More than a half-dozen newspapers have called Blackfoot home, beginning back in 1880. There is an unbroken string, owner to owner, name to name, from The Idaho Republican to The Morning News.
Byrd Trego, who started The Idaho Republican in 1904, looms large in the history of Blackfoot’s newspapers. In previous posts I wrote about his gracious home, Sagehurst, and the time he was convicted then exonerated for a major crime.
Trego was the original Blackfoot booster. He liked what the town was, and he did everything he could to make it better, promoting infrastructure projects and beautification. He was the editor, publisher, and sole owner of The Idaho Republican, though he often acknowledged the help of the “silent editor,” his wife Susie, in the early years.
The Idaho Republican was a weekly for its first ten years. It became a semi-weekly, then in 1920, a tri-weekly. In 1927 the paper became a daily, changing its name to The Daily Bulletin. In 1930 it became Blackfoot’s only paper, absorbing The Bingham County News.
With the merger Trego had new partners and new names began to appear in print. C. A. Bottolfsen, who owned the weekly Arco Advertiser became the managing editor of the paper, while publishing the Arco paper at the same time. Bottolfsen left The Daily Bulletin in 1936 to enter politics. He served as a legislator, the speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives, and then was elected as governor in Idaho in 1939.
In 1940, Trego sold out to John Rider and E.H. Payson. He would continue to write for the paper occasionally for many years. W. R. Twining took over ownership in 1942. In 1947, Harold H. Smith, former publisher of The Northside News in Jerome took over the reins. That lasted into 1948 when Pete Kimball, a newspaperman from San Diego purchased The Daily Bulletin.
In 1954, former publisher Harold Smith, who had continued to live in Blackfoot after selling to Kimball, repurchased the paper. He ran it until 1957 when it was purchased by Drury Brown, who changed the name of the paper to The Blackfoot News.
I owe thanks to Drury Brown who compiled a history of Blackfoot’s newspapers, from which much of this information comes. His son, Mark Brown, became publisher in the 1970s, as I remember. And if I’m starting to rely on my memory rather than archives, it’s probably time to end this sketch of Blackfoot’s newspaper history.