Picture a time when the news was spread, not via a text message on your cell phone, but by wives exchanging the “news of the day” across the fence as they hung clothes out to dry on the clothes line.
Unlike today’s society, newspapers were far more important in 1933 than 2018. Though the first television broadcast was in 1935, not every home was equipped with this luxury – making communication through the newspaper a valuable resource for towns across America and especially in the small communities of our county.
Mineral County, was carved from Esmeralda, 107 years ago, would have many newspapers – those in the towns of Aurora and Candelaria were short lived, unable to weather the storm of towns that were prosperous today and a ghost town tomorrow.
Under the direction of Judge A.J. McCarthy, the Walker Lake Bulletin would prosper from 1883 to 1926 until a large fire wiped out the building and equipment (located where Bodies at Work on E Street in Hawthorne is today).
With the fiery tragedy of the Bulletin, the only remaining paper in the county was the Western Nevada Miner stabled in Mina in 1906 owned and operated by J. Holman Buck, which included news from the communities of Acme, Lorena, Aurora and Rawhide. In 1928, he would establish the Hawthorne News which was printed at the Tonopah Bonanza until the equipment was moved to Hawthorne in 1929 to provide Mineral County with a “proper” printing plant.
The Western Nevada Miner would suspend publication of its editions in 1930 leaving the county once again with only one newspaper, the Hawthorne News.
In 1933, the Mineral County Independent was established by J.W. Connors and J.R. McCloskey. The two had handled the publication of the Hawthorne News from 1929 to 1932 at which time Connors and McCloskey were fired from the Hawthorne News by News owner W.W. Booth after publication came under fire for its staunch support of President Herbert Hoover against Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Equipment formerly used to print the Western Nevada miner was purchased and moved to Hawthorne to serve as a nucleus for the Independent’s printing plants. In 1935 Connors and McCloskey purchased the Hawthorne News and merged it with the Independent. In 1954, McCloskey purchased Connors’ interest in the paper and continued as owner and publisher until he sold to three brothers: Frank “Gene”, Tony and Ted Hughes. The Hughes’ operated the business from 1994 until their retirement in June of 2011. The three brothers would work side by side at 501 D Street for over 100 years of combined service to the newspaper business. In 2014, the Independent-News left the old building on D Street and moved to a smaller location on Third Street in Hawthorne.
Today, the newspaper is under the management of Battle Born Media, which desires to keep the Independent-News “as the valuable asset that it has been to Mineral County and western Nevada”, the company wrote in 2011 after purchasing from the Hughes Brothers.
“With 85 years under our belt, we feel as though we are still young at heart and know that we have many more valuable years left within us. Though the world of news and news outlets are ever changing, the sense of sitting down with a cup of coffee and reading the weekly paper each Thursday has become a tradition within our communities. It is here where we learn the happenings, the deaths and births of residents and search for the best deals in town. We are humbled and honored that over the last 85 years, we have become the voice of record and historian for our small communities,” a statement from Battle Born Media read.
“We look forward to growing and changing with you. Thank you for your continued support of your local hometown paper – the Mineral County Independent-News.”