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In 1911, Colonel Jacob M. Kennedy started the weekly Herald in Libby, Montana, only one year after it became the seat of Lincoln County. Two other weeklies emerged in Libby during the early 20th century, The Libby News and then the Western News, providing an account of events in this small northwestern Montana logging and mining town. During these early years, G.E. Shawler served as the business manager of the newspaper. From the beginning, the Herald advanced the economic interests of Lincoln County, promoting both the logging and mining industries, publishing regular columns on activities in area silver and gold mines. An early issue of the newspaper described the local Kootenai Forest Reserve, later the Kootenai National Forest, as the second largest forest reserve in the nation and one of the only “self-sustaining” reserves.
The editors of the Libby Herald carefully followed local and county politics and business developments, as well as posting news of the nation and world in a graphically interesting format. Weekly editorials supported higher county taxes for road and bridge building and a bond issue opposed by a competing newspaper in nearby Eureka, Montana. A lengthy article touted the proposed construction of a dam and hydroelectric facility at Kootenai Falls, promoted by a Boston capitalist named Joseph Coram, with the prospect of hundreds of construction jobs and power lines linking Libby to the Flathead Valley and Lake Coeur d’ Alene in northern Idaho. A regular column entitled, “Sixteen Years Ago This Week” was gleaned from the Troy Herald, a newspaper that had recently gone out of business.
Political editorials in the Herald generally followed a progressive agenda and supporting the position of the Progressive Power League of Montana. The paper called for direct primaries and the initiative process and opposed the policies of Republican President Taft. The Herald appeared in a six-column, eight-page format. The short-lived paper suspended publication in September 1913.
Provided by: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT