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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"

Chapter  37 - The Newspapers of the County

The Eau Claire Telegram

(-as transcribed from pages 503 - 504)

The Eau Claire Telegram was founded by William Irvine in 1894, the date of the first issue being December 16, of that year.  It was started as a morning publication, with offices in the Ashland block, South Barstow and Gray streets. In August, 1895, the paper was sold to W. P. Welch and A. J. Rich, and soon thereafter the Telegram Publishing Company was organized and took over the property. The incorporators were W. P. Welch, C. W. Piske and G. A. Barry. Mr. Rich at this time retired from the newspaper business and moved to Indianapolis. Mr. W. P. Welch was the editor and continued as such early in 1913, when he retired on account of ill health. To him is largely due the fact that the paper survived the vicissitudes incident to starting a daily paper in a limited field, already occupied by two dailies.

Soon after the organization of the Telegram Publishing Company the paper was changed from the morning to the evening field. In 1899 Mr. E. S. Welch, now postmaster at Eau Claire, became associated with the paper as stockholder, director and business manager, and continued as such until April, 1907, when he assumed the duties of postmaster. He was succeeded as manager by C. W. Fiske. In December, 1901, the Free Press was purchased by the Telegram Publishing Company from H. C. Ashbaugh and consolidated with the Telegram. The Free Press was an old established paper, history of which has already been given. This left the Telegram the only evening paper in the field, and from this time on its growth was rapid. The paper at various times occupied quarters in the Laycock building and in the Wilson building. In 1894 the Telegram moved into new quarters especially built for it, at the corner of South Barstow and Main streets, where it remained until the Spring of 1913, when it moved into its present quarters in the Eau Claire Press building.

In February, 1912, the property was sold to the Eau Claire Press Company, which also took over the Leader, the Eau Claire morning publication, the former stockholders of the Telegram Publishing Company, and the Leader Publishing Company being the owners of the stock of the new company. The Leader and the Telegram from a news and editorial standpoint are separate and occupy separate offices, but the mechanical work is done by the same plant and the same force. It was believed that in making this arrangement better service could be given, better papers could be made, and economies effected on the production end. This belief has proven correct. The mechanical equipment of the Eau Claire Press Company is modern and complete in every particular. As time goes on the wisdom of this move to give Eau Claire and this section of the state better papers and better service will become more and more apparent. In polities the Telegram has always been Republican, though independent in its views as to matters affecting the party.

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