Transcript 150

Transcript there to report on it all

Part three of a history of the paper's founding

By Rick Gardner
Posted 8/9/16

Editor’s Note: This is part three of Richard Gardner’s series of writings about the founding, and early years of the Transcript.

The Colorado Transcript, first published on Dec. 19, …

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Transcript 150

Transcript there to report on it all

Part three of a history of the paper's founding

Editor’s Note: This is part three of Richard Gardner’s series of writings about the founding, and early years of the Transcript.

The Colorado Transcript, first published on Dec. 19, 1866, was the eighth newspaper in Colorado. The Boston Company’s building, Golden’s first building and home of the Mountaineer, was now home of the Transcript.

For his staff, West hired Roger Williams Woodbury and Nelson G. Robison as compositors. Woodbury walked from Denver to Golden to accept his position at the paper. James B.C. Boyd was the first printer’s devil and general roustabout, cutting wood and making fires for West to boil “some stuff like glue, and got well besmirched all over with the cursed stuff.” He also was the first person to sell the Transcript all over town. Boyd was the brother of West’s new bride, Eliza, whom West had met at Golden’s first Christmas ball in 1859 and married during the war, and who joined him at the front as a nurse.

To begin, George West wrote a Salutatory column to introduce the Transcript to the world, finishing with the words “Owned by no clique, controlled by no faction, hampered by no local prejudices, we hope to issue a sheet that shall be a truthful transcript of the affairs of Colorado at large, as the name we have chosen indicates that we solicit the patronage of all classes in every part of the Territory.”

Its first edition featured the complete proceedings of the Colorado Territorial Legislature (soon to be placed in a daily companion edition) and a profile on its rooms in the newly completed upper floor of the Loveland Block (now Old Capitol Grill). The layout featured Representatives Hall at its east end, Council Chamber (Senate) at its west end and committee rooms in between. The paper also featured a page’s worth of content profiling Jefferson County and its many resources for the world.

Today’s Golden Mill was among the Transcript’s first edition advertisers, with founder David Barnes advertising it as Barnes’ Premium Flouring Mills, selling flour and feed at the lowest market rates. The newspaper also wrote of the advent of another current Golden business, stating “The Wells & Fargo Express Co., are erecting a very fine stone building for a stable, on Third street, near the corner of Washington Avenue. It is to be 28 x 50 feet, and a story and a half high — built of the native granite found near here.”

This building, featuring a stepped false front and joined in 1871 by a wooden companion, was Wells Fargo’s relay station where horse teams were switched for fresh teams in stagecoach trips to and from the mountains. It stood exactly a block west of Wells Fargo’s current home.

Two Goldenites who became Colorado icons advertised in the first edition.

William A.H. Loveland ran a full column for his grocery and mercantile, and Edward Berthoud advertised as a civil engineer. Henry Bell & Co. advertised the Golden City Fire Brick Works, beginning a century of Golden’s renowned brickmaking industry. Seth Lake advertised his newly opened Lake House hotel, a wooden building where he said “GOOD FARE and CLEAN BEDS are the rule at this house, and not the exception.”

A Golden City Brewery ad also graced the first edition, though not as it would seem to modern eyes. This was the original Golden City Brewery run by Luc Bron and Rudolph Koenig, who stated “We have our establishment in complete running order, are prepared to furnish our celebrated beer by the keg or glass. Our customers will always find our place supplied with fresh bread and pastry. Give us a call and satisfy yourselves.”

In its first year, the Transcript documented many momentous developments for Golden.

A major building boom took place, where the Transcript reported Seth Lake’s upgrade, saying “Brother Lake has adopted the modest name of the ‘Astor House’ for his new stone Hotel. It is a fine house, and is nearly ready for a grand opening. It is undoubtedly the Astor of Colorado, but is somewhat smaller than the house of that name in New York.”

It also reported “The brick work for the new Episcopal Church, is now completed, and the timbers for the gothic roof are being put up. When completed it will be really one of the prettiest Churches in the West.”

Other reports included John J. Bush constructing the Golden Paper Mills, the only paper mill west of Missouri, and Jonas Barber building the Rock Flour Mills.

The Transcript got its first famous visitor on Aug. 23, 1867 when it was found by Henry Morton Stanley, three years before the famed adventurer found Dr. Livingstone in Africa. Of the Transcript Stanley wrote that it was an “ably written journal, dealing largely in geology, mines and ores.” 

Of Golden he wrote:

“…we arrived at Golden City, which is situated at the very base of the mountains.  The foreground presented an impressive variety of bluffs, massive boulders, crags, and bold plateaus. Crossing Clear Creek, we enter the most wonderful portion of America, the great mountains, by the ‘Golden Gate,’ their natural portal. The scenery is inexpressibly wild and majestic. On each side of the cañon rise dizzy heights, the slopes of which are covered by shrubs and plants, luxuriant creepers, where grape vines, wild raspberry and strawberry grown in profusion. Almost under the horses’ feet is Clear Creek, foaming and shooting up into little billows as it rushes down towards the Platte – its eternity.”

West paid attention to the much less famous too, printing ads for a poor cobbler who came west for his health and set up in a shack where today’s downtown Post Office now stands.  Despite still challenging times William Lewis Douglas creatively advertised his product, exclaiming “INDIANS! If you wish to run away from the Indians don’t go barefoot, but buy a pair of Boots or Shoes”.  In 1868, with $400 he saved, Douglas returned to Massachusetts. 

In the meantime on June 13, 1868 another arrival came. West lost no time in proclaiming for the world to hear: AN OLD FRIEND.

“One of our old ’59 friends put in an appearance on Saturday last upon his old stamping ground, whom we were very glad to see; we refer to Mr. George A. Jackson, one of the earliest pioneers of Colorado. He was the discoverer of the so-called “Jackson Diggings” near Idaho, in the winter of 58-9, and afterwards settled in Golden City. George has been absent over seven years; during the later ‘unpleasantness,’ he was forninst (against) us in several hard-fought battles, two or three times almost hand-to-hand, but now that ‘the cruel war is over,’ we are glad to take him by the hand as in auld lang syne.”

As a Civil War veteran, West believed greatly in reconciliation, and Jackson Street had never been renamed. Jackson was welcomed back with open arms, and all was once again on the course charted before, with Golden at the forefront of building Colorado, now with the Transcript there to report on it all.

Richard Gardner, George West, Transcript, George Jackson, Golden


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