their lives. Others required rescue. “City officials estimated 40 percent, or about 24,000, of the island’s residents chose to ride out the storm, which rumbled ashore with 110 mph winds and a surge of water that caught almost everyone off guard,” the paper reported. One sharp-eyed reporter discovered a particularly telling detail in the hurricane’s wake: “On the seawall, Ike sheared in half the plaque on the statue of victims of the 1900 Storm, their arms raised in mourning.”
Our past is important. It shapes who we are today and who we hope to become tomorrow. In 1954, Grace Memorial Park Cemetery was established along the extended stretch of road of Highway 6 to provide an eternal place of rest for the deceased and a place of peaceful meditation and solace to the living. It stood alone until 1971 when Jim and Lynne Hayes established the first funeral home on Highway 6 to exclusively serve the citizens of the Santa Fe and Hitchcock communities, Hayes Funeral Home. In 1987, Jim Hayes, along with Marie Istre, opened Grace Memorial Park Crematory, the first crematory in Galveston County. Sixteen years later, the cemetery was purchased and added to the properties operating under the Hayes name, with the credo of â€œserving others as we would wish to be servedâ€?. The first, second, and third generation of the Hayes family, and the staff who proudly support our mission, are dedicated to serving the needs of our community. We invite you to tour our facilities and grounds and thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you during your time of greatest need. HAYES FUNERAL HOME 409-925-3501 www.hayesfuneralhome.com
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Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 43
The foundation and floor slab for the Teichman Road building are poured. At the time, the building was one of the most modern plants designed for newspaper production. DAILY NEWS FILE
NEWS’ BUILDINGS ARE PARTS OF THE LOCAL LANDSCAPE BY TOM BASSING
icholas Clayton, who would go on to become Galveston’s most influential 19th century architect, arrived on the island in 1872 at the end of a peripatetic journey that began in Cork County, Ireland, when the 8-year-old boy and his recently widowed mother left the Old World for the new. Clayton, as a young man, found his way from Cincinnati to New Orleans, on to Louisville and St. Louis, and eventually to Memphis, where the journeyman — now a skilled plasterer, marble carver and draftsmen — hired on with the architectural firm of Jones and Baldwin. The firm in 1872 dispatched him to Galveston to oversee the
44 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
construction of two disparate buildings: the First Presbyterian Church and the Tremont Hotel, which he saw through. The previously restless Clayton, the son of an island nation, found on Galveston Island a home, where he stayed and opened his own architectural practice. He soon earned a sterling reputation for his substantial and handsome buildings and houses. In 1883, at the height of his powers, he came to the attention of Alfred Belo, publisher of The Galveston News, which had outgrown its antebellum home at 2217 Market Street. Belo’s late partner, Willard Richardson, The News’ most prominent publisher in the first three decades following the paper’s April 11, 1842, launch, had commissioned that ironfaced, three-story building, which housed the paper’s editorial operations and press; its business offices had remained on Tremont Street.
CONSOLIDATION ON MECHANIC STREET Richardson, after the Civil War, had hired Belo, a former Confederate colonel, as a bookkeeper, and he soon became a trusted confidant. Both men were instrumental in building The News in circulation and in influence. Indeed, Adolph Ochs, who founded The New York Times nine years after The News’ debuted, often praised The News’ influence on his own newspapering philosophy. With Richardson’s death in 1875, Belo, his designated successor, took over. In reaching out to Clayton, eight years later, Belo was looking to physically imprint his stamp on The News. Clayton’s design, at what today is 2108 Mechanic, accomplished the feat. When the building opened in 1884, it was the first facility west of the Mississippi River solely dedicated to producing a newspaper — offices, newsroom, production and printing plant in one. It is a remarkable building, structurally sound and aesthetically taut. “The News building was a very inventive piece of architecture, given the energy Clayton was able to compress into the building’s street front,” said Stephen Fox, an architectural historian and co-author with Ellen Beasley of the “Galveston Architecture Guidebook.” “Clayton compacted so much visual energy into its design.” FANS AND CLOTHESPINS The magisterial, three-story edifice opened to great fanfare on April 19, 1884, and the first issue printed there — doubling its content from a simple folio to a full eight pages — rolled off the presses the following morning. The first floor was given over to business offices and a counting room that led to a sizable vault, all of which fronted the steam-powered press. The newsroom was on the floor above, and behind it lay a large store of enormous rolls of newsprint feeding the behemoth below. In 1953, nearly three quarters of a century after The Galveston News building opened, a Ball High School student named Jimmy McGlathery, moonlighting as a sports reporter, would return to the newsroom to write up his accounts of local games. The old Galveston Daily News building at 2108 Mechanic St. The building, affectionately known as “The Old Lady of Mechanic Street,” was built in 1883 and operations began in 1884. It had the distinction of being the only building in the Southwest that housed a complete newspaper plant. ROSENBERG LIBRARY
The Daily News building on Teichman Road, where the paper operates to this day, photographed in the 1980s. DAILY NEWS FILE He still recalls the efforts made by the building’s overseers to combat the summer heat and humidity — and their effect on producing copy. “Back then, of course, they didn’t have air conditioning, and with the big fans oscillating throughout the newsroom, we would have to bring in clothespins and attach them to the top of our copy to keep it from blowing back into the typewriter keys,” recounted McGlathery, a subsequent Princeton and Yale graduate now retired from a career teaching German literature at the University of Illinois-Champagne. “When we were done, we walked our stories over to the sports editor, clutching them so they wouldn’t blow away.” The Galveston County Daily News, Texas’ oldest newspaper, is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year. JENNIFER REYNOLDS
AESTHETICS AND STABILITY The building’s third floor was the domain of those responsible for typesetting the paper. “The top floor of the structure is veritably a printers’ paradise, furnishing as it does one of the most elegant, best lighted and thoroughly ventilated composing rooms in America, if not in the world,” the paper gushed at the time. “The News building as it stands, with the new appliances that have been added, represents a cash outlay amounting in the aggregate to nearly $125,000” — the equivalent of $3 million today. A later writer for The News was just as taken with the façade: “High on the front of the building was an emblematic design made up of the twin torches of science, encircled with an olive wreath and surmounted with the Lone Star of Texas, all of which sprang from a semicircular shield, displaying the Greek letters alpha and omega.” As striking as the building’s appearance was, its durability was more significant. The Galveston News building withstood the 1900 Storm, its main press idled only until the Wednesday after the Saturday hurricane, the winds of which were recorded at 100 mph before the gale blew away the anemometer and all other instruments the National Weather Service had placed on a downtown rooftop. In those few intervening days, a hand press was put into service to print a two-sided sheet, essentially announcing the paper’s survival, which foretold the island’s. ‘GOOD BONES’ The celebratory announcement of the 1884 building’s opening boasted of its iron skeleton of rolled I-beams and fluted, iron columns supporting its three floors. Staircases, too, both spiral and platform, were fashioned from iron. Moreover, its side and rear brick walls were a stout 2 feet thick.
