Dallas, Polk County, Oregon
Dallas, Polk County, Oregon
In 1868, newspaperman Jonas H. Upton established the Polk County Signal [LCCN: sn93051616] in the small town of Dallas, Oregon, about 15 miles west of the state’s capitol, Salem. At that time, there was only one other newspaper, the Religious Expositor [LCCN: not found], founded by Charles Hiram Mattoon in 1856. The Expositor eventually moved to Corvallis, closing shortly thereafter. The Signal became the sole news-reporting source in Dallas, existing to the present day. This democratic paper was published every Monday, with a four-page, seven-column spread. It was available for a $3 yearlong subscription.
The Signal would go through many reincarnations as ownership switched hands. In March 1870, Raymond H. Tyson became the owner, changing its name to the Oregon Republican [LCCN: sn93051636], its publishing day to Saturday, and its price to $2 for a yearlong subscription. It had a four-page, six-column spread. Topics were mainly politics, especially bill passage/status and convention news during election time, and neighboring county and state news. The paper had a classifieds section listing items for sale and services wanted. There was also a daily happenings section describing local activities of the townsfolk.
In August 1872, longtime editor Potter Charles Sullivan became sole proprietor of the Oregon Republican,with John J. Daly as its editor. Sullivan changed the paper’s name to the Liberal Republican [LCCN: sn93051637]. Its layout, publishing day, and cost stayed the same. However, Sullivan, a deep supporter of then presidential candidate and editor of the New-York Tribune [LCCN: sn83030214], Horace Greeley, aligned much of the content with the ideals of liberal republicanism and Greeley’s presidential campaign.
During this time, the Liberal Republican focused on topics similar to those highlighted during Tyson’s ownership of the paper. It mainly reported on politics, with weekly sections “Town & County News” and “State Items” discussing government happenings, including court rulings, American Indian news, and food prices. As it did during the Tyson period, the paper featured a classifieds section, with advertisements for clothes, animals, and services.
Throughout its existence, the paper would suffer financially and switch hands several more times as a result. With ownership changes came name changes. In December 1872, the paper became the Dallas Itemizer [LCCN: sn84022651] under Ed Casey. In 1879, it became the Polk County Itemizer [LCCN: sn94049693] under George E. Good. In 1924, Earle Richardson purchased the Polk County Itemizer and merged newspapers to create the Polk County Itemizer-Observer [LCCN: sn96088087], which exists today.
Prepared with reference to:
Rohde, Susan Hunter, and Debra Meaghers. Dallas. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2012.
Turnbull, George S. History of Oregon Newspapers. Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort, 1939
— Written by Erin Choi