The Pampa News Began In 1906

The Pampa News began as a “one man paper” in April, 1906. Known then as the Pampa Crony, it was published in Miami by newspaperman, L.L. Ladd, who saw Pampa as a community of great potential. When Ladd decided to move the paper to Pampa , L.H. “Lem” Greene and his cousin, V.S. “Jack” Keahey operators of a dray service, transported the old George Washington hand press from Miami to Pampa . It was first housed in the rear of the Lard and Wynne Land Office at 123 S. Ballard. Harland Case ran off the first page on the old George Washington hand press.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

L.H. Greene was the first of the 250 subscribers who paid $1.00 each for a year’s subscription. Because a newspaper was a “novelty” then, Ladd was able to fill the newspaper with a large percentage of advertising.

The following article preceded a listing of various tracts of land for sale by Lard and Wynne:

“Our town ‘Pampa’ is located on the plains on the Southern Kansas Railroad, 40 miles west of the Oklahoma line, between the South Canadian and the North Fork of Red River in Gray County, Texas, and has grown from a section house to 400 population in the last two years. Level country, covered with a thick coat of buffalo grass. Our soil runs from deep black on the plains to sandy loam as we approach the rivers. The altitude is 3,200 feet, which gives us an ideal climate. Our rainfall is 24.09 inches average the last ten years. Fifteen or twenty miles towards the rivers the country becomes broken, with pretty running streams, kept running by springs the year round. Water being soft and clear. Creeks have plenty of timber, cottonwood, hackberry, china-oak, wild grapes, currents and plums grow in abundance. The valleys along the creeks are used for hay meadows and alfalfa (which does well all over the country). Rough land is used for grazing purposes and is covered with all kinds of grasses. The depth of water ranges here from 0 to 300 feet. Any kinds of crops can be grown here that can be grown anywhere (except tropical). Corn, oats, barley, wheat, flax, cotton, kaffir corn, milo maize, broom corn, sorghum, millet, and vegetables of all kinds. For the last nine years we have had an average of 18 bushels of wheat and 30 bushels of corn per acre, This year, ‘1907,’ wheat ranged from 9 to 14 bushels on sod and 14 to 20 on old ground. The estimate on corn ranges from 20 to 50 bushels per acre. Oats 30 to 40 bushels. The price of this land ranges from $3.50 to $25 per acre, according to the amount of improvements and distance from town. We have a good school here, also good churches and a good class of people.”

In 1907 Ladd sold the Crony to pharmacist Joe Smith who renamed it The Pampa News. Smith, who learned the newspaper business from his brother in Indiana , came to Texas two years after the Civil War and operated a newspaper and a drugstore in Bonham before moving to Pampa . He moved the newspaper office to the east end of the First National Bank building. Later the office was moved to the rear of Perkins Pharmacy and then to 123 W. Foster and to 322 W. Foster before it was moved in the early 1950s to its present location at 403 W. Atchison .

Smith’s son, Joe Jr., joined him in 1917. The younger Smith learned the newspaper trade from his father and could set type while still in grammar school. He worked for papers in Iowa and Illinois before settling in Pampa , where he shipped in the first linotype to be located between Amarillo and Wichita , Kansas .

The two Smiths operated the paper until 1926 when it was sold to J.L. Nunn and David Warren. This was a time of extraordinary growth for Pampa , and Nunn and Warren changed the Pampa News from a weekly to a semi-weekly format. In 1927 they created the Pampa Daily News. The name has since reverted to The Pampa News because it is not published on Saturday.

The Nunn-Warren partnership was dissolved in 1934. Nunn and his son Gilmore operated the paper until 1936, when R.C. Hoiles, a publisher from Santa Ana, California bought the News and added it to his chain of newspapers.

One of the major changes in the “backshop” was the conversion from the linotype or “hot” type to offset printing in November, 1970. During the fall of 1978, a complete system was installed to speed up the typesetting process. The Harris system enabled reporters and editors to type news stories directly instead of typing them and having them set by a typesetter.

The Pampa News receives news, sports and feature copy and photographs from the Associated Press Wire Service and is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation. It is a member of the Panhandle Press Association, where it receives numerous awards each year.

In 1980, Louise Fletcher became publisher after serving as business manager. She was the only woman publisher in the 31-paper Freedom chain of newspapers. David Bowser became managing editor in 1993.

In 1985 the newspaper staff consisted of 42 people, including seven advertising representatives, four editors, three reporters and a photographer. Also there were 51 independent carriers.

The circulation in 1985 was 8,500 daily and 9,500 to 11 area towns, including Miami , McLean, Mobeetie, White Deer, Groom, Skellytown, Wheeler, and Canadian.

About four years ago the News went on the Mackintosh Apple computer system which has increased the capacity for copy.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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