46 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
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48 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
The old Galveston News building is on Mechanic Street in downtown Galveston. STUART VILLANUEVA “What people don’t typically recognize is that buildings usually are their most beautiful before the façade is put on,” said Gene Aubry, who was born on the island and later was the principal architect for The Daily News’ current offices and printing plant on Teichman Road. “It’s the bones of a building that are most interesting. “The Mechanic Street building had very good bones.” Yet, its skin still today demands attention. The façade featured vaulted arches of a neoRenaissance style with stain-glass windows in double-hung sashes, around which were laid pressed, red bricks imported from Philadelphia and augmented with locally manufactured molded bricks and tiles tinted cream and black and a buff gray in between. “When you look at that building, it’s almost like a musical composition, all the sharps and flats perfectly placed, only written in masonry,” Aubry said. “That’s the magic of that building.” MOVE TO TEICHMAN ROAD In 1964, with the Hobby family’s purchase of The Daily News and its affiliated publications, construction began on joint offices and press facility, at 8522 Teichman Road, five miles across the island from the Mechanic Street building. Oveta Hobby, the family matriarch and widow of former newspaperman and Texas Gov. William Hobby, commissioned the new building, turning to the Houston-based architectural firm Barnstone & Aubry, whose portfolio included the Houston Post’s recent headquarters in its hometown. “We were both good friends with the Hobbys,” said Aubry, who now lives on the Gulf Coast island of Anna Maria, Fla. “When they were building a new building in Houston on the Southwest Freeway, Mrs. Hobby had asked me to do her executive offices. Through that, she and I became very good friends.” The friendship, and the firm’s reputation, won it the Galveston assignment, which was to be designed with one consideration paramount: It was to be capable of withstanding the fury that hurricanes have repeatedly brought to the island. “It wasn’t built to impress,” Aubry said. “It was built to serve its purpose.” A PRACTICAL DESIGN Aubry’s plans called for a four-foot mound beneath the building, which stands on deep, concrete pilings. “The floor level was predicated on historical flood data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” he said. “That’s where you start.” The building’s concrete bones — the building in all is half concrete poured in place and half attached concrete panels — proved their worth when Hurricane Ike in September 2008 swept across the island, devastating many lesser buildings.
Yet, the purposeful design has not been immune to criticism. “There is something tense and uneasy about the architecture of the News Building,” Fox wrote in his and Beasley’s guidebook to Galveston’s architecture. “Its gestural elements are overstated and under-detailed. Consequently, the building lacks the assurance characteristic of Barnstone & Aubry’s work.” That assessment elicited Aubry’s umbrage; he argues that critics miss the point. “First of all, we were designing a plant that has to produce a product,” he said. “It’s a very utilitarian building. The Galveston News building wasn’t designed to be exciting architecture. It was designed to withstand hurricanes and keep publishing. And it had to be done with a very tight budget, and it was. “I think it’s an important building, one that makes a statement as to what journalism is. What that building says is, ‘this is who we are, this is what we do.’ “It’s blunt and honest. It’s not a building that gives the illusion that it’s something that it’s not. First of all, I recall thinking, ‘you’re building a building for the oldest newspaper in Texas; you want something solid.’ “Just because some pissant storm comes along, you don’t want to have to shut down, and Ike proved they didn’t have to shut down. The building performed the way it was designed to perform. It stood up to Ike. The name of the game is printing a newspaper, that’s the whole point.” TRIGGER-HAPPY YAHOOS Aubry’s most poignant design feature, reinforcing that a newspaper is produced inside the building, has been lost to the actions of armed and reckless sorts. The building, which stands just off the southern end of the causeway, once boasted a wall of towering plate-glass windows, which at night, with the pressroom illuminated, provided a view of the whirring press as newsprint wound its way through its muscular units and folder. Yet, despite the presence of pressmen overseeing the nightly production, some trigger-happy motorists couldn’t resist opening fire on the glass wall. “The beauty was that you could see the presses running as you came off the causeway,” Aubry said of his actualized design for the building’s rear wall. “But some idiots figured they could shoot out the windows, and they took shots.” Hurricane shutters, intended only to be lowered in advance of an arriving storm, were ordered permanently closed, depriving the motoring public of an alluring look at the presses in motion. “Those windows, the notion of transparency, emphasized the character of the building,” Fox said, admiringly. “They emphasized what goes on inside it. “It’s a real shame that they had to be closed off.” Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 49
COMMUNITY FIRST The Daily News upholds a 175-year-long philosophy BY TOM BASSING
philosophical arc extends from Willard Richardson, who purchased The Daily News shortly after it first appeared on April 11, 1842, through his successor, Alfred Belo, who led the paper into the 20th century, to Carmage Walls, the publishing entrepreneur who bought it in 1967, and whose daughter runs it today. The newspaper in those 175 years has rigorously promoted Galveston and its eponymous county — and those who call the region home. Richardson early on vowed that The Daily News would advocate for those it served, and history has borne out his commitment and, too, that of his successors. He had not long owned the paper when he wrote the first known promotion of the elixir that lay off the island’s shore and, in so doing, began to make Galveston the communal attraction it is today. “Persons immersed in the waters for a reasonable time do not lose the luster of the eye and the ruddiness of the cheek as they do in pure water,” he waxed holistic, “but feel refreshed and invigorated on coming out, and this tonic effect lasts for 48 hours, during which time a pleasant sense of exhilaration is experienced.” Richardson also advocated for the expansion of railroads and the deepening of the Galveston harbor and the luring of the hardy pioneers who built up the state and prospered. ENCOURAGING MIGRATION Richardson, working with the unrelated David Richardson, an English-born marketing man the publisher had hired to promote both the paper and the region, launched the Texas Almanac, a compendium of the state’s attributes. The almanac first appeared in January 1857 and was distributed widely to promote immigration to the state. “Those who have money to purchase lands can buy the very best already improved or unimproved at prices so low every acre will pay for itself twice over by the crop it produces the first year,” Richardson wrote of the state’s vast, available acreage. “If a man wishes to make stock raising his business, he can have the pasturage of as many thousand acres as he pleases without money and without price. “Those who are not able to or do not desire to purchase lands for cultivation can lease the best farm lands in this or any other county and if he desires it he can almost everywhere get the necessary provisions furnished him the first year on credit at the lowest market prices.”
The Texas Almanac of 1857. TEXAS ALMANAC
“I THINK IT’S SAFE TO SAY THE DAILY NEWS WAS INVOLVED IN VIRTUALLY EVERY MAJOR COMMUNITY DECISION MADE OVER THE LAST 175 YEARS. I CAN SAY WITH CONFIDENCE THAT OUR INTENT ALWAYS WAS WHAT WE SAW AS BEST FOR THE PEOPLE OF GALVESTON.” DOLPH TILLOTSON 50 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
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(LEFT) The Galveston News on Sunday, September 9, 1900, the day after the storm. (RIGHT) The Galveston News from Sept. 10, 1900. ROSENBERG LIBRARY The pitch proved effective as newcomers flocked to the county and farther west into the state. The Texas population, in the first quarter century after the Texas Almanac first appeared, soared by more than 1 million residents, the nation’s decennial census found in 1880 — from fewer than 600,000 people to more than 1.5 million. The Texas Almanac is still published more than a century and a half later, now by the Texas State Historical Association. THE PUSH FOR RAILWAYS Yet, as productive as the land Richardson promoted proved to be, farmers had to have ways to get their crops to market in a cost-effective fashion. Richardson here, too, took the lead, pushing the state to get into the railroad business. By 1856, he had conceived of a state-owned rail system and took his proposal to Austin for legislative approval, which proved not to be forthcoming. Still, his well-argued and equally well-advertised plan spurred private development of railways. Richardson’s editorial push also changed the course of other railroaders’ plans, including those behind the Southern Pacific, 52 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
who envisioned a continuous sweep of track continuing from the western bank of the Mighty Mississippi to the Pacific shore — albeit running well north of Texas. Richardson set to work on convincing the Southern Pacific’s leaders to redraw their proposed route. “The great value of this road to Texas induces us to notice some of the manifest advantages over all others proposed to be extended to the Pacific coast region,” he wrote. “The more northern routes pass through barren and uninhabited regions, while this passes through regions partially settled and often inviting dense settlement, on account of the extensive prairies or fine pasturage, rich valleys, and valuable minerals. “This road would do an immense business in transporting the products of mines and in carrying the thousands who are constantly going to and returning from those regions. In fact, this road would so expedite the settlement of the vast region to the Pacific that the trade would in a very few years exceed the capacity of the road to carry it.” Twenty-two years later, The Daily News — too late by five years for Richardson, who had died in 1875, to read it — ran
The Bullied to the Brink series is the most recent iteration of a long-standing tradition of The Daily News. DAILY NEWS FILE on its front page an article announced the opening of Southern Pacific service through Texas along the transcontinental system. AN ARDUOUS FIGHT By 1868, Richardson through his pages began a push for federal support to deepen the Galveston harbor, a sea link to the railroad system that had unified the state and crossed from the mainland onto the island, where crops and cattle and goods of all manner were loaded aboard ships for export. Shipbuilders had begun launching ever-larger ships, with deeper drafts, and shoaling in and around Galveston’s harbor rendered the port less than sufficient. Arriving ships had to drop anchor outside the port and transfer their cargoes to smaller boats, so-called lighters. The same, albeit opposite, process was required for lading outgoing ships. By then, Richardson had taken on as a full partner a former Confederate colonel named Alfred Belo, an intuitive and persistent man who, in the years after the longtime publisher’s death, continued the ultimately successful push for Congress to finance the harbor’s expansion; on Sept. 19, 1890, President
Benjamin Harrison signed into law a bill funding the project. Belo — by then the paper’s sole owner — acknowledged his mentor’s efforts and saluted the paper’s and the business community’s accomplishment. “For almost a quarter of a century, The News … has contended for the establishment of a deepwater entrance to Galveston harbor. For almost a quarter of a century it has waged a continuous campaign for this cause without wearying or wavering, without relaxing or relenting,” an editorial noted the following day. “The struggle has been long and severe, but at length The News has the proud satisfaction that its efforts have been crowned with final success.” UPLIFTING THE POPULACE While the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay provided immense opportunities for the island city and the surrounding area, so, too, did the water bring disaster, no more so than on Sept. 8, 1900, when a storm that had been born just off the African coast and had steadily made its fateful way across the Atlantic, shredding Caribbean islands, traversed the Gulf and crashed into Galveston. Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 53
“FOR ALMOST A QUARTER OF A CENTURY, THE NEWS … HAS CONTENDED FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A DEEPWATER ENTRANCE TO GALVESTON HARBOR. FOR ALMOST A QUARTER OF A CENTURY IT HAS WAGED A CONTINUOUS CAMPAIGN FOR THIS CAUSE WITHOUT WEARYING OR WAVERING, WITHOUT RELAXING OR RELENTING. THE STRUGGLE HAS BEEN LONG AND SEVERE, BUT AT LENGTH THE NEWS HAS THE PROUD SATISFACTION THAT ITS EFFORTS HAVE BEEN CROWNED WITH FINAL SUCCESS.” EDITORIAL IN THE NEWS ON SEPT. 20, 1890
By the time it had passed over the island and continued its murderous run across the mainland, no fewer than 6,000 people lay dead in and around Galveston. The battered island had no greater advocate than The Daily News in the days and weeks and months following the brutal storm, still the worst natural disaster in the nation’s history in terms of lives lost. Many surveying the desolation advocated abandoning the island altogether. The paper railed against such naysayers. Galveston would build a seawall to prevent a repeat; it would rebuild its wharves and remain a principal port; it would repair what could be repaired and rebuild the rest, the paper vowed. “Tears and grief must not make us forget our present duties,” an editorial somberly advised. “The blight and ruin which have desolated Galveston are not beyond repair. We must not for a moment think Galveston is to be abandoned because of one disaster, however terrible that disaster has been. … “It is time for courage of the highest order.” In no small part due to such insistence, little more than a year after the storm’s unannounced arrival, The Daily News on Jan. 1, 1902, published a special edition, heralding the city’s “rising from the ruins.” That had been made possible, the paper wrote, because of those who, “first forgetting all else except the caring for the sick and wounded, the destitute and the homeless, and putting away their dead, had then worked in rehabilitating their homes and city and opening up its avenues of industry and commerce.” AN ENDURING PHILOSOPHY Over the ensuing decades, the paper changed ownership three times, first in 1923 and most recently in 1967, when Carmage Walls took over and put in writing — echoing Richardson — his belief that newspapers must, editorially and financially, support those who support them. “My conception of a newspaper is that it is the greatest force for good or evil in a community,” he wrote. “It is a semipublic utility. We who are fortunate to hold stock in a newspaper I consider but temporary custodians of this service vehicle in the community. By our ownership of the stock we also assume tremendous responsibilities, first to the public that we service.” Walls and his wife to that end, among other deeds of generosity, established the Carmage and Martha Ann Walls Distinguished Chair of Tropical Diseases at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Walls died on Nov. 22, 1998; his wife, better known as Molly, died 10 years later. Today, their daughter Lissa Walls is the sole shareholder of both Southern Newspapers Inc. and 54 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
Galveston Newspapers Inc., the latter of which operates The Daily News. “The newspaper should be a leader in the community,” current Publisher Leonard Woolsey said. “My role as a publisher is to get out and about. It’s not just Rotary meetings and chamber of commerce meetings, it’s getting out and meeting people and getting to know them, getting a feel for the pulse of the community.” ONGOING EFFORTS It all amounts to connected arcs in a continuum of supporting the community the paper serves, Woolsey said and offered an ongoing example. “Ever since Ike washed across the island, the paper has gotten behind building some kind of spinal protection, not just for Galveston, not just for Texas City, but for the entire region,” he said. “This isn’t just about property loss, it’s about what’s important for this region’s economy. “We’ve written about it extensively, advocated for it, and, now, George P. Bush, the Texas Land Commissioner, has put it at the top of his agenda.” Most recently, The Daily News editorial staff conceived and executed a multipart series — Bullied to the Brink — that delved into a pressing and all-too-often fatal phenomenon that has only gotten worse with the spread of social media. “The series has generated a lot of conversation, and not just talk around the water cooler, but in the schools,” Woolsey said. “They’ve asked us for multiple copies of those articles to share in their classrooms to generate discussion: ‘Where do we have a problem? Where can we move forward?’” Moreover, he said, “We invest a lot of cash money in this community. It’s our duty, and it’s the right thing to do.” TAKING STANDS Dolph Tillotson, who served as publisher of The Daily News for a quarter century beginning in 1987, noted the paper’s support for a litany of projects that have bolstered Galveston, from supporting the port’s ongoing development to backing the birth of the Galveston Island Convention Center and the Galveston Economic Development Partnership. “I think it’s safe to say The Daily News was involved in virtually every major community decision made over the last 175 years,” Tillotson, now a member of Galveston Newspapers’ board of directors, said. “I can say with confidence that our intent always was what we saw as best for the people of Galveston. “If there was a big issue in Galveston, the paper took a stand. Sometimes we were right, sometimes not. “But when all is said and done, The Daily News throughout its history has an incredibly good record of taking positions on the issues that have been instrumental to the betterment of our community.”
Michael Bluitt adds fresh ink to the press at The Daily News before a press run. JENNIFER REYNOLDS
TECHNOLOGY AT THE DAILY NEWS A history of advancement BY TOM BASSING
ust off the east side of the lobby of The Daily News building sits a cast-iron hand press that company lore holds was used to print the first issue in the paper’s 175-year history. Yet, before its putative use in printing that first issue, on April 11, 1842, the R. Hoe & Co.’s Washington Press No. 2369 — embellished with pewter images of George Washington and printer-turned-polymath Benjamin Franklin embossed on its headpiece — had been associated with nothing but misfortune. The San Luis Advocate, in Brazoria County, is believed to be the first newspaper printed on it, and that paper, which debuted in 1840, failed within a year. The Advocate’s owner and publisher, S.J. Durnet, seeking to salvage something from his investment, sold the press to a man
named F. Pinckard, who planned on starting up his own paper in Galveston. With terms reached and the sale completed, Pinckard had the press loaded onto a small boat and set out for the island. For whatever reason, be it foul weather, poor seamanship or illplacement of the cumbersome machine, the boat capsized, and the Washington Press spent the next several months at the bottom of West Bay before it was eventually raised and brought to Galveston. Pinckard soon had it restored to operating condition and launched his Galveston Texas Times, which, too, debuted and died in rapid succession. Pinckard, accounts have it, then sold the press to Samuel Bangs, the former filibuster who founded The Daily News. Each of The Daily News’ earliest press runs totaled some 300 copies, all laboriously printed first on one side, then laid over and printed on the other, before being folded and handed off to Galveston merchants for sale. Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 55
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Yet, The Daily News itself seemingly also fell victim to the supposed jinx — idling the Washington Press for a year before the paper resumed printing under the abbreviated name, The News. A MATTER OF KARMA? The Washington Press’s initial associations with ill fate perhaps were payback for the duplicity with which its manufacturer, a New York inventor named Richard March Hoe, had acquired its patent. “Mr. Samuel Rust, in 1829, patented the Washington Hand Press and began their manufacture. The frame was of an improved shape, and the works were more powerful than those of the Smith Press,” a Hoe company apprentice named Stephen Davis Tucker wrote in his autobiographical “History of R. Hoe & Company, 1834-1885.” “Messrs. R. Hoe & Co. wished to buy Mr. Rust’s patent, but he refused to sell to them, so (Hoe employee) Mr. John Colby in 1835, under pretense of starting in business for himself, succeeded in buying Mr. Rust’s patent right, stock, tools, and shop complete, and continued the manufacture of the presses, but in a short time the business was moved to Messrs. R. Hoe & Co.’s works.” In any event, the introduction of R. Hoe & Co.’s newfangled cylinder press in 1855 superseded the old Washington hand press. Hoe’s cylinder press, which allowed for far faster printing and which The News quickly acquired, ran under the power of one horse treading a mill for the duration of the press run. Yet, it, too, soon was yesterday’s news. RAPID ADVANCEMENTS Alfred Belo, a former Confederate colonel, joined the paper in 1865 at war’s end and, showing a keen mind for business, soon became a partner in The News. Two years later, with the paper’s circulation growing, he convinced the senior partner, Willard Richardson, to invest in a far-faster, steam-operated Taylor single-cylinder press. Yet, it, too, quickly fell victim to technology’s inexorable march and the paper’s continued growth. “For some seven years the paper had been worked upon what is known as the Taylor single-cylinder press, having a capacity of some 1,800 papers an hour, and a machine of most excellent quality,” The News reported on April 5, 1874, in announcing its replacement. “The late extraordinary success of The News, however, in the additions made to its subscription lists and its steadily growing popularity, has compelled its proprietors to increase their press facilities. … The new press is a Hoe machine, double-cylinder with a capacity of 3,500 copies of The News an hour. … In the same room is a Forsyth folding machine, the only one in Texas. … It will fold 2,800 copies an hour.” A REVOLUTIONARY PRESS Hoe, not long after inventing the double-cylinder press, struck it rich with his most important invention, the so-called web-perfecting press, which allowed pressmen to print on both sides of a roll of paper at once. The revolutionary press was capable of printing 12,000 copies an hour. An article in The News gushed over the new press, which Belo and Richardson purchased in 1874. “At first glance it looks a little like an old-fashioned separator to a threshing machine,” the paper reported. “Make the frame of iron, multiply the cylinders by ten, make every part as neat and perfect as the running gears of an Elgin watch, feed it at one end from an endless roll, and let it deliver at the other end 58 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
An old Linotype machine is displayed near the newsroom at The Galveston County Daily News. JENNIFER REYNOLDS on two tables ready for the carrier. “Think of the press taking in at one end of a roll of delicate paper five miles long and whirling it through a curious system of wheels and knives and tapes and switches that twitch it back and forth so rapidly that the eye is unable to distinguish the individual papers till they are printed and cut, and you have some idea of the work.” Hoe’s latest press was capable of printing 18,000 copies an hour. ADVANCES IN TYPESETTING The News around 1886 augmented its latest acquired press with the purchase of a so-called Linotype machine, perfected that year by the German-born American inventor Ottmar Mergenthaler, making obsolete the Young & Delcambre singleline typesetting machine The News had been using since 1873. The Mergenthaler allowed keystroke operators to set multiple lines of type. As fast as they could type reports handed to them, the device dropped pieces of lead type into their correct positions, forming words and sentences with precise line breaks, greatly speeding the process of setting up the daily press run.
The Daily News’ press runs. JENNIFER REYNOLDS That technology was still in vogue at the time the paper acquired a Goss letterpress, which also relied on hot-metal type set into rollers. The durable machine in 1965 survived the trip from the paper’s building at 2108 Mechanic St. to its current home at 8522 Teichman Road, which opened that year. Neither the Goss nor Mergenthaler’s Linotype, though, would survive the introduction of evermore efficient technology. Newspaper entrepreneur Carmage Walls, who bought The Daily News in 1967, immediately replaced the Goss hot-metal letterpress with a Goss Community offset press, allowing papers to be printed from plates onto which camera-ready negative page images were burned through a process involving chemicals and bursts of blindingly bright light. The changes continued as The Daily News circulation continued to grow. “Eventually, we bought a used Harris 845 from the Beaumont Enterprise that had eight units, which we split into five and three with the folder in the middle,” said Bill Cochrane Sr., the paper’s longtime production manager, who had joined The Daily News as a machinist apprentice in 1964 when the paper was still downtown. “That was a huge improvement.” BETTER COMMUNICATIONS Yet, typesetting devices and evermore efficient presses weren’t The Daily News’ only forays into emerging technologies. The paper in its first several decades made great use of the telegraph, turning operators throughout the state into correspondents. Moreover, the first reputed use of the telegraph to transmit a news story while it was occurring came during the Jan. 1, 1863, Battle of Galveston after The News had temporarily moved to Houston in compliance with a wartime order for civilians to evacuate the island. One hardy journalist, Ferdinand Flake, however, defied the edict
and remained in Galveston, from which he sent by wire reports as the Confederate victory over the Union’s naval blockade unfolded. The telegraph, naturally enough, would soon face its own demise. Belo, to the wonderment of his neighbors, in March 1878 had poles erected and wires strung between his house and The News building, then at 2217 Market St., and installed the first telephone in Texas. He had admired, at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition two years prior, the first demonstration of Alexander Graham Bell’s marvelous telephony machine, and acquired one once the talking machine was commercially available. When the first telephone exchange in Texas was established the following year, The News was assigned 1 as its phone number. FROM HOT TO COLD TYPE Despite the paper’s embrace of new presses over the years, a direct line still can be traced from the original Hoe Washington hand press to today’s multiunit Harris press: It remains as true today as it was on April 11, 1842, that printing is a matter of employing ink to transfer type to paper, nothing more. The more radical change has come in the production process before the press run, a stunningly rapid transition that has come to redefine how papers are printed. The Daily News was an early adopter of pre-press technologies that replaced Linotype machines, which were dependent on molten lead — so-called hot type — with highspeed phototypesetters, whose output came to be known as cold type. Then along came front-end systems. “The best day of my life, hands down, was when they introduced the front-end system,” Cochrane said. “It changed everything. Our first was from a company called One System, and the next was from Triple-I.” Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 59
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(ABOVE) John Rodriguez attaches plates to the press at The Daily News. (LEFT) The Daily News’ press runs. JENNIFER REYNOLDS Information International Inc., also referred to as Triple-I, developed the first functional front-end system for newspapers. The Triple-I system replaced technology that had allowed an editor to produce stories on what was known as 5-punch tape — lengthy strips of coded paper — and later onto floppy disks, both of which a machine could read and print to photo paper, which it ran out ready to be trimmed and waxed and laid onto grids the size of a newspaper page, eliminating the need for physical typesetting. “Carmage Walls was an early adopter,” said Southern Newspapers Inc. President Dolph Tillotson, The Daily News president and publisher from 1987 to 2011. “The Galveston Daily News in the late 1960s and early ’70s was very progressive in terms of technology, and still is today.” Walls was among the first newspaper owners to adopt the Triple-I system, which required terminals with large-screen monitors at which page designers, with the use of a mouse — a relatively new invention at the time — digitally drew every line and placed every headline and the stories below them, every photograph, everything, in fact, exactly as the reader would see it the next morning in print. The Triple-I terminals were connected to mainframe computers that processed the designers’ efforts into full-size, camera-ready page images, which still had to be burned onto plates to be affixed to the press. THERMAL IMAGING Two subsequent developments furthered pre-press efficiency. The first was desktop publishing, allowing design editors to generate digital pages on any PC or Apple Macintosh loaded with page-layout software. The second was the invention of thermal imaging to make the thin, metal plates on which those digital pages took physical form. The Daily News uses one such thermal-imaging platesetter, a Kodak Trendsetter News machine, which eliminates the need to produce film negatives of pages to be burned onto plates. The Trendsetter allows page designers, after digitally creating a page, to send it directly to the platesetter, which transfers their work onto preloaded plates. The individual plates then emerge at the end of the automated process ready to be hung on the press. “Now, the page images go directly to plate,” Cochrane said of the Kodak Trendsetter technology, which The Daily News began using shortly before he retired in 2014 after half a century at the paper. “It’s really hard to imagine how much things have changed in 50 years,” he said. “It’s almost mind-boggling.” Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 63
