Dodge Center Press
The press (Dodge Center, Minn.) 1874-1877 Browse the title
Dodge Center press (Dodge Center, Minn.) 1877-1880 Browse the title
On November 14, 1874, John A. Haines and Charles H. Benton published the first issue of the Press in Dodge Center, Minnesota. The four-page, eight-column weekly devoted itself primarily to coverage of events in Dodge Center and its neighboring villages, but also state and national news. Due to the city’s geographic location at the center of Dodge County, the Press was also intended to promote settlement within Dodge Center and further away from the more established Mantorville in the eastern part of the county. Political coverage did not adhere to a specific party and the analysis of news items garnered the Press a strong reputation for their independent approach.
Charles H. Benton was the first, and at that time, only attorney in Dodge Center. Seeking to devote more time to his practice, he sold his shares in the newspaper to Jesse D. Carr in January 1875. Later that autumn, John A. Haines retired and sold his half-interest to Carr as well. In May 1876, Carr formed a partnership with Oliver H. Phillips, who bought out Carr completely two months later.
A Democrat in a primarily Republican area and a full-time farmer frequently looking for more academic pursuits, Oliver H. Phillips is a bit of an anomaly in Dodge Center history and a crucial figure in the early development of the area’s newspapers. Maintaining the independent tone of his predecessors, Phillips was an untiring promoter of the community and the trade opportunities it offered. He was also responsible for changing the newspaper’s title to the Dodge Center Press on April 5, 1877. Two years later in April 1879, Phillips sold the Dodge Center Press to James A. Miles and left for what is now Deuel County, South Dakota to farm once again. Though Miles similarly boosted Dodge Center under his editorship, he also changed the political orientation to Republican as it better reflected the populace. Miles published the Press until February 27, 1880, when he sold the newspaper to the Mantorville Express and moved to Brookings in the Dakota Territory.
The Dodge Center Press may be of particular interest to researchers as it is indicative of the struggles many small town newspapers went through to establish themselves. This particular title makes an intriguing companion piece with the Mantorville Express in that respect, as one is able to compare coverage of the struggles between Mantorville establishing itself as the Dodge County seat and the less-developed towns further west in the county arguing for better representation. After the Dodge Center Press was sold, Dodge Center was without a newspaper. Several attempts were made to replace it, including the Dodge Center Index, which was later purchased by a returning O.H. Phillips, and named the Dodge County Record. The latter proved successful and was published with several additional title changes until its last incarnation, the Dodge Center Star-Record, stopped publication in 2009.
Glaus, Marlene. Mantorville, Minnesota: The County Seat of Dodge, 1854-1952. Minnesota: 1952.