History of the Silver City Daily Press and Independent
The Silver City Daily Press was born June 24, 1935, when the owners of the Silver City Independent, our weekly predecessor, determined it was time to grow — along with Grant County, its people and its advertisers.
The past 82 years have brought major changes to the Daily Press, changes which were unimaginable to the pioneers who brought the first printing presses and cases of hand-set type to Grant County.
Those same 82 years have brought incredible changes to the community — changes which easily outstripped the remarkable transformation of the print shop of the Independent into the modern full-color print and online versions of the Daily Press.
We weren’t the first daily paper in Grant County. We were, however, the only successful one, a success that has made the newspaper and its employees a part of the community for nearly a century.
Our predecessors often published while facing difficult odds, doing so for many years before we existed, and even before the first edition of our weekly predecessor, the Silver City Independent, first rolled off the press.
Among the papers that preceded us was the Mining Life, in 1873, which was succeeded by The Herald, in 1875. Later, The Herald, which published to 1881, and the Daily Southwest (March 1 through Aug. 31, 1880) merged in 1881 to become the New Southwest and County Herald, later becoming the Southwest.
There was also the Silver City Mining Chronicle (1880), succeeded by the Sentinel in 1882, which in turn absorbed the Watchdog (1882) in 1883. The Sentinel then merged with the Southwest and became the Southwest Sentinel, publishing from 1883-96.
That was succeeded by the Silver City Independent, purchased by W.B. Walton shortly after its founding in 1896, which, in turn, absorbed the Grant County Democrat in 1898, when the Independent was briefly known as the Silver City Independent and Grant County Democrat. After owning and publishing the Independent for nearly 40 years — during which time he served as a delegate to the 1910 state constitutional convention, as Grant County’s first state senator and as a member of Congress — Walton sold the Independent to Colonel Clyde E. Ely, a longtime New Mexico newspaperman, in 1934.
The next year, the Daily Press was born. We were named the Silver City Daily Press and Independent, operated for 79 years by the Silver City Daily Press and Independent Publishing Co. and owned by the Ely family — first the Colonel, then his son William Ely, William’s wife Betty and finally third-generation publisher Christina Ely.
In April, 2014, Christina Ely passed the responsibility of chronicling the daily life of Grant County to the newly-formed Silver City Independent Publishing Company, LLC, which is Grant County-owned and operated by Nickolas Seibel.
Since its founding, the Press proudly carried the name “Independent” in small type under our front page flag, representing the proud lineage of early territorial weekly and daily newspapers that came before the Daily Press. On April 23, 2015 — just short of 80 years to the day since the Independent was absorbed into the daily paper — the Independent reappeared as its own weekly newspaper. In its modern incarnation, the Independent covers Grant County’s vibrant arts, entertainment and outdoors scenes, with an energetic stable of columnists and contributors who bring readers the exciting happenings in Silver City and its environs every Thursday.
Today, the Daily Press owns the back editions of the Press and the Independent, past and present, and although time may cause newsprint to decay and crumble, the newspapers themselves live on.
With the Independent, we’ve chronicled Grant County life for 121 years, and including Mining Life, we have done so for 144 years. And every day, the hard-working folks of the Silver City Independent Publishing Company add another day to that tally, documenting and participating in the ongoing process of growth and progress that continue to make Southwest New Mexico an exciting community on the frontier of the 21st Century.
Silver City Daily Press and Independent (ISSN 0891-7981) is published daily except Sundays and Federal Holidays by the Silver City Independent Publishing Company, LLC at 300 W. Market St., Silver City, NM 88061. Second-class postage paid at Silver City, NM 88062-9998. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to Silver City Daily Press and Independent, P.O. Box 1371, Silver City, N.M. 88062-1371. USPS No. 496-640