THE CORPORATE PHILOSOPHY OF CARMAGE WALLS The following letter was written by founder Carmage Walls. It remains surprisingly fresh and is a cornerstone of our company’s philosophy and approach to newspaper work. MEMO FROM THE DESK OF CARMAGE WALLS “This letter was written by me to a young man who was coming into a publishership. I had not had the opportunity of giving him my personal beliefs about the operation of a newspaper. I thought it might be useful in introducing myself, so that you might also get this in capsule form.” Carmage Walls June 1953 Dear ------: I have not had the opportunity of discussing with you my personal philosophy about service, personal and as a newspaper man, nor have we discussed much the philosophy about printing a newspaper. First, my personal philosophy is rather simple. It is that wealth cannot be made by doing nothing, nor can we expect long to acquire something for nothing. Therefore, I have always striven to earn more, or to put it another way to give more into the world than I expect to take out for my own use and for the use of those that I am responsible for. The same philosophy will partly apply to the newspaper. My conception of a newspaper is that it is the greatest force for good or evil in a community. It is a semi-public utility. We who are fortunate in holding stock in a newspaper I consider but temporary custodians of this service vehicle in the community. By our ownership of the stock we also assume tremendous responsibilities, first to the public that we service, second to the employees and lastly to the stockholders. We who are responsible for the publication of newspapers must have the courage to never connive with special interests against the interest and welfare of the mass of people that we serve. We must have the courage to do that which may be unpleasant to maintain the health of the whole being of the newspaper. And to maintain the health nothing can do this so much as first keeping our minds on the matter of service to the mass that we serve, and second keeping the property in the black financially enough so that you cannot ever feel that you can be coerced into doing that which you feel should not be done or leave undone that which should be done for the betterment of our communities and our newspaper. With these things in mind, then we can approach the problem objectively. As publisher, to bring this about on the Elizabethton Star, the financial health, that is, you should do the following: Study each department of the newspaper and see if it is operating efficiently. Determine if the attitude of the employees of each department is optimistic and one that understands the opportunity for service that they hold. If they do not they should be sold on these opportunities or eventually failing that, they should be replaced. Where unnecessary functions are being performed or unnecessary positions being filled these should be eliminated. 64 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
Where luxury items or duplicate services are being bought and not used, these should be pared down to the necessities and what the Elizabethton Star can afford. Keep in mind that we are not able to print a big town paper on a small town economy and potential. But, also keep in mind that we want to strive for one of the best newspapers in cities of our size. After the above things have been done, then it is time to look to the additional revenue. So many newspapers make a big and continuing effort to sell display lineage and overlook other opportunities to add to their profit or income. Look at your circulation and see that there is no waste. That is always a possible source of losing revenue through loose handling of the department or letting money that should end in the cash register vanish into thin air. Attain efficiency in the department that does not curtail service. Hold subscribers that can be handled at least on a break-even basis. Look to the national advertising selling. Just because we have a contract with a national rep., do not sit back and cuss him for lack of performance. We have proven that national is also sold locally. Let’s arrange to have that worked to its maximum and when the national rep. that we have finishes his contract we will join our own. Look to the classified department. My theory on the selling of classified is that the last dollars that you squeeze out of this department, that if the selling cost of and composing production and newsprint on which to print these last ads do not cost more than 50 cents of each sales dollar, that the remainder will go into the profit column. On the face of this it seems contradictory, but when you consider that if you do not sell this additional copy, that it does not reduce your fixed costs of printing, such as rent, editorial and other costs, you will then see the soundness of the theory. I have proven it to my own satisfaction. And then lastly look to the development of new business in the display department. The same philosophy that I have applied to Classified will also apply to new business created or special advertising sold in the display department. I developed a policy in Macon, Georgia, where I last was directly a publisher of a newspaper, that provided for the following: After we were absolutely sure that the salesmen that we had on the job were as good as we could obtain and that they were doing a maximum day’s work, then after that we would add another salesman. We did not divide up the accounts with this new salesman. He was ploughing strictly in new ground. If he was good enough to bring in the first month twice the amount of his salary, from strictly new ground that would not have been worked by the older salesmen, then we kept him on and watched him. If he continued to grow from that point, we kept him on as a regular. Another important thing that the manager of a newspaper must do is to have the courage to review his rates and to not be afraid to charge what his product is worth on the one hand and what he must charge to make a good profit on the other. And a correct charge does not mean what a neighboring newspaper may be charging. It might have a coward
“MY CONCEPTION OF A NEWSPAPER IS THAT IT IS THE GREATEST FORCE FOR GOOD OR EVIL IN A COMMUNITY. IT IS A SEMI-PUBLIC UTILITY. WE WHO ARE FORTUNATE IN HOLDING STOCK IN A NEWSPAPER I CONSIDER BUT TEMPORARY CUSTODIANS OF THIS SERVICE VEHICLE IN THE COMMUNITY. BY OUR OWNERSHIP OF THE STOCK WE ALSO ASSUME TREMENDOUS RESPONSIBILITIES, FIRST TO THE PUBLIC THAT WE SERVICE, SECOND TO THE EMPLOYEES AND LASTLY TO THE STOCKHOLDERS.” Carmage Walls at his desk. DAILY NEWS FILE for a manager, who does not have the courage to charge what he should. That kind of manager will beat down his employees pay, print an inferior product rather than face his advertisers with a bill that would make it possible for him to pay fair wages, print a decent newspaper and make a good profit. And by good profit I mean one that is fairly large in these days of lush economy. If we do not make a good profit now, what shall happen to us when and if things are not as good economically as they are now? My theory on the lowest rate to quantity advertisers is arrived at as follows: From total expense and that means all expense on the P&L statement, deduct circulation and all other non-advertising revenue. Divide into this remaining cost the number of paid advertising inches for the period under consideration. This will give you the cost per inch that advertising must carry in order to print. Some people will come up with the argument that department store advertising and other types should have special consideration because they are not as hard to set, etc. This is a fallacious theory. If you have any advertisers that go below this formula, you would do well to act as rapidly as possible to bring them up within it. And finally if it is necessary to raise rates in order to have the financial health that is desirable, then raise the rates as rapidly and as definitely as necessary.
