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Title:
The Fort Peck press. [volume] : (Fort Peck (Wheeler), Mont.) 1934-193?
Place of publication:
Fort Peck (Wheeler), Mont.
Geographic coverage:
  • Fort Peck, Valley, Montana  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Wheeler, Valley, Montana  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Publisher:
M.D. Eastly
Dates of publication:
1934-193?
Description:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Aug. 2, 1934)-
Frequency:
Weekly
Language:
  • English
LCCN:
sn 85053004
OCLC:
11579148
Preceding Titles:
Holdings:
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The Fort Peck press. [volume] August 2, 1934 , Image 1

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The Fort Peck Press

The Fort Peck Press was a four-page weekly newspaper started in Wheeler, Montana, by Merton D. Eastly in 1934. Eastly was a seasoned newspaperman and printer, having started as a printer's apprentice in 1888. Before arriving in Wheeler, Eastly ran three other Montana papers between 1930 and 1934: The Hogeland Herald, The Turner Big Flat News, and The Chinook News. Eastly sold his lease on the paper on April 20, 1936. Verne T. Hovey became editor, manager, publisher, and proprietor of the Press in March 1936 and left the position a month later. Taking his place was Jerry R. Reinertson, the former publisher of The Fort Peck Independent. Reinertson merged the Independent with the Press in July 1936. This new publisher delegated the editorship to Harry W. Sankey. Sankey was only credited as editor until June 1936 and did not appear anywhere in the paper after that time. Reinertson left the paper in February 1937. Three individuals assumed the position of publisher after Reinertson: J.R. Howell, J.A. Wilson, and H.J. Hubert. Wilson left in March and Howell left a month later.

The work opportunities at the Fort Peck Dam, a Public Works Administration project, drew thousands of people to the Fort Peck area during the Great Depression. An assortment of boomtowns flourished around the site, and The Fort Peck Press covered the news in many of these communities. In addition to general news, the paper covered most of the Fort Peck Dam construction. Front pages carried enthusiastic headlines heralding each new step in the dam building process. For example, the front page of the September 26, 1935 issue highlighted the major achievement of driving steel sheet piling 161 feet into the ground to form the dam's two-mile cutoff wall. Another 1935 headline described the soundscape of the project vividly, saying that "The Concrete Mixers Roar Like a Den of Angry Lions."

The paper's political leanings were evident in its glowing praise of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The first issue, published August 2, 1934, greeted President Roosevelt ahead of his visit to the site, welcoming him to stay "as long as possible." The August 9, 1934 issue gave a breathless account of the President's address there: "He said he was well pleased with the progress and the character of the work being done on the Ft. Peck project here and he was sure the War department at Washington would be pleased too..."

A May 27, 1937 ad encouraged readers to "Move to Wheeler! The Permanent Town!"; However, the town, like the paper, was headed toward the end of its existence as jobs dried up.

Provided by: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT