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Country: United States
City: Lubbock, Tex.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 362
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 5,614
Earliest Date: 11 November 1909
Latest Date: 31 October 1922
Attorney John J. Dillard and speculator Thad Tubbs started the Lubbock Avalanche on May 4, 1900, with two main goals: to encourage the settlement and modernization of Lubbock, a town of fewer than 300 residents, and “to surprise the people--to sweep them off their feet.” The paper was an instant success, selling all 40 initial hand-pressed copies. By 1910, when Lubbock boasted nearly 1,900 residents, the Avalanche dominated the Lubbock County news market; the paper reported 1,750 subscribers and claimed to circulate throughout the United States as well as the South Texas Plains.
The Avalanche underwent several publication changes during its early years. Although Tubbs quickly left the partnership, Dillard issued the Avalanche as a Thursday weekly until 1908, when James L. Dow purchased the paper. In 1909, the Avalanche officially displayed the longer version of its title, the Lubbock Avalanche, in its masthead. Semi-weekly circulation began in 1918, with Dow publishing the first daily edition of the paper, the afternoon Lubbock Daily Avalanche, in October 1922. The following year, the paper adopted a morning format and was named the Lubbock Morning Avalanche. In 1926, the Avalanche consolidated with the Lubbock Daily Journal and its weekly, the Lubbock Plains Journal. Except for the Sunday Avalanche-Journal, the Avalanche and the Journal maintained separate names and publication schedules until 1959, when they became the morning and evening Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, respectively.
From its inception, the Avalanche formed a cornerstone of Lubbock’s civic affairs. Dillard was instrumental in bringing railway service to Lubbock, promoting the benefits of incorporation, and publicizing Lubbock County’s businesses and fertile soil. A fierce advocate for West Texas, James Dow continued to tout the region, frequently ending articles with the refrain, “Come to Lubbock.” Editorials supported a wide range of civic improvements including the development of a fire department, modernized infrastructure, and improved schools. Although Dow urged readers to “Get acquainted with new ideas, new viewpoints, new angles of vision--new people,” he displayed a marked conservatism in his attitudes towards blacks and women. Aside from his support for the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Dow criticized women’s involvement in Lubbock’s newly organized social clubs.
Although the Avalanche printed national and international news, the paper’s true focus lay on Lubbock and the South Texas Plains. The Avalanche catered to the area’s cotton and poultry farmers, printing tips for silo construction and crop rotation as well as providing an ongoing legal-advice column geared towards farmers. Other established columns included “Church Notes,” “Society Items,” “Neighboring County News,” and “International Sunday School Lesson,” a syndicated column from Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute.
The year 1931 marked the beginning of an influential partnership between editor-publisher Charles A. Guy and general manager Parker F. Prouty. From 1931 to 1972, the two men shared what subsequent editor Burle Pettit described as “a great sense of where Lubbock was, where it needed to be and what it was going to take to get it there.” For 45 years, Guy also authored “The Plainsman,” a popular daily column with commentary on local and national events.
The Avalanche-Journal, known locally as “The A-J,” has received several honors in the recent past, including designation in 2011 as “Newspaper of the Year” and “Best Online Newspaper” by the Texas Associated Press. The Avalanche-Journal remains in publication.
Provided by: University of North Texas; Denton, TX