Because a person was on the job when we take over the management of a newspaper does not mean necessarily that he is best fitted to that particular job. And sometimes we find people that are not fitted to the newspaper business. The correction of these situations are always difficult. However, when we consider that the quality of the product, that we are delivering to our subscribers is involved, and the permanence and welfare of those employees who do fit and earn their place, and when finally we know that a person who is a misfit in a job is usually unhappy, that we serve all three of these factors including the misfit employees when the situation is corrected. I have been accused of being tough in my approach to this particular type of situation. However, in all my experience I have not made a change in such a situation but that the person involved was done a great favor. Let’s hope that you do not have any such as one of your particular problems. Very sincerely, Carmage Walls P.S. And finally the formula for making a profit becomes ridiculously simple. Just, SPEND LESS MONEY THAN YOU TAKE IN. And it can be done. Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 65
A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE How news will be generated, distributed in 2117 BY TOM BASSING
his article, no spoiler here, was written by a human being; 100 years from now, that most likely won’t be the case. Software companies are working feverishly to perfect so-called artificial intelligence, electronic networks that employ algorithms and vast databanks to mimic human neural systems — brains — and the thinking they produce. Already, such machines are being used to translate one language into another, with increasing accuracy. Voice recognition software — think Apple’s digital assistant, Siri, or Google’s prosaically named Assistant — can convert human conversation to printed form, be it on paper or relayed digitally from one computer to another. Moreover, both can respond to verbal questions, often with verbal answers. A century from now, such machines will have been installed in courtrooms, in corporate and governmental meeting rooms and anywhere else that events transpire. Connected to databases that incorporate hundreds of thousands of news accounts that such systems’ increasingly sophisticated algorithms can mimic, they will be able to autonomously produce newspaper stories and make such accounts available at the touch of a finger. Newspapers and magazines by then will be relics confined to museums and archives; some of those will be converted to digital files, a process underway today. Readers will be able to click on any story they care to visually access or, alternatively, they’ll be able to verbally request the same story and have it played through a speck of a speaker inserted in the ear, a device far smaller than even the least obtrusive hearing aids available today. With a separate audio command, that story will be sent to those with whom the listener cares to share it. MAN VS. MACHINE In 2004, a computer engineer and preternaturally gifted “Jeopardy!” contestant named Ken Jennings won 74 consecutive games on the television show, displaying a stunningly diverse knowledge of all manners of trivia. Yet, in 2011, an IBM supercomputer named Watson — in honor of the company’s visionary 66 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
chief Thomas J. Watson — routed the prodigy. With 15 terabytes of reference data to draw on, and a programmed ability to learn from its failures — for instance, misinterpreting the nature of a clue, confusing, say, edible peanuts for the comic strip Peanuts — Watson rarely makes the same mistake twice. System designers envision Watson, armed with voice recognition and a voice of its own, lightning processing speed and the tremendous volume of information it can instantly draw on, serving someday as a tool in any number of industries. Already, similar machines are making complex medical diagnoses and rapidly distilling prodigious amounts of economic data to place winning bets on financial markets. Journalism, while still requiring discernment, deep knowledge of the subject at hand, an ability to gather information, orally and through documents, nevertheless should be a piece of cake for such machines to produce. Already, too, newspapers are invested in digitally distributing the information reporters and editors gather and develop. Of course, the same articles still appear in printed newspapers. In 2117, however, that will no longer be the case. YES, WRITING All journalism a century from now will be available only in digital formats, the machines that produce it having cross-checked and doublechecked every word, every statistic, every name in the articles they “write.” A century from now, the quote marks around the word write will be unnecessary; it will be a matter of fact that machines write, and that they write well. After all, what Jennings, in comparison with that of his opponent, called “my puny human brain” — albeit one capable of turning a vast knowledge of trivia into more than $3 million in game-show winnings — was no match for Watson, not even close. One wonders, then, just what chance will mere ink-stained wretches have against Watson’s progeny? Of course, it is unlikely that anyone reading this today will be alive in 2117 to confirm such a phenomenon, and it’s true that a crystal ball’s spherical nature distorts whatever is viewed through it. Besides, there is no such thing as a magical crystal ball. Magical machines, now, that’s a whole different matter.
THE DEFINITION OF NEWS HAS EVOLVED, AS HAS ITS PRESENTATION BY TOM BASSING
n the months immediately following The Daily News’ debut on April 11, 1842, the local newspaper boasted little, actually, in the way of local news. A reader was more likely to find accounts from elsewhere cribbed from newspapers arriving from New Orleans aboard this steamer or that. Now, there was some local coverage: an announcement, perhaps, of a vaudeville set to appear at the Tremont House and a listing of ships arriving at and departing from the Galveston wharves, but not much else. That, of course, has changed, beginning with the arrival in 1844 of Willard Richardson, a former schoolmaster turned journalist, who the paper’s owners brought on as editor. Richardson embraced a livelier approach, replacing opinion — most newspapers of the era served as soapboxes from which their owners could loudly espouse their beliefs — in favor of actual news, preferably from Galveston and the surrounding region. He also made it clear that the paper, rather than parroting the campaign oratory of any political party, would maintain its independence, supporting only policies he deemed as benefiting the readership. He also championed community service and envisioned Texas as someday becoming an economic center, and worked to bring that about. He looked out over the sprawling, thinly populated state — home in 1850 to fewer than 213,000 people, less than a person per square mile — and saw opportunity. Through the pages of The Daily News, Richardson began promoting the availability in Texas of vast tracts of land, pastureland and cropland alike, and, too, of merchants’ willingness to extend credit to homesteaders. As the community grew and prospered, he reasoned, so, too, would the paper. Fully 175 years later, The Daily News, the oldest in the state, stands witness to Richardson’s vision.
