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Gunnison news-champion. [volume] : (Gunnison, Colo.) 1902-1904
Alternative Titles:
  • Gunnison news and people's champion
Place of publication:
Gunnison, Colo.
Geographic coverage:
  • Gunnison, Gunnison, Colorado  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
H.F. Lake
Dates of publication:
  • No. 5 (Jan. 24, 1902)-no. 28 (July 1, 1904).
  • English
  • Available on microfilm from the Colorado Historical Society.
sn 83045229
Preceding Titles:
Succeeding Titles:
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Gunnison news-champion. [volume] May 2, 1902 , Image 1


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Gunnison News-Champion, Gunnison News-Champion and Tribune, and Gunnison News-Champion

Gunnison County and the town of Gunnison, incorporated in March 1880, are located in the mountainous region of west-central Colorado, which is the ancestral home of the Parianuches and Tabeguache (later called the Uncompahgres) Ute people. White settlement of the area was predicated initially on the discovery of placer gold, and later on silver and coal mining. As mining petered out in the late nineteenth century, ranching and farming became the prominent activities in the area, activities that resulted in the removal of the Tabeguache Utes to the Uintah-Ouray Reservation in Utah, opening up the area to white agriculture. The town of Gunnison was an important stop along the Denver & Rio Grande railroad.

The publication history of the Gunnison News-Champion begins with the founding of the Gunnison News by Colonel W.H.F. Hall in April 1880. The News folded in 1891, but Joseph Heiner revived the paper in the same year. In December 1899, Henry Lake, Sr. purchased the paper and then leased out ownership to Ellis R. Lore. By 1900, however, Lore lost the lease due to monetary constraints and mounting debts. The Gunnison Tribune reported that, "In order to protect his plant from E. R. Lore's many creditors, Henry F. Lake yesterday closed Mr. Lore out and took charge of the Gunnison News" (December 21, 1900). Lake went so far as to hire local teamsters to move the printing equipment to another building while Lore was "in his cups" (Colorado Newspapers: A History & Inventory, 1859-2000, Jane C. Harper, Craig W. Leavitt, Thomas J. Noel, 2014). Lake Sr. asked his son Henry Lake, Jr. to take charge of the newspaper until he could find another buyer. Henry Lake, Jr. bought the newspaper himself in January 1901 and would stay with it for the next 50 years.

In addition to purchasing the Gunnison News, Lake was also quick to buy the People's Champion, the former organ for the Populist People's Party, founded by George C. Rohde in 1894. The Avalanche Echo of January 24, 1901, reported that, "The People's Champion and the Gunnison News have united forces and will hereafter appear as one sheet. Henry F. Lake Jr., is the editor and publisher. The politics of the paper are democratic." In 1904, Lake bought the Gunnison Tribune, merged it with the News-Champion, and published for a brief time the Gunnison News-Champion and Tribune. It returned to its shorter name in 1905. In November 1911, Lake sold the paper to Charles F. Roerig, who sold it to Judge Clifford H. Stone, who sold it back to Lake in July 1914.

Under Lake, the weekly News-Champion had a "trenchant and aggressive editorial and news policy," including publishing names of those arrested for bootlegging (Colorado Newspapers). This editorial policy led Lake to being sued for libel in 1910 when he reported that the son of a local saloon keeper, David Cairns, Jr., had been arrested for bootlegging but "referred to the incident in such a way that as to leave the impression it was David Cairns … the saloon keeper." Lake was also adamantly opposed to the Ku Klux Klan, which had a strong presence in Colorado in the 1920s, and he wrote forceful editorials against it. An example of his stance was published on August 15, 1924:

It is unfortunate that any man here should claim he is fighting the Klan and that it is causing him enemies. Such wild statements are simply trouble breeders and pretty soon might bring the hooded organization with its suspicion of neighbors, its alienation of life-long friends and arraying of citizen against citizen on religious and racial issues. More trouble is what some people are looking for.

In 1932, the paper merged with the Gunnison Republican and was issued as the Gunnison News-Champion and the Gunnison Republican until 1946. It then reverted to the name Gunnison News-Champion and published under that title until 1975. Over the course of its publication history, in addition to the newspapers discussed above, the paper was consolidated with the Gunnison Review-Press, the Free Press, the Elk Mountain Pilot, and the Pitkin Miner. In 1975, the Gunnison News-Champion was sold to Sams Communication and renamed the Gunnison Country Times.

Provided by: History Colorado