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The Imperial Press debuted on April 20, 1901, under editor and manager Henry C. Reed. Appearing each Saturday, it served the recently founded community of Imperial, California, then part of San Diego County. The addition of the tagline, “Water is king—here is its Kingdom,” to the masthead in June signified an ongoing concern of both the paper and its readership: the availability of water within agricultural areas of southeast California. Within its first year, the Imperial Press merged with a Los Angeles monthly publication called the Imperial Farmer to become the Imperial Press and Farmer on November 2, 1901, with new editor and manager Edgar F. Howe at the helm. Though returning to its original title, the Imperial Press, on March 28, 1903, the focus on water remained. While noting the availability of water in the Imperial Valley, Howe worried that the water rights for “most of the country rests on a basis of speculation as to what the national government will do in the coming years.”
In March 1906, the paper moved to nearby El Centro where, under the leadership of editor and publisher Felix G. Havens, it expanded both its potential readership and its title, becoming the Imperial Valley Press and the Imperial Press on March 3, 1906. Though no longer claiming the value of water within its masthead, the paper continued to argue for water rights, “advocating prompt and decisive action to give the Reclamation Service the power to control the entire water sheds of the rivers of the arid land states.” Of particular concern were private interests controlling access to the Colorado River. The importance of such issues to local politics increased with the founding of Imperial County on August 7, 1907. The paper, its title now shortened to the Imperial Valley Press, strayed from its normal weekly publishing schedule to put out a number of “Extra” editions in late July 1907. These extras addressed the upcoming elections that would establish the county seat along with the potential candidates to fill the new offices. Following the excitement surrounding the establishment of Imperial County, the Imperial Valley Press returned to its Saturday publishing date until September 30, 1911, when the paper officially became a daily. The Imperial Valley Press continues to be published today, including an online edition.
Provided by: University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA