By Richard Moreno
During the past century and a third, more than 800 newspapers have been published in Nevada. Most have sported traditional newspaper names — like Lahontan Valley News — but a few have had more unusual titles.
The following are some of the most bizarre newspaper names ever to grace the printed page. Most were published in small mining towns and none still exist.
Spark of Genius
The modestly-named Spark was a monthly, eight-column newspaper published in Austin in 1879. It was the brainchild of Vienna Dollarhide, a local school teacher, and its stated goal was to inspire — the “literary genius of the youthful climbers of the ladder of learning.”
The ladder may have been a bit too steep for Ms. Dollarhide’s readers, who didn’t provide sufficient financial support, and the paper folded after a few issues.
Measure For Measure
This Battle Mountain weekly, started on November 23, 1874, derived its nomenclature from a Shakespearean play of the same name. Erudite publisher-editor William J. Forbes attempted to be original when naming his publications; his previous papers were the New Endowment (in Salt Lake City) and the Trespass (in Virginia City).
Measure For Measure tried to measure up to its readers expectation until Forbes’ death in 1875.
With a name reflecting its mining-town roots, Candelaria’s True Fissure started on June 5, 1880, as a Republican weekly. It served the role well, helping owner-editor John Dormer get elected Nevada’s secretary of state in 1882 and reelected four years later. By then, Candelaria was in decline, and the paper folded on December 4, 1886.
The Cupel took its name from the cup used by an assayer. This daily was published for four months in 1874. Unlike most of the state’s small papers, which died for economic reasons, the Cupel’s demise was due to an act of nature.
On July 24, a flash flood swept through Eureka, destroying or wrecking 30 building, including The Cupel’s offices. While Editor William Taylor survived the disaster, reporter Roger Robinette drowned as did 15 others.
This newspaper was founded to promote a socialist utopian colony being developed at Nevada City, four miles east of Fallon.
Published sporadically from March 1916 to September 1918, the Co-operative Colonist was first edited by C.V. Egglestor, one of the colony’s boosters, and later by R.E. Bray after Eggleston was ejected from the colony for being more interested in personal profit than communalism The paper folded when the colony disintegrated in 1918.
Las Vegas Hangover
A case where the name says it all. The Hangover was a Las Vegas-based weekly entertainment magazine published from January 1946 to February 1946. Publisher Harriet Merry claimed circulation in 11 Western states, but that was apparently not enough to prevent the Hangover from passing out — of existence.
Potosi Nix Cum Rouscht
Nevada’s strangest named newspaper, the Nix Cum Rouscht, was a handwritten manuscript sheet, published in February 1861 in Southern Nevada mining camp of Potosi by the town’s founder, J.E. Stevens.
The paper lasted only one issue — possibly due to writer’s cramp — before the true meaning of the name was revealed. Stevens must have a strange sense of humor; linguists at the University of Nevada, Reno say the name appears to be a combination of German and Latin words that are without meaning.
Another newspaper named for a mining term (a “paycrack” is a rich vein of ore), the Paycrack was published for less than a year in the mining camp of Rochester (100 miles east of Reno).
The paper was owned and edited by Joe T. Camp, described as “one of the last of Nevada true tramp printers” in the reference book, The Newspapers of Nevada, Richard E. Lingenfelter and Karen Rix Gash.
Camp, who carried his press with him from town to town, started no less than seven newspapers in Nevada between 1910 and 1920. None lasted longer than two years.
Betty O’Neal Concentrator
The Concentrator commenced publishing on February 9, 1924, to serve the citizens of the mining camp of Betty O’Neal, located 14 miles south Battle Mountain.
Financially wobbly from the start, the Concentrator was first published by N.W. Cockrell and then was taken over by the paper’s creditors. In its final days it boasted it was “the only newspaper edited and published by the citizens of any mining camp in the state.”
But even that didn’t help it stay afloat: the Concentrator folded in mid-1925.
The Aurora Borealis, first appeared in the mining camp of Aurora on November 18, 1905. Published by the owners of the nearby Bodie Miner, the weekly Borealis was published for seven months, then faded with the town’s fortunes.
The equipment used to print the Borealis ended up in Mina, where it was used until 1930 to produce the Western Nevada Miner.
This article, by writer and former Nevada Magazine publisher Richard Moreno, appeared in a publication called The Nevada Journalist created for a 1998 convention of the Newspaper Association of America and Nevada Press Association. Read about Rich’s memories of working for the magazine.