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Wood River times. [volume] : (Hailey, Idaho) 1882-1915
Place of publication:
Hailey, Idaho
Geographic coverage:
  • Hailey, Alturas, Idaho  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Hailey, Blaine, Idaho  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
T.E. Picotte
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (May 20, 1882)- ; -33rd year (Feb. 26, 1915).
Daily (except Sun.)
  • English
  • Hailey (Idaho)--Newspapers.
  • Idaho--Hailey.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01223629
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 86091172
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Wood River times. [volume] May 20, 1882 , Image 1


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Wood River Times

Theophile Edelman Picotte first published the Wood River Times on June 15, 1881, in Hailey, Idaho. It began as a weekly, but within 11 months expanded to a "daily" publication, Sundays excluded, also under the masthead Wood River Times. Picotte, a native of Montreal, learned the printing trade in New York then moved on to Cincinnati, New Orleans, Texas, Denver, and Nevada. Picotte's Times, a Republican paper, was the third newspaper to be published in Idaho's Wood River Valley, the first being the Democratic Wood River News in Bellevue and the second being the Republican Wood River Miner, also of Hailey. The mining rush in the Wood River region attracted multiple other printers and prompted some very lively competition among them. Eleven papers started in this time period, but only four remained by 1890 when Idaho achieved statehood.

The daily Wood River Times was four pages with six columns, and its news was received through telegraph transmission to Blackfoot, Idaho, and then by stage to Hailey. Picotte promised the paper by six o'clock in the evening and distributed it through the Wood River Valley communities of Bellevue, Bullion, Broadford, and Ketchum. The paper covered "all local happenings of general interest, as well as the most reliable reports obtainable of the yield of our mines, smelters, and mills." Much of its content related to mining claims, including patents and forfeitures. The Times also covered regional news from the towns of Boise and Blackfoot, as well as from the adjacent states of Utah, Nevada, and Oregon.

In the mid-1880s, Chinese immigrants occupied about 150 residences in Hailey. In 1886, disgruntled locals established the anti-Chinese League with the aim of systematically boycotting and ultimately expelling the Chinese. The League passed laws banning opium use to target the primarily Chinese-run industry, recommended that the town boycott laundries and other Chinese-owned businesses, and encouraged employers not to employ Chinese laborers. The Times supported the boycott and wrote that when the Chinese left town, their homes could be "occupied by civilized, intelligent, industrious human beings" - a huge improvement, they asserted, over "the miserable hovels of the detested and detestable Mongolians."

T.E. Picotte became known for his racy, sensationalized, too-often fictitious journalistic style. Eventually recognizing the public's aversion to his embellished journalism, he became a touch more conservative. Picotte unabashedly expressed his strong opinions on public, government, and private matters, and his energetic fervor infused the pages of the Times with a crusading spirit. Picotte's feisty comments often had negative consequences; he was arrested for shooting at the Grand Marshall of the Fourth of July parade after the Marshall slapped him for his comments. Picotte once got in a skirmish with a judge, and another time was horsewhipped by a Democratic sheriff.

What began as a weekly territorial newspaper ambitiously grew to a successful daily publication that lasted for over 30 years.

Provided by: Idaho State Historical Society