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The Palatka daily news. : (Palatka, Fla.) 1884-1888
Alternative Titles:
  • Daily news
Place of publication:
Palatka, Fla.
Geographic coverage:
  • Palatka, Putnam, Florida  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Speer & Harrison
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1884; ceased in 1888?
Daily (except Monday)
  • English
  • Florida--Palatka.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01215854
  • Florida--Putnam County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01214942
  • Palatka (Fla.)--Newspapers.
  • Putnam County (Fla.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 4 (Mar. 2, 1884).
  • Latest issue consulted: Vol. 5, no. 55 (May 8, 1888).
sn 89070049
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The Palatka daily news. March 1, 1884 , Image 1


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The Palatka Daily News

Palatka is located on the upper St. Johns River and serves as the seat of Putnam County, Florida. The town was crossed by a number of railroads--the Florida Southern; the Georgia Southern and Florida; the Jacksonville, the Tampa and Key West; and the St. Augustine and Palatka; and Palatka served as a junction for routes continuing to the west and south. 1865-95 is known as the "golden age" for Palatka, when it not just home to these major railroads, but also to seven steamboat lines. Palatka was the major shipping point for citrus and timber, as well as a popular destination for tourists.

However, on November 7, 1884, a fire devastated Palatka, practically destroying the entire. By 1890, Palatka had reemerged as a "more refined city," with eight first-class hotels and three new residential districts. Unfortunately, the "Great Freezes of 1894-1895" destroyed most of the region's citrus groves, wiping out Palatka's citrus industry. Following this devastation, Palatka could no longer keep up with Jacksonville's rise as an economic center. Although still of importance, Palatka's railroads could no longer compete with those in Jacksonville, and Palatka's steamboats operated only during tourist seasons. Palatka came to rely on the expanding lumber business, which made Palatka the industrial center it is today.

The Palatka Daily News operated from 1884 to 1888. The Democratic paper appeared daily every morning, except on Mondays. It was managed by W.W. Randall and published by Colonel Eugene P. Speer and Benjamin Harrison, who also served as editor. Speer left the paper in April 1884. In 1886, Harrison became secretary of the publishing company, while S.U. Hammond succeeded Randall as business manager. The Palatka Daily News and the Palatka Weekly News were both published by the Palatka News Publishing Company and were often referred to as daily and weekly publications of the "Palatka News." The Weekly News, which also began publication in 1884, became the short-lived Palatka Evening Herald in 1888.

The Daily News began as a four-page, six-column paper printed by steam-powered machinery and delivered by carriers for readers within the city limits or mailed postage free. Subscription cost were $1.50 for 3 months, $2.50 for 6 months, or $5 per year. By April 1887, the paper grew to nine columns; subscription costs increased to $2 for 3 months, $4 for 6 months or $8 per year, yet delivery methods remained the same. The Daily News reported on developments in Florida such as the growth of the citrus industry and railroads. The 1885 presidential election leading up to the inauguration of Grover Cleveland aroused particular interest. By 1887, the newspaper's coverage expanded to include more international matters such as the various attempts to assassinate the Russian czar and developments in Britain and Germany.

Provided by: University of Florida