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Country: United States
City: Spanish Fork, Utah
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 297
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 2,320
Earliest Date: 12 July 1895
Latest Date: 29 December 1910
The area of Spanish Fork, Utah, about sixty miles south of Salt Lake City, was settled in 1850 by Mormon farmers seeking to establish homesteads on the rich bottom land of the Spanish Fork River, which was named in honor of Spanish explorers who had followed the waterway through the Wasatch Mountains during their 1776 journey. By 1854, a dozen or so small farms had sprung up on the fertile soil of the river plain. One year later, the territorial legislature granted a charter of incorporation for Spanish Fork, and the town was born. A sawmill was erected in 1858; the first schoolhouse was built in 1862; and the Spanish Fork Foundry opened in 1884, producing iron and brass castings. Still, for the first 100 years of the town’s existence, farming remained Spanish Fork’s principal industry.
A handful of newspapers had come and gone in Spanish Fork before Andrew Jensen, an editor and publisher, launched the Spanish Fork Press in 1902. Its very first edition boasted both a “local and long distance printing office.” Jensen explained the short delay in the paper’s long-awaited arrival: "The Spanish Fork Press, as we have chosen to name this paper, should have made its first appearance two weeks ago, but on account of the delay of the new press, and other printing material, we were compelled to wait.”
The Spanish Fork Press managed to succeed where a number of its predecessors in town had failed. Jensen owned his own printing office, located right in the middle of town, as well as a hand-operated press, which helped to control costs. Furthermore, by carrying a variety of local news items, along with wire service reports on interesting events from around the world, Jensen garnered the support of an assortment of local businesses. Jensen bucked recent journalistic trends by making a profit with the Spanish Fork Press, which he published weekly, and he reaped advertising revenue from a wide variety of sources. A local dentist regularly bought front-page ad space, as did a florist, and a number of lawyers, bankers, and even dairy farmers. Their advertisements, with often lively language, were sprinkled among news items that no doubt captured the attention of rural readers. For instance, a front-page story on August 3, 1905, described a freak thunderstorm that killed five people at the Coney Island amusement park in New York. That same edition carried an update of the ongoing war between Russia and Japan, as well as a story about a deadly fever rampaging through New Orleans and a report about a Georgia preacher convicted in the murder of two small children.
The success of the Spanish Fork Press continues into the first decade of the 21st century, when it is still published every week by the largest newspaper in Utah County, the Daily Herald.
Provided by: University of Utah, Marriott Library