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The silver blade. : (Rathdrum, Idaho) 1895-1903
Place of publication:
Rathdrum, Idaho
Geographic coverage:
  • Rathdrum, Kootenai, Idaho  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J.F. Yost
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (June 1, 1895)-v.9, no. 2 (Apr. 24, 1903).
  • English
  • Idaho--Rathdrum.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01252712
  • Rathdrum (Idaho)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 88056092
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The silver blade. June 1, 1895 , Image 1


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Silver Blade

The small community of Rathdrum, Idaho, was established in 1861. In the 1880s a mining boom began in northern Idaho, and Rathdrum developed as a supply center for the adjacent Coeur d'Alene mining district, also known as Silver Valley. Development of Rathdrum was aided by the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1883 and the placement of a railhead in town. Agriculture and lumber were also important industries, primarily as support industries to mining. Rathdrum was the seat of Kootenai County in 1881-1908.

The Silver Blade was published in 1895-1903 in Rathdrum. Appearing every Saturday, the Blade was originally published as an eight-page, four-column paper, then was later reconfigured to a four-page, six-column paper. By its last year of publication, the Blade had four pages and seven columns.

The Silver Blade advocated for the free coinage of silver at the silver to gold ratio of 16:1. In the paper's first issue, the editor stated that "this Blade is drawn in defense of Idaho's industries and the white metal, and will not be sheathed until both have received proper recognition." In 1895-96, the paper's slogan was "The Only Certain Road to Prosperity, Bimetallism."

The Blade covered local, national, and international news. Local reporting focused not only on Rathdrum, but also on nearby communities including Hope, Post Falls, Sand Point, Athol, Priest River, and Spirit Lake. Regular features in the Silver Blade included the deliberations of local officials under the headlines "Commissioners' Proceedings" or "The County Commissioners." Mining news appeared under the "General Mining News" and "Mines and Mining Camps – Metals of the Northwest" columns. News of marriages, social events, business activity, and visitors to the town were covered in "Local Flashes," "Local Brevities," and "Personal Notes and Gossip."

John F. Yost served as the editor of the Silver Blade from its establishment in 1895 until 1898. In 1899, probate Judge John C. Brady took over as editor. Brady announced that the Silver Blade had struggled to get advertisers due to its mudslinging approach to news coverage. Brady hoped to continue the paper's support of free silver without being abrasive. Under his leadership, the Blade began to cover more national and international news. Judge Brady held the position of editor until he was assassinated in July 1901 by a man he had sentenced to the insane asylum. William A. Logue acted as editor for a short time until 1902. That year, brothers Joseph R.M. and Charles W. Culp purchased the Silver Blade, and in 1903, they changed the paper's name to the Rathdrum Tribune.

Provided by: Idaho State Historical Society