Employees pose in front of one of Denver’s first newspaper buildings at 1720 Welton Street. Between 1901 and 1910.
Photos courtesy of History Colorado Center

The first known newspaper in history was a handwritten single sheet passed among the literate class of Venice, Italy in 1607. Fast forward 250+ years and Denver City’s media wars were on. The Gold Rush was the stuff of headlines when the first two local newspapers published inaugural issues a mere 20 minutes apart on the same day — April 23, 1859. One of those early newspapers was located literally on the site that is now the Grand Hyatt Denver’s lobby, at the doorstep of the
courier. market | bar | kitchen.

As the story goes, the founders typeset the first four-page edition in Omaha emblazoning the masthead with Rocky Mountain in the name because they weren’t entirely certain where they’d ultimately set up shop. Pioneer newsmen were a competitive bunch focused on the pursuit of answers to who, what, when, where, why and how. And there was the lure of power — in being the first to publish a new paper in a nascent territory. The debut of the linotype machine in 1884 made a printer’s job easier, spurring the

growth of daily newspapers. By 1877, 800 dailies operated nationwide.

One of the 800 was The Evening Post first printed in August 1892 but suspended only a year later when silver went bust. Resurrected the next year, the Post took the lead in circulation over the three other dailies combined using “flamboyant circus journalism,” according to critics of the era.

Some people think that Denver reigned as a rare two-newspaper town for more than a century because one of the editors turned their broadsheet into a tabloid. The paper size was easier to hold — and read. Insiders know that it was the newspaper’s advice columnist that doubled readership to more than 80,000 with sensible advice that was particularly revered by servicemen returning home from WWII.

Interior view of one of Denver’s first newspapers. circa 1902.
Photos courtesy of History Colorado Center

The newspaper wars erupted anew in 1981 when the broadsheet went from an evening to morning publication, fueling the competition.

Newspapers were the sole means of staying informed and served as a source of entertainment. Businessmen had an appetite for the sports section and the Op-Ed pages. Comic strips and horoscopes were the extra extras everyone wanted to read all about.

Employees working in the printing room. circa 1902.
Photos courtesy of History Colorado Center

Circulation count measured the newspapers’ reach and successes. And much later Pulitzer Prizes rewarded journalists’ career bests.

courier. market | bar | kitchen is a tribute to the power of the press in shaping the Mile High City.

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