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The Delta independent. [volume] : (Delta, Colo.) 1886-19??
Place of publication:
Delta, Colo.
Geographic coverage:
  • Delta, Delta, Colorado  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Delta Independent Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1886?
  • English
  • Colorado--Delta.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01216628
  • Delta (Colo.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 4, no. 7 (Apr. 13, 1886).
sn 86063206
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The Delta independent. [volume] November 16, 1886 , Image 1


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Delta Chief and The Delta Independent

The inaugural issue of the Delta Chief, the first venture of its kind in Delta County, Colorado, was published on March 7, 1883, in a "little shack" where, according to an account that appeared years afterward in the Steamboat Pilot, "the news man was owner, proprietor, editor, reporter, printer, fire-boss, cook and everything was housed in one room." The "news man" at the Delta Chief was Robert D. Blair, "genial, big hearted rotound [sic] Bob," a well-seasoned journalist who started his career as a typesetter on the Denver Tribune and then the Denver Republican. Blair wrote in the first issue that the Delta Chief would "endeavor to give our patrons a readable work for the best interests of the country, representing no clique nor party." He also added, "[i]n politics the paper will be neutral, but will have an opinion on all questions of interest to our people," although the Delta Chief was later listed as Republican in N.W. Ayer & Son's American Newspaper Annual and Directory. It was described as a "neat, sensible sort of paper from a business standpoint" and Blair's editorial style as "promiscuous," reminding one of the reporters at Leadville's Carbonate Chronicle of the occasion when Blair "threw three desperadoes down stairs at the [Denver] Tribune office and then fell down on top of them."

The community of Delta sits in the valley where the Uncompahgre and Gunnison Rivers converge on Colorado's western slope. Originally called Uncompahgre, it was renamed Delta in 1883, by which time it was a bustling town of 250 residents along the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. Delta thrived as an agricultural center, also benefiting from the proximity to the railroad, which made it a ready shipping point for peaches, pears, cherries, plums, and apples from Delta County orchards. The Delta Chief reported on agricultural news such as the story of a 70-pound watermelon raised in the county and boosted the natural advantages of the area for ranching, farming, and mining. It also published items about the railroad and included state and local news and social tidbits.

Frank E. Howard became co-owner of the Delta Chief with Blair in September 1885, but by December of the same year the paper was discontinued. However, it was soon resurrected as the Delta Independent with Howard again serving as editor. Ownership of the Independent came back to Blair in 1891 and again in 1895. Four years later, on the 16th anniversary of the debut of the Delta Chief, the Daily Journal of Telluride, Colorado, noted that Blair "has sold the paper several times, but it always comes back to him, for which the people of Delta county ought to be thankful." During its run, the weekly Independent changed ownership at least 18 times, until it was finally sold to Charles E. Adams in May 1929 after which it was published as the Delta Daily Independent.

Provided by: History Colorado