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The Bessemer indicator. : (Bessemer, Colo.) 18??-1894
Place of publication:
Bessemer, Colo.
Geographic coverage:
  • Bessemer, Pueblo, Colorado  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Pueblo, Pueblo, Colorado  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
P. Byrnes
Dates of publication:
  • -v. 5, no. 41 (Nov. 17, 1894).
  • English
  • Colorado--Pueblo County--fast--(OCoLC)fst01209336
  • Colorado--Pueblo--fast--(OCoLC)fst01206395
  • Pueblo (Colo.)--Newspapers.
  • Pueblo County (Colo.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 3, no. 48 (Jan. 7, 1893).
  • Published in Pueblo, Colo., Apr. 7, 1894-Nov. 17, 1894.
sn 91052321
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The Bessemer indicator. January 7, 1893 , Image 1


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Bessemer Indicator and The Indicator

Bessemer, Colorado, was originally founded in 1880 as the settlement of Steel Works, the company town of the Colorado Coal and Iron Company (CC&I;). Officially organized, incorporated, and renamed in August 1886, Bessemer grew alongside and in the shadows of the steel works of the CC&I; and later the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I;). The town, described as "the great industrial suburb of Pueblo," was a hub of commerce that included not only steel but also smelting, oil, coal, packing, and agriculture. Its proximity to Pueblo's railyards made transportation of raw materials and finished products efficient and profitable. Bessemer was made up of a diverse immigrant population from Italy, Eastern Europe, Germany, and Asia, who came to work in the town's many mills, smelters, and mines. CC&I; built the town's fire station, city hall, hospital, and school. CF&I; founded a company-run Sociological Department with the mission of bettering the lives of the workers and their families through education, running a night school where miners could learn English, and establishing a Kindergarten program which taught immigrant children English and the importance of industrial labor. Bessemer remained an independent municipality until 1894, when it consolidated with Pueblo, and was fully absorbed into Pueblo in 1906.

The Bessemer Indicator, with its masthead illustrating the steaming and smoking stacks of the town's steel mills, was begun in 1889 by J.W. Love and sold to Patrick Byrnes in 1893. The paper changed its name to simply the Indicator in 1906, when Bessemer was absorbed into Pueblo, although the paper had been printed in Pueblo since 1894. Byrnes ran the paper until his death in 1947. His son, William A. Byrnes, continued publishing the Indicator but suspended publication for good in 1950. Over its 60 years of publication, the Indicator changed its political bent from initially Independent (the paper's banner once read, "Aggressively Independent in Politics. Local in News) to Republican to Progressive. The weekly paper covered local, regional, state, and national news. "Steel Works Sparks" reported issues and events related to CF&I.; "Our Denver Letter" and "News of the West" printed dispatches from the state's capitol and the Rocky Mountain west. "Telegraphic Brevities" and "Washington Notes" rounded out the national and international coverage.

In 1897, Patrick Byrnes was sued for libel by J.F. Thomas, a local businessman and proprietor of the Hub. Thomas that charged Byrnes' publication questioned his solvency and integrity and damaged his reputation and that of his business by reporting a "false statement of the ownership of the Hub Department store" (Colorado Daily Chieftain). Libel suits aside, the Indicator was a well-respected "thriving weekly... [that reflected] the good will of the business interests of Greater Pueblo... for the advancement of the community" (Salida Record). Both a respected and respectable journalist, Byrnes published the following opinion, "Vulgarity and ribald jokes find no place in a decent newspaper. Any paper which publishes a thing that would bring a blush to the cheek of anybody is not fit to be taken into a home." Byrnes proudly promoted the Indicator, comparing it to the Denver dailies, "All the Denver papers combined do not publish a tenth part of the news of this city [Pueblo], and not a hundredth part of the news of Bessemer. Don't be hoodwinked. Take your home paper and keep posted." Byrnes also used the Indicator as a platform to encourage boosterism of Bessemer, Pueblo, and the state of Colorado, writing "By boosters we don't mean boomers who would just as soon tell a whooper as the plain truth, but folks who study up on the advantages of their communities and then get up enough energy and local pride to tell what they know... Give us boosters and lots of them and fewer of the tribe of knockers, croakers, and calamity howlers."

Provided by: History Colorado