|Welcome sign outside of Hawthorne, Nevada: photographic print. Denny Lynch Photograph Collection, approximately 1880-1990. PH-00255. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.|
Walker Lake Bulletin
Hawthorne, Nev. (1883-1926)
The Walker Lake Bulletin (sn 86091319) was Hawthorne’ major newspaper from 1883 until 1926. The town of Hawthorne was founded by Henry Yerington for the terminus of his narrow-gauge Carson and Colorado Railroad in 1881 to supply the mining town of Candelaria a little to the south. Few people moved to the new town near the southern shore of Walker Lake until it became the county seat of Esmeralda County, replacing the dying mining town of Aurora in 1883. Yerington named it after William Hawthorne, a local cattle rancher and justice of the peace.
John M. Campbell began publishing the Bulletin on March 21, 1883. Campbell had previously published the Lyon County Times (sn 84022053) in Silver City in 1880, moving it to Dayton later that year. He turned the Times over to his partner in 1885 in order to run the Bulletin. The newspaper was a four-page, weekly newspaper except for its coverage of the national election in 1884, when it was a semi-weekly from until April to November. The Bulletin is the early source of information on the Native American Ghost Dance movement which had its origins with the Northern Paiutes’ holy man Wovoka 1889.
In 1890 Campbell sold the newspaper to his editor Alfred J. McCarthy who ran the newspaper until 1913 when his son John took over as publisher. Under McCarthy the Bulletin was a leading advocate of the women’s suffrage movement in Nevada. McCarthy‘s wife was chairperson of the Mineral County Suffrage Association, their son John, as an Assemblyman supported the state’s women’s suffrage amendment in the State Legislature in 1914, and their daughter, Rita D. Millar was one of four women elected to the State Assembly in 1922. John McCarthy enlisted in the army at the end of World War I and the senior McCarthy ran the newspaper until a fire destroyed the downtown in 1926.
The Carson and Colorado Railroad was able to sustain the town until the end of the nineteenth century. After Aurora’s decline there were no significant mineral discoveries in the county and town’s population declined to 436 in 1900. The Southern Pacific Railroad acquired the Carson and Colorado Railroad in 1900 and to ease the traffic on the old narrow gauge, it built a standard gauge track on the east side of Walker Lake, bypassing Hawthorne and extended the rail line for a new town of Mina. The old tracks were abandoned. The future of Hawthorne looked bleak when the booming town of Goldfield became the new county seat of Esmeralda County in 1907.
New mining discoveries near Hawthorne in 1908 encouraged State Senator Fred Balzar to propose a bill in the 1911 Legislature to create a new county out of the northern half of Esmeralda with Hawthorne as the county seat of the new Mineral County. Despite opposition from Esmeralda County, the bill passed, making Hawthorne the only town to be the county seat of two counties.
From 1883 to 1926, several other newspapers came and went, but the town was unable to sustain more than one newspaper. The Bulletin ceased publication on July 2, 1926 when a fire burned down most of the business district, including the newspaper office. Hawthorne was without a newspaper until 1928 when W. W. Booth sold the Tonopah Bonanza (2916271065) and started the Hawthorne News (sn 86076273).