It was 1894 when D.S. Boothe, a young school teacher, hitched a team to his wagon and set out to fulfill his lifetime dream of starting a newspaper. In the long and colorful history of the Echo, the newspaper has played an important part in Alice's history not only recording for all time events and happenings of the day, but as a marketplace for advertisers.
For nearly 41 years, Boothe published and edited the Alice Echo from a location near the southeast corner of Main and Wright streets. At the time, it was a weekly publication.
Advertisements for concoctions to cure everything from baldness to rheumatism provided the color to the Echo of yesteryear. Ads describing "fertile, prolific and abundant land" and the "delightful" south Texas climate brought many to this rugged area.
Through the years, not only have the methods of getting the news and printing the paper changed dramatically, the newspaper itself has undergone some monumental changes.
In 1935, after 41 years, Boothe sold out to Grady Stiles, Joe Taffelmire, Garland Booth, Col. JL.C. Beaman, Harry Edwards and Kenneth Fellows who was named publisher.
The group sold the newspaper. to V. D. Ringwald three years later. For the next 28 years, Ringwald was publisher and editor. In 1946, the weekly became a daily paper and the name was changed to the Alice Daily Echo.
In 1955, Echo staff reporter Caro Brown became the first Texan to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The honor went to Brown for her coverage of the political turmoil surrounding Duval County's infamous George Parr Brown. who now resides in Corpus Christi, was later named to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame.
In July of 1966, Gulf Enterprises bought the publication from Ringwald and Lowell P. Hunt was named publisher. Less than a year later, the new owners purchased the ailing Alice News, a weekly publication, and the Alice Echo-News was born. Ownership of the Alice Echo-News was reorganized in 1975, with Craig Woodson of Brownwood and Hunt becoming co-owners.
Larry Smallwood, who came to Alice as advertising manager in 1967, was then named the Echo's general manager.
The Alice Echo-News was purchased by Boone Newspapers Inc. in 1990. With the new company came the beginning of the transformation from traditional newspaper production into the early stages of the digital age. After Scogin's departure in 1994, day-to-day operations of the Alice newspaper were taken over by publisher Bruce Wallace.
In 2000, the newspaper was purchased by American Consolidated Media. The Alice Echo-News merged with The Alice Journal to form the Alice Echo-News Journal.
Although the building housing the Echo-News has only moved a couple of blocks in the past decade, the "mechanics" of getting out issues has changed dramatically.
The technology that once brought us from the hand press to flatbed presses to what was considered ''more modem" cold type offset printing has now catapulted the Echo into the threshold of technology. Gone are the typewriters once synonymous with the newspaper’s hectic newsroom. In their place are state-of-the-art desktop computers, cellphones and iPads.
The composing room is now streamlined and the operation is reporting news is now an around-the-clock venture with the newspaper's website.
Current Alice Echo-News Journal publisher Michael Murray remains committed to the original spirit of the Echo to provide the communities it serves with fresh and relevant news.
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