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Las Vegas in San Miguel County, New Mexico, was a sheep ranching community and railway center during the 1880s.  Anglo Americans formed the majority of recent immigrants to East Las Vegas and soon numbered more than a third of the total population, radically changing life in the territory.  West Las Vegas, known as Old Town, remained predominantly Hispanic. Journalism in Las Vegas reflected the broader tensions throughout the region. Competition became heated and was stronger than anywhere else in the territory.  Political battles inked the pages of the press while violence occurred in the streets. Murders had become so commonplace by 1880 that the Daily New Mexican reported that Las Vegas residents commonly asked over breakfast, “Well, who was killed last night?”  The economic depression of the 1890s affected Las Vegas as well.  Although they viewed themselves as separate communities, the populations of West and East Las Vegas combined reached 5,697 by 1890, and many journalists flocked to the region.  Las Vegas editors published at least forty different papers between 1879 and 1900.

Under the leadership of publisher J.A. Carruth, the printing presses of the weekly Las Vegas Free Press began operation in East Las Vegas on March 7, 1891. It continued until December 12, 1891, after which the Republican newspaper started daily evening publication. The paper closed its doors in December 1892.  During its brief life, the Las Vegas Free Press was also known as the Free Press and the Las Vegas Daily Free Press. The September 1, 1892 edition stated that a subscription cost $6.00 a year, $3.00 for six months, or 15 cents for one week.

Provided by: University of New Mexico