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Editor E.R. Cleveland revealed the first issue of the Whitefish [Montana] Pilot, a four-page, six- column weekly on January 23, 1904, only six months after the town of Whitefish was platted, anticipating the rerouting of the Great Northern Railroad through Whitefish to Rexford, Montana. Establishment of the Great Northern Railroad (GNRR) through northern Montana in the 1890s opened up the rich timber resources of the area around Whitefish, and early issues of the newspaper dedicated sizeable coverage to railroad news and ultimately to the designation of Whitefish as a division point along the GNRR line.

By 1905, Ernest A. Southwick and Charles E. Clemens acquired the Pilot.Southwick began his newspaper career in Kansas where he apprenticed to a printer prior to settling in Montana in 1894. In 1909, Southwick moved to Libby, Montana, to buy the Western News. Before leaving the Pilot, Southwick penned editorials supporting Republican Senator Thomas Carter and the establishment of Glacier National Park, which finally happened in 1910. The Pilot supported "working men," advocating for the construction of a workingman's club room in Whitefish, and also encouraged the planting of trees in town. The Whitefish Pilot is still published today.

Provided by: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT