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The Hope pioneer. [volume] : (Hope, N.D.) 1882-1964
Alternative Titles:
  • Hope pioneer and Steele County progress
Place of publication:
Hope, N.D.
Geographic coverage:
  • Hope, Griggs, North Dakota  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Hope, Steele, North Dakota  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Hope Print. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • -v. 83 no. 7 (May 28, 1964).
  • Began in 1882.
  • English
  • Hope (N.D.)--Newspapers.
  • North Dakota--Hope.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01280402
  • "Official journal of Steele County."
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
  • Description based on: Vol. 2, no. 1 (Apr. 27, 1883).
  • Published as: The Hope pioneer and Steele County progress, May 9-June 6, 1901.
sn 87096037
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The Hope pioneer. [volume] April 27, 1883 , Image 1


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The Hope Pioneer

The history of the Hope (North Dakota) Pioneer is nearly as complicated as the history of its hometown. The weekly, described as the only paper in Steele County upon the county's organization in 1883, actually began publication in Minneapolis in 1881 as a promotional tool for the Red River Valley Land Company. When Hope was founded in Dakota Territory in 1882, the paper relocated there in April. Hope had the unusual privilege of being the seat of two counties, Griggs and Steele, before losing the prize to Sherbrooke. In 1918, the Pioneer promoted a campaign to reclaim the county seat for Hope, but both towns lost to Finley. Regardless of Hope's official status, the Pioneer remained the official journal of Steele County. An ambitious seven-column publication reaching an initial circulation of only 450, no news item was too insignificant for the front page. Articles about prominent citizens afflicted with boils, frostbite, or horse bites were early features, but wheat prices were always given priority.

Editor R.H. Simpson bought the underperforming Steele County Gazette in January 1886, and combined it with the Pioneer, filling Gazette subscriptions with issues of his paper. The nearby Mayville Weekly Tribune applauded this development, writing one good, clean paper is worth more to a town than two or three scabby half-starved looking sheets. Many more editors would come and go over the 82-year history of the Pioneer, including George H. Iseminger from 1889 to 1885, followed by Joseph and Henry Pepper in various partnerships from 1895 to 1905. Lew J. Bowen would serve briefly in 1910, and again for a nearly unbroken stretch from 1920 to 1957. Theodore Kolegraf and Eugene R. Beardslee would shepherd the Pioneer through its final years, before it was sold to Finley's Steele County Press.

In June 1905, the North Dakota Publishing Company of Fargo purchased the Pioneer's subscription list and plant and replaced its aging machinery with a new Cottrell cylinder press. By the 1920s, the Pioneer had expanded from a four- to eight-page format and covered news and social notes from Blabon, Pillsbury, Colgate, Pickert, and Luverne. The 1920s also saw the arrival of a column devoted to happenings at Hope High School, as well as a weekly crossword. In the 1930s, the paper began to devote regular coverage to the Hope Women's Club, and a column on North Dakota birds by North Dakota State University Professor Orin Alva Stevens appeared. Increased attention was paid to the Pioneer's female readership in the 1940s and 1950s as syndicated and local articles on housekeeping, sewing, and cooking appeared while men were off at war or work.

Despite the Pioneer office and equipment being damaged by fire on May 4,1964, the paper was able to meet its regular weekly printing schedule. Unfortunately, hard work alone could not sustain the paper. Insurance monies were insufficient to replace the destroyed machinery, and the May 28,1964 issue of the Hope Pioneer would be the last.

Provided by: State Historical Society of North Dakota