Last night I had a dream. I was mulling through the backend of what we newspaper people kindly refer to as the morgue. A line of old newsprints hidden in the back room, dusty and dingy, stacked hastily, some a mess, some bundled tight, lining the small closet with no windows. But instead of existing as a small room in the back of the Silver Belt, it was transformed into an endless hallway.
As I walked down the hall, I glanced from left to right, reading headlines from the past. Globe annihilates Miami, Miami devours Globe, Fun at the Fair, the supervisors, the councils, the endless court cases, all stacked in a formidable line along this hall in my dream. I thought to myself, “I must be lost in time – we don’t keep papers this far back.” The newsprint changed from bright white to a blackened yellow as I swam through the endless ink. The heavy fluorescent lights above me transformed to candlelight as I moved along the hall, and I was caught in the ideas of old publishers, writers and editors, stuck in a maze of certainties detailing the story of Globe-Miami.
Without knowing, time had gotten away from me and while trying to read under the crude lighting I tripped over a stack of papers. The fall sent me back to Oct. 11, 1906, a pivotal day in Silver Belt history. On this day the Silver Belt became the Daily Arizona Silver Belt and on Oct. 23, 1906, a full Associated Press report was printed in Gila County. At that time, the Phoenix Republican was the only other Associated Press member in the territory. As time moved on the Daily Silver Belt continued to report news from the Associated Press, receiving a few words at a time over Western Union. In December of 1922, the staff leased a wire service from the Associated Press. After the instruments were installed, on Dec. 11, 1922, the first AP stories appeared in the Belt. At that time, the Belt was the only newspaper in the state with a leased wire. Instead of receiving 1,000 words over Western Union, like its competitors, the Silver Belt was receiving 10,000 words over the AP wire. With this addition, the Silver Belt was not only able to produce the latest local news for its dedicated readers but now it was able to offer the latest in sports, world news and state news as well as education, science and economics. With the addition of AP News the Daily Silver Belt was able to bring a fresh tried and true voice to its pages.
As I continued to journey down this endless hall of newsprint, my dream took a slight turn. It was suddenly dark and then light again. When the light resurfaced it was 1931 and the Great Depression had taken a severe toll on the residents of Globe and Miami. Since the United States had imported so much foreign copper at such a cheaper rate, the demand for local copper grew less. The mines were forced to cut their staff.
When the depression really hit Miami, the mines closed, leaving the population of 14,677 without any means of support. The first winter the town suffered for lack of food and fuel. More than 100 houses were torn down and chopped up for firewood. Rents remained unpaid and shelter was furnished free to thousands by private citizens.
The Silver Belt struggled as well and was unable to continue printing the daily publication. On July 18, 1931, the staff was forced to become a weekly newspaper again. Then finally in 1935 for the first time, the Silver Belt failed to appear on the streets of Miami. After an 18-month suspension the Belt appeared again on April 23, 1937, but the influence of the Associated Press remained absent.
I jolted into the waking world contemplating the time gone by. The stories, the history, all mixed and interlocked inside my head and the purpose of the dream seemed evident. It’s time to report the news.
The complexity of the world never brakes. We are continually pushed from one issue to the next, and the news of the day is everchanging and often overwhelming. The Silver Belt, while remaining a weekly publication, has once again connected to the Associated Press news wire. This is historic and definitive of who we are as a publication and who we have always been. Thanks to sponsors like Resolution Copper, our staff is proud to offer our readers exciting state and national news, sports and education alongside our local reports detailing city, county and school news. For the first time in its 144 years of publication, the Silver Belt will be doing this as a full color publication, with color obituaries, color classifieds and all-color advertisements.
The Arizona Silver Belt is growing. Today our staff continues to develop interesting content for our dedicated readers under a guise that is neither red nor blue but simply honest. We proudly continue a tradition that has mirrored the process of this community for many years and will continue to do so for many more.