A CHANGING EMPHASIS At most papers in those pioneering days, publishers and editors contented themselves with augmenting those articles poached from other papers with whatever handwritten items travelers and friends brought in. Few people were employed as reporters, charged with getting out and about and discovering stories to be told and telling them. Richardson began to change that. The Daily News was the first newspaper in the state to hire a stable of writers to aggressively seek out and report the goings-on within the paper’s broad circulation area, which at one point encompassed much of the state. Richardson took it upon himself to travel, on horseback, to wherever the paper circulated, reporting on residents’ happenings. Moreover, he recruited a network of correspondents in towns to which telegraph wires extended. The paper in 1866, shortly after the flames of the Civil War
The oldest existing edition of The Daily News, published April 19, 1842. The Daily News debuted eight days beforehand on April 11. DAILY NEWS FILE had been extinguished, carried the first dispatch to arrive from Europe by undersea cable, and worked to organize a mutual association of journalists, joining with newspapers throughout the rebuilding nation to share accounts of what was occurring where they circulated. After fits and starts, The Associated Press — its first tender shoots emerged in 1846 during the Mexican War — reorganized in 1900, and The Daily News signed on as a charter member. Yet, even at that, news from elsewhere then arrived only at the speed of the telegraph, a few dots and dashes at a time. It wasn’t until the advent of the teletype, a machine capable of converting electronic signals into printed letters — their feverish clattering falling pleasurably on the ears of harried editors — that vast volumes of information from elsewhere became readily available. REDEFINING NEWS Over time, the very nature of news has evolved. At one point early on, accounts of the deliberations and actions of governmental bodies were considered virtually all the news readers needed or desired. Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 67
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Before photos were printed in the paper, text was used to guide a reader through the stories on the page as seen in this edition of The Galveston Daily News from Sept. 12, 1900. DAILY NEWS FILE 70 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
The edition above from Oct. 25, 1929, and the edition on the right from Nov. 23, 1963, show the difference in use of images in newspaper design. DAILY NEWS FILE
Yet, newly hired editors and reporters brought new ideas: a review, perhaps, of a show everyone was talking about, and what about clubs’ business and who among the city’s who’s who appeared at what event? An important advance in newspapers’ notion of news came with the hiring of women as reporters, many of whom first were assigned to write about social events and then — more daringly — about gossip they gleaned. Eventually, astute editors realized that women could report on anything men could, although many male reporters initially scoffed at such a notion. Yet, they came around; today, most newsrooms are equally staffed by men and women. AN EXTENDED RANGE Over the years, what began as The Daily News became The Galveston News, which became The Galveston Daily News and is today The Galveston County Daily News, a name reflecting the expanded — yet ultimately local — emphasis of its coverage. Now, with state, national and global news only a mouse click away, virtually all newspapers — that is, all but the remaining few staffing national and international bureaus; in other words, the very few — focus their coverage on where their readers reside, covering city councils and school boards and other public bodies — and more. In addition to also covering social events and club happenings,
The Daily News — it was one of the first newspapers to review books and music and to report on commerce and sports and on scientific and medical advancements — continues to bring its readers reportage reflecting the complexities and extent of modern life. EVOLUTION OF DESIGN As coverage evolved, so, too, did newspaper design, how that broader content is displayed. For the first few decades of The Daily News’ existence, the only visual elements on its pages were typographical: Headlines of varying size and emphasis distinguished major stories from their lesser cousins, but the paper remained image free. By the 1870s, however, illustrations were in vogue, at first in the service of advertisements — front-page promotions with images of their respective labeled containers appeared for Dr. Price’s Cream Baking Powder and for Royal Baking Powder, those rivals locked in dogged competition for primacy in the pantry — and then for more prosaic purposes, including a drawing of cattle and corn and wind-riffled wheat for a Jan. 1, 1900, Special Edition highlighting “The Resources of Texas.” Other illustrations, produced by a perfected process known as photoengraving, appeared. Photographs first appeared in The Daily News during the first decade of the past century, typically facial images of newsmakers. Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 71
THE DAILY NEWS WAS THE FIRST NEWSPAPER IN THE STATE TO HIRE A STABLE OF WRITERS TO AGGRESSIVELY SEEK OUT AND REPORT THE GOINGS-ON WITHIN THE PAPERâ€™S BROAD CIRCULATION AREA, WHICH AT ONE POINT ENCOMPASSED MUCH OF THE STATE.
72 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
(LEFT) This edition from Sept. 23, 2003, utilizes white space in a modern way. (ABOVE AND RIGHT) The edition above from July 21, 1969, and the edition on the right from July 20, 2009, show the paper’s coverage of the lunar landing and of its 40th anniversary. While both designs are modular, the latter shows more freedom with design, such as the inverse text, available because of advancements in printing technology. DAILY NEWS FILE
By 1930, photographs, often received by wire, appeared on a regular basis, bearing images of events beyond most readers’ scope and travel, from war zones to sporting events to glittering high society. LAYOUT CHANGED, AS WELL The front page of The Daily News in the mid-1980s reflected a key design change — so-called modular layout, prevalent today throughout the industry, which ended the practice of allowing a column of type for one story to wrap around another. With modular design, each story occupied its own, typically rectangular, space, and, if needed, continued — “jumped,” in newspaper jargon — to a subsequent page. The innovation gave readers a clearer, more-intuitive sense of individual stories’ relative importance.
A SWITCH IN FOCUS Yet, throughout most of the past century, readers of The Daily News still were more likely to find stories from elsewhere on the front page than they were from their hometowns. That largely changed in the late 1970s when the newspaper made a concerted effort to feature on its front page predominantly local news. State and national and global news — unless of great import — was relegated to inside pages. Newspaper editors and publishers have come to realize that readers seeking news about the institutions and people in the area in which they live can best, in most cases, only, find it in their hometown newspaper, a reality unlikely to change anytime soon. Celebrating 175 Years | The Daily News | 73
ADVERTISER INDEX A B Sign Shop........................................................31 Affordable Air & Heat..............................................60 Allstate Insurance — The O’Donohoe Agency.........35 Barney Rapp Incorporated Realtors.........................60 Bosworth Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.................69 City of Galveston......................................................3 City of League City.................................................11 City of Texas City....................................................57 Classic Auto Group.................................................23 Clear Lake Movers.................................................33 College of the Mainland..........................................69 Crowder Funeral Home..........................................69 David Bowers.........................................................47 Dow Chemical Co...................................................61 Farmers Insurance — Mark Spurgeon...................56 First Presbyterian Church.......................................57 Galveston Art League Gallery..................................56 Galveston College..................................................25 Galveston Economic Development Partnership..........5 Galveston Insurance Associates..............................51 Galveston Memorial Park Cemetery........................68 Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce............23 Georgetown Mortgage............................................43 Hayes Funeral Home..............................................43 JSC Federal Credit Union........................................57 Joe Tramonte Realty...............................................35 Law Offices of Susan M. Edmonson.......................61 League City Regional Chamber of Commerce.........61 Lighthouse Harbor Realty.......................................69 MH&T Advertising..................................................69 Mainland Tool.........................................................60 Publication Printers Corp..........INSIDE BACK COVER Robinson’s Auto Repair..........................................61 SLC Investment Services........................................69 Sand ‘N Sea Properties..........................................56 Secure Mortgage Co..............................................68 Sidney Tregre.........................................................68 Stewart Title Co......................................................33 Submit Your Assignments.......................................68 Sue Johnson..........................................................51 Susan Cahill...........................................................41 Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce........27 Texas First Bank.....................INSIDE FRONT COVER The Grand 1894 Opera House...............................60 The House Company..............................................27 The Meridian Retirement Community......................56 The Power House Electric Co..................................69 Tom Schwenk........................................................57 United Way-Galveston County Mainland..................69 University of Houston-Clear Lake............................47
Joseph Hurst adds a new roll of newsprint to The Daily News’ press. JENNIFER REYNOLDS 74 | The Daily News | Celebrating 175 Years
University of Texas Medical Branch.........................25
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Published on Jul 16, 2017