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About Cresco plain dealer. (Cresco, Howard County, Iowa) 1913-1945
Cresco, Howard County, Iowa (1913-1945)
- Cresco plain dealer. : (Cresco, Howard County, Iowa) 1913-1945
- Alternative Titles:
- Plain dealer
- Place of publication:
- Cresco, Howard County, Iowa
- Geographic coverage:
- Mead Pub. Co.
- Dates of publication:
- Vol. 54, no. 24 (Feb. 7, 1913)-v. 87, no. 6 (Sept. 27, 1945).
- "Official paper of the city and county."
- sn 87058075
- Preceding Titles:
- Succeeding Titles:
- View complete holdings information
- First Issue Last Issue
Twice-a-week plain dealer and Cresco plain dealer
As the seat of Howard County, the city of Cresco serves a largely agricultural community in northeast Iowa. In fact, the city’s name is Latin for “I grow.” Cresco has recently gained recognition as the birthplace of Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of the World Food Prize, Norman Borlaug.
The Cresco Plain Dealer actually began in the small community of New Oregon a few miles south of Cresco. Originally known as the New Oregon Plain Dealer, the paper was founded by H. Lick and William R. Mead, who published the first issue on August 20, 1859. The paper moved to Cresco in May 1867, at which time the title was changed to the Iowa Plain Dealer. Also in this year, T.P.R. Brown joined Mead as an editor. In 1895, the paper became the Twice-a-week Plain Dealer to reflect a change in its publication schedule; then in 1913 it reverted back to a weekly paper and became the Cresco Plain Dealer.
The Plain Dealer was published and edited primarily by the Mead family throughout most of its history. Soon after the paper was started, William’s brother, Francis J. Mead, purchased Lick’s share of the business and took over as publisher. William Mead continued as editor until his death in 1905, when his nephew Francis Dana Mead assumed this role. When Francis D. Mead died in 1932, his sons, George and Donald, took over operation of the paper. In 1935, Donald Mead was appointed postmaster, leaving his brother George to manage the paper on his own until the Plain Dealer was purchased by Louis P. Barth in 1945. Barth also owned the Howard County Times and consolidated the two papers into a single publication called the Times-Plain Dealer.
From its establishment, the Plain Dealer reflected the views and values of the Democratic Party. The Cresco Times was founded in 1867 to provide a Republican alternative. In 1870, this paper became the Howard County Times. There was something of a circulation war between the Plain Dealer and the Times, particularly from 1890 to 1910. In 1890, both papers were published on Thursdays and each had a circulation of about a thousand subscribers. By 1896, the Plain Dealer had become a semiweekly paper and increased its circulation to over 2,100. The Howard County Times continued to publish only once a week and grew its circulation to 1,500 copies. Four years later, the Plain Dealer’s circulation had declined to 1,750 and the Times’ had risen to 2,200. By 1910, the Plain Dealer was back on top with 1,800 subscribers versus 1,350 for the Howard County Times. The two papers remained fierce competitors until they merged in 1945. The Times-Plain Dealer continues publication in Cresco to the present day.
Provided by: State Historical Society of Iowa