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The Kalispell Bee
On June 15, 1900, Walter Aitken published the first issue of the six-column, four-page semiweekly, the Kalispell [Montana] Bee. Aitken had first arrived in Montana in 1889 from Ontario, Canada, and began his life in the Shields River Valley near Clyde Park ranching and cowboying. However, by 1895 Aitken went to work as a reporter for the Livingston Post. Aitken went on to establish the first newspaper in Stillwater County at Columbus, and in 1900 he moved to Kalispell to establish the Bee, a Democratic paper owned by the copper king, Marcus Daly.
The Bee's politics were clearly evident from the first issue which vociferously attacked Daly's rival copper baron, William Andrews Clark. The front page of the inaugural issue reported on the divisions within the Democratic Party--the forces aligned for and against Clark and the controversy surrounding Clark's election to the U.S. Senate through bribery. The Bee also featured extensive coverage of Flathead County news from Columbia Falls to Libby. Especially notable was a front page story about Glacier National Park with a series of stunning photographs of Lake McDonald. The Kalispell Bee continued to publish through the 1920s.
Provided by: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT