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Front Page » February 26, 2009 » Carbon County News » Newspapers start on modest scale, but expand with visiona...
Published 2,100 days ago

Newspapers start on modest scale, but expand with visionary thinking


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Before radio, television and the Internet, newspapers literally provided the only information people in local areas received about their towns and the things that went on in the cities or counties.

Even today in many communities, newspapers are the only place where citizens can learn about what happened at the town council meeting last week and who scored the most points in the local high school basketball game.

On Jan. 15, 1891, one paper that was to meet that challenge published its first issue. The Eastern Utah Telegraph was started by owner and editor S.K. King, who also billed himself as an attorney at law for hire.

Later, King wrote that he had come to Price - a town with 300 people - from Burlington, Colo., and had spent some time in the Dakotas.

Other than that, there is little history about the man who began a paper whose ancestor still publishes in the same town in which he began his business.

"The Telegraph is a new venture in Utah journalism and, as its name imports, is dedicated to the people of eastern Utah upon whom, in the main, it depends for its support and in whose interests its influence will at all times be exerted," wrote King in the first issue.

The Eastern Utah Telegraph's first issue contained eight pages in a five column format.

On the right side of the pages, a single column of advertising posted businesses like A.J. Hoyt, a physician and surgeon; a store called the City Meat Market; and E. Anderson's Price Blacksmith Shop.

The center two columns were what qualified as news of the time.

The last two columns were again filled with ads for such businesses as the Oasis Saloon and the Magnet bar along with more blacksmith businesses.

In 1891, the main transportation anywhere outside of the railroad lines was undertaken by foot, by horse or horse drawn conveyance.

Blacksmithing was a big business and, in some ways, is similar to the mechanics, auto repair shops and tire and car parts stores that exist in Price today.

Bars were a big draw, too, with liquid refreshment waiting for people who rode the long ago transporation modes down dusty trails to reach the small town.

The news on the front page of the first issue of the Eastern Utah Telegraph consisted of local jabber, but no headlines.

The stories were meshed together and, in some cases, there wasn't much real meat to the tales.

In some ways, reading the first column of news printed in Price may remind people of reading "stream of consciousness" writing that denotes some fictional authors.

The articles also contained a lot of opinions of the editor.

The first issued contained a story on a topic that has been in the news and in controversy ever since the community was founded - water.

Basically, the story was about water sources in the county and the "fine land" of an estimated "65,000 acres" that was under cultivation in the area.

At the time, Carbon was part of Emery County.

The front page of the Eastern Utah Telegraph also featured a small piece concerning the future of telephone service within the county.

The news story indicated that the towns of "Cleveland, Huntington, Castle Dale, Orangeville and Ferron should all be connected with Price."

While telephones had been invented nearly 20 years earlier, the communication devices still were a feature of large cities and many small towns located in rural areas had little or no service.

According to a master's thesis in journalism titled The History of the (Price, Utah) Sun Advocate 1891-1962 by Edith May A. Allred in June 1963, the majority of the rest of the inside of the newspaper was "boilerplate" and contained articles from Good Housekeeping magazine.

The author completed the thesis in June 1963.

Allred also noted in her master's thesis that "articles on such topics as the value of skim milk, disease in hogs, desertion of soldiers, the value of clover and farm animal news was included."

In the first days of the newspaper, the price of purchasing a one-year subscription was $2.50.

The paper was published on Fridays.

The Eastern Utah Telegraph was the beginning of a long-standing community business and service that has turned into a household word in the Carbon County area.

(Editors note: As the Sun Advocate moves toward its 120th anniversary on Jan. 15, 2011, a series of articles will be published concerning the history of newspapers in the Castle Valley region.

The articles will detail the subsequent merger of the newspapers in the Carbon County area into one publication.

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February 26, 2009
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