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Arlington Journal newspaper press room on W. Main Street, Arlington, ca. 1908

The Arlington Journal Passes its Thirtieth Year

A story from the Arlington Journal, September 27, 1929

In 1897, George A. Byus, a printer, came to Arlington and began the publication of a small, four-page newspaper, thereby establishing The Arlington Journal, now celebrating its thirtieth anniversary with this issue. This first issue of the Journal was printed on an old-fashioned Washington hand press back in the days of the 1880s when power presses were considered too expensive for the small "print shops." This old press of Mr. Byus' was second-hand, bought from a defunct office in Mineral Wells, yet gave good service, according to the good recollections of several pioneer citizens with whom we have talked. The Journal office in those days, like many other businesses of the "wooden shack" town, was located in a shed on the corner where Wessler & Co. is now located. The rent for this place amounted to $2.50 per month, which shows the values of business property in those "good old days." This was thirty long years ago.

Mr. Byus did not have the honor of being Arlington's first editor. This honor, we believe, after careful investigation, belongs to Willis Timmerman who was, some 35 years ago, mayor, editor, and postmaster of this city. It was he who established The Democrat, later purchased and printed by John B. McGraw.

Mr. Byus had, previous to establishing the Journal, been employed as a printer by Mr. McGraw in the Democrat office. A year and a half after the Democrat ceased publication, Byus returned to Arlington and, in 1899, began the Journal, which has been printed continuously each week for thirty years. Mr. McGraw had a career here that was tempestuous and short-lived, as he was a man of extreme frankness and delved into politics of the day in no little way, and, ironically, was a staunch Republican, although editor of the Democrat. An editorial which was especially vindictive of the good policy of William Jennings Bryan proved to be his undoing. The Democrats of Arlington, after reading this editorial, were very bitter against the paper and it was finally forced to suspend publication after about a year and a half existence. The old Democrat office was located on the second floor of a two-story wooden building on the corner where Webb Bros. drug store is now located. The discontinuation of The Democrat gave Mr. Byus an opportunity to establish the Journal.

Editor Byus sold the Journal to William and Layton Stanberry in 1903, who formed a firm known as Stanberry Bros., and published the paper until 1907, when it was sold to W. A. Bowen, and the Arlington Printing Company was formed. Mr. Bowen, a capable editor, well loved and successful, died in 1920. The competitive paper, The Gazette, edited by E. G. Senter, had sprung up and was later called The Suburban Express, with free circulation. Neither paper prospered, and finally in 1924, a consolidation was made and W. G. Carter became the editor. Mr. Carter ran the paper for about one year, until July 1, 1924, when it was taken in charge by J. S. and F. L. Perry. F. L. Perry sold his interests June 1, 1929, to his brother, S. L. Perry, of Mercedes, Texas, and the firm of Perry Bros. publishing the Journal now, is composed of J. S. and S. L. Perry.

"Tis not difficult for the average man to vision Arlington in 1899 as it really was: just an average country town of the dull days of the past, with its Saturday crowd, with its unpainted wooden buildings, with the ring of the blacksmith's hammer upon the anvil, with sandy streets leading off to the rural sections and lost in the briars and sand around a farm home, with its "hosses" that "saddle" and those that don't -- the days when newspapers were things to be picked up and read only on Sunday afternoons when "company" failed to show up -- 'tis easy to remember those days, and startle your mind when you see the flicker of a car as it hums down the pavement in these days of modern improvements--easy to see that "times have changed" and something has happened. (Editor's note: I'm out of breath, with that unbelievably long sentence!) Yet there has been no less change than this in newspaper circles. Looking back over the past and tracing the line of progress, we find that the Journal has grown from a four-page, hand-set sheet, printed on a Washington hand press under adverse conditions, to an eight-page paper, with two modern linotype machines, four electrically equipped presses, and a large circulation that covers Arlington territory in a thorough manner.

The editorial policy of the paper has undergone a change no less marked, perhaps, than its mechanical department. Thirty years ago it was the custom of newspapers generally to pursue a policy of radicalism in politics, often times catering to the bickerings and differences of its readers, thereby creating heated debates through its columns and attempting to cause more interest in its appearance. Today it is the policy of this paper to give both sides of every question in an unbiased, informative way, to discourage differences that might arise among our citizenship on public questions and to promote tolerance, understanding, and good fellowship among the people of the town.

For the past two years the anniversary edition has consisted of approximately forty pages and has drawn much editorial comment from the weekly and daily newspapers of the State. This is our thirtieth anniversary edition and its volume speaks for itself. We trust we have not failed in making it an issue in keeping with our city and one that will go out to thousands of readers reflecting credit on Arlington and this great, prosperous, progressive, growing section.