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The Mena star. : (Mena, Ark.) 1898-1904
Place of publication:
Mena, Ark.
Geographic coverage:
  • Mena, Polk, Arkansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
A.W. St. John & Sons
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 15, no. 9 (Mar. 2, 1898)-v. 21, no. 36 (Sept. 1, 1904).
  • English
  • Arkansas--Mena.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01216991
  • Arkansas--Polk County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01216994
  • Mena (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Polk County (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 89051214
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The Mena star. March 2, 1898 , Image 1


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The Mena weekly star, The Mena star, and The Mena weekly star

The city of Mena lies in Polk County, Arkansas in the southwestern part of the state along the Oklahoma border. Mena is a popular tourist destination in the Ouachita National Forest for the Talimena Scenic Drive and Queen Wilhelmina State Park. It is part of the socio-economic region of Ark-La-Tex (which includes sections of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas). Mena was founded in 1896 as a stop along the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railroad (later the Kansas City Southern Railway) developed by Arthur Stillwell. In 1898 the Polk County seat was moved from Dallas to Mena. Mena was advertised as a health spa city, though the main industries were timber, agriculture, and mineral extraction.

In 1896 Andrew Warner St. John established The Mena Weekly Star as one of the first newspapers in Mena. The paper's first publishing office was a small 16 x 24 foot building, which was a generous size for a city just-established in which many people were still living in tents. The office had a Fairhaven press, an 8 x 12 foot jobber, and a good supply of type. The Star was published every Wednesday by A. W. St. John & Sons. Before moving to Mena, Andrew St. John worked at the Carthage Evening Press (1891-1966) in Carthage, Missouri for about 16 years. At the Star, St. John worked with his younger son Roy Robert St. John. The Mena Weekly Star continued under that name until 1898, at which time it changed to The Mena Star. The Mena Star was published every Wednesday, then in 1899 it changed to Thursday publication. In 1904 the paper returned to its original name, The Mena Weekly Star, and continued to be published every Thursday.

In 1907, Andrew St. John died and his older son, Virgil W. St. John, joined his brother Roy St. John at the paper. Virgil had previously been living in Kansas City, Missouri, where he had worked at the Kansas City Journal (1897-1928). Upon his return to Mena, the Star was published by A. W. St. John's Sons. In 1911, the St. John family created the Star Publishing Company, which included Virgil St. John's son, Ernest Warner St. John. The next year, Virgil St. John bought out his brother, and in 1920 he became the sole owner and editor. The paper continued until 1977.

The Star was an independent newspaper, though it leaned toward a democratic position in reporting local and international news. In 1914, the Department of Journalism at the University of Oregon listed the Star as one of the best country weeklies in the United States. In 1921, the paper was honored again, this time by the Arkansas Press Association, as one of the top county weeklies of Arkansas based on news and editorial content. The Arkansas University Department of Journalism followed with the same accolade in 1922.

Provided by: Arkansas State Archives