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DAVIDSON HISTORY

Getting the News in Davidson – Part II

by | Sep 30, 2017 | Davidson History

Entering into the 20th century, the town remained without its own newspaper. The Davidsonian, the college’s student newspaper, continued to run a local column that kept residents up to date with some town news.

By 1946, the high school students improved the look of their newspaper but were not able to sustain it.

In March 1930, following the example of Robert Sparrow and his Weekly Enterprise, students at white public school began The Weekly Scout. Also following his example, the name was changed in September to The Weekly News. Most issues were only one mimeographed page featuring public school and scouting news. Of the remaining issues of the paper, most are from 1930-1931 with one issue from 1935.

The student editors stayed busy. The Weekly Enterprise was succeeded by the Davidson Leader (1936-1938), the Ace Review (1838-1941), the Star Ace Review (1944), the Red and White (1944-1945, 1954-1955), the Davidson Newsleader (1945-1946), Twin City Leader (1946), and the North Star (1956-1958). While most of the papers focused on school news, they increasingly took on the role of a town paper, if from a youthful perspective.

The Senior Young People’s Department of Davidson College Presbyterian Church took on a special editing project during World War II. They printed the Post Exchange to keep Davidson residents serving in the military informed of Davidson events. They also reprinted excerpts of letters from soldiers.  These “Gleanings from Letters” did require some inside knowledge. The May 1943 issue offered these notes: “Wayne is in Nashville getting classified and he has met some cadets who were recently stationed here. Of course, they said they liked Davidson.” And, “Jimmy said he had never seen so many beautiful girls since he left home as there are in Texas.”

March 1943 issue of the Post Exchange

The first non-student edited newspaper finally appeared in 1947.  The Community was published semi-monthly from March 21, 1947 to June 5, 1947. Edited by Davidson United Methodist Church pastor Henry Koestline, it featured news from Davidson and Cornelius with the purpose to “print the news; promote the religious, civic, and social life; and to furnish a medium where local businessman may inform the public of their merchandise and the public may see what local merchants have for sale.”

About the time that The Community was having its short run, Horace Clinton Broyles moved to Davidson and founded the Davidson Printing Company. Broyles saw the need for a local paper and expanded his business to include publishing the Cornelius-Davidson Gazette. The first issue appeared on August 26, 1948. While undergoing several editor and name changes (Mecklenburg Gazette, North Mecklenburg Gazette, Davidson Gazette), this paper survived in until 2001.

Gazette Building on Main Street. The site was sold in 1998 and remodeled. (Courtesy of Davidson College Archives.)

A second regional paper started in 1993. The Lake Norman Times was owned by Womack Publishing in Chatham, Virginia and ceased publication April 5, 2009.

Davidson news went online with DavidsonNews.net. Founded by David Boraks, this online news site ran from October 25, 2006 to June 1, 2015.  Fueled, like so many of the other town newspapers, by a strong sense of civic duty, this site served the community as a source of town government, college, social, and business news. Since its sale to the commercial service Newsbank, back issues are available online. Issues of all the community papers, except the Mecklenburg Gazette and Lake Norman Times, are also available online.

 

 

 

Jan Blodgett

Jan Blodgett moved to Davidson in 1994. In 2017, she retired after 23 years as the Davidson College Archivist. Jan and former Davidson College history professor, Ralph Levering, are the co-authors of "One Town, Many Voices: A history of Davidson, North Carolina."

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