Brief history of the Nevada Appeal
Imagine setting type, letter-by-letter, upside down and backwards on page after page. Then printing each sheet by hand – once on each side – for more than 16,000 newspapers.
It’s no wonder the Daily Carson Appeal in its beginnings had just four pages.
Those pages chronicled the comings and goings of the residents in the newly formed capital.
The pages of the Daily Appeal, the New Daily Appeal, the Morning Appeal and the Nevada Appeal recorded the votes of the Legislature and the alternating rises and falls of mining stocks.
For nearly 140 years we’ve chronicled history. The biggest events in the world – electricity, the telephone, World War I, the walk on the moon, Watergate, Whitewater, atomic testing, the September 11 terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq – and the daily events affecting the lives of our readers.
The Daily Appeal had its beginnings on May 15, 1865, when the paper owned by E.F. McElwain, J. Barrett and Marshall Robinson and edited by Henry Rust Mighels first went to press.
When the first edition hit the street the morning of May 16, 1865, it began the first chapter of its own history.
The press was in a stone building at East Second and Carson streets owned by the Brothers Olcovich.
Through the oil-smudged windows, the pressmen and reporters watched as the plaza set aside by Abraham Curry transformed into the seat of government for the state of Nevada. Stone by stone the Capitol took shape until its completion in 1870.
Murders and frontier justice shared pages with presidential visits and mining tragedies as Nevada came into its own, having been proclaimed the 36th state by President Abraham Lincoln on Oct. 31, 1864, less than seven months before that first Appeal was published.
Image a newsroom with no electricity, no telephones, no copy machine, no fax, e-mail, digital cameras or cell phones. Today, it seems impossible.
The Appeal moved to its second home at 110 W. Telegraph Street on Oct. 19, 1948.
Former Appeal editor Peter Kelley held a spot in three of the five buildings occupied by the Appeal. From Dec. 10, 1945, until he was lured away in 1952, Kelley filled the front page of the Appeal – more than 120 inches of copy – with local news.
“There was never a shortage of news. Carson City seemed to attract quite a bit of attention.”
As the lone reporter for the Appeal, Kelley was responsible for all the news gathering and keeping the Linotype operators supplied with work.
“On occasion I had to take the want ads when the office lady was out,” Kelley recalled. “The equipment wasn’t very good, the press would often break down and the Linotype operators weren’t always sober.
“People wanted local news, so I tried to give them as much local news as I could.”
By 1951, the Appeal had outgrown the Telegraph Street plant and on July 9, 1951, found a new home three blocks south of Telegraph in the 1864 building first used by the Carson Brewery Co. at 102 S. Division St.
Today the building is the home of the Brewery Arts Center at 445 W. King St.
Bill Dolan was working for the Appeal in 1951 when the newspaper made the move.
Before the new press, the Nevada Appeal was printed on a sheet press, where one side of the page was printed and then turned over and another side was printed.
“But they didn’t replace the rollers,” he said of the roll-fed press. “A star floated off one of the ads and we ran a star on the front page. That thing was a pain.”
It was Aug. 6, 1951, before a duplex roll-fed, high-speed press arrived. Apparently, once the new press got rolling on Aug. 24, it shrank the newspaper to almost half its previous length and made the deadlines earlier.
From the corner of King and Division streets, the Appeal moved north to 200 Bath St., where it opened for business Nov. 18, 1974. On March 28, 1979, fire gutted the newsroom.
As crews mopped up, then-Editor Steve Frady shed his fire gear, packed and jumped on a plane to Las Vegas.
Using the presses of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a suite at the Frontier Motel, Sue Morrow’s home, and offices at the South Lake Tahoe Tribune, the Appeal published its Thursday paper as usual with front-page photos and a story on the fire.
Frady in his editorial for March 30 was passing out thank-yous to those who helped the temporarily homeless newspaper.
From Las Vegas, he wrote: “Your daily newspaper is being brought to you courtesy of a lot of nice people in a heck of a lot of different locations.”
Disaster aside, humor was not lost on Frady. In the same column, he wrote that a firefighter had entered his water-soaked office during the fire and found his plaque that said “This desk has just been declared a disaster area.” The plaque was placed “prominently among the shreds of my office ceiling, debris from other areas and accumulation of charred materials in the center of my desk.”
On March 8, 2002, the Appeal published its first paper from its new 90,000 square-foot plant at 580 Mallory Way. From here, seven of the area’s newspapers are printed. The Mallory address is also home to Tahoe-Carson Area Newspapers’ business, advertising production, classified advertising sales and circulation departments.