What’s in a name? Apparently, a lot of thought when it comes to Nevada newspaper names
December 4, 2018
Over the past 160-plus years, Nevada has been home to some 800 newspapers. Most have pretty typical names, like Journal, Times, Record or Herald. A few have boasted names that reflected a community's major economic engine, such as the Beatty Bullfrog Miner or the Fairplay Prospector.
And a handful, of which I've written before, have had truly unique names such as the Rochester Paycrack or the Las Vegas Hangover.
But recently, while again flipping through the pages of Richard E. Lingenfelter and Karen Rix Gash's classic book, "The Newspapers of Nevada," I stumbled onto a handful of other, equally memorable titles that deserve some recognition, including:
• The Little Joker, a short-lived newspaper published in Battle Mountain from March of 1887 to July of that year. The Joker is described as having been a "'bright and newsy' little amateur paper" by Lingenfelter and Gash. Despite its original name, the paper didn't last very long and, it appears, the joke was on the owner.
• The Desert Rat Review, an apparently tongue-in-cheek publication that sported the slogan, "Plagiarism is the Key to Success." The Review, circulated in Boulder City, is said to have been a campaign publicity paper — although for what candidate or issue is unstated — and only one issue was produced.
• The Desert Scorpion, also known as the Silbert Scorpion, a paper produced during World War II by the soldiers of Camp Silbert near Boulder City. The publication was a semimonthly that sported the slogan, "The Sting is the Tale," contained news and stories for the troops. It was printed from November 1941 to March 1943.
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• The Carrara Obelisk, a promotional newspaper produced by the American Carrara Marble Co., which operated a marble quarry near the townsite of Carrara. Published from May 1913 to September 1916, the Obelisk largely served as a local booster talking up the town's prospects and shut down shortly before the quarry was closed.
• The De La Mar Roaster, a strange little paper published in the mining town of Delamar in eastern Nevada. Apparently, the sole purpose of the paper was to attack another local publication, the Local Messenger, for criticizing British involvement in the Boer War in South Africa. Not surprisingly, given its limited scope, the Roaster only lasted one issue on March 18, 1900.
• The Silver Plume, a monthly publication produced by two local school boys, Wesley Kellogg and Edward Vanderlieth, in the mining town of Eureka. This amateur effort began in May of 1877 and lasted until September, when school started up again. Kellogg and Vanderleith revived it in February 1882 then quickly folded it again for good.
• Field of Gold, a promotional newspaper for the mining town of Goldfield — hence the clever name — that only lasted three months. Lingenfelter and Gash noted that Field of Gold's editors promised, "to confine themselves to the truth," which apparently few in Goldfield were interested in reading about.
• The Knocker, a Manhattan, Nevada-based newspaper with a decidedly high opinion of its contents because it proclaimed itself as "the Highest Priced Newspaper in the World" and stayed true to its word by charging $1 an issue. Only one issue of the Knocker was ever published, in September 1911. If the paper was published today, the cost of an issue in today's dollars would be $26.57 — making it still the highest priced newspaper in the world.
• The Eye Opener, sporting one of the best names on this list, might or might not have ever been published. An attorney, Frank W. Spear, announced plans to published the paper in July 1912 to serve the eastern Nevada railroad construction camp of Tobar, but no issues have ever been located.
Rich Moreno writes about the places and people that make Nevada special.