times of my first Western movies, I was puzzled by newspaper
publishing in small towns in the mountains and prairies of the West:
there you have a town population under thousand, most of the time
well below thousand, with scarce and unsafe supply routes, and yet
it has its own paper! What was the driving force of that enterprise?
Freedom of speech? While reading about Animas Forks, one of many
Colorado mining ghost towns, I got a hint.
Forks prospered in the late 1870's and throughout the 80's, but
started to wane during the 90's. More than thousand hardy men and
woman ventured to that spot at an altitude of 3400 m (11,300 ft); it
was deserted by the early 1920's.
the rule was made in the district that all mining patent notices had
to appear in a newspaper, Sol Raymond quickly took advantage of the
situation and started up the Animas Forks Pioneer. The first
issue was sold to a mine owner in Mineral Point for $500. After that
it sold for as much as $25 and never less than a dollar per issue.
Despite the price, the paper had a big circulation as long as new
claims were made, but when prospecting fell of, the paper folded.
Eberhart: Guide to the Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps,
4th ed., Swallow Press, 1974.
Winter at Animas Forks,
ruins of the mining town are dominated by a rather large house with
a window seat.
I would like to see what was the
volume and language of advertising in Animas Forks Pioneer.
That could be another hint for me.