From The Pueblo Chieftain (Peter Roper):
In its very first issue on June 1, 1868, The Colorado Chieftain reported that legendary frontiersman Kit Carson had died, and it promised Pueblo readers it would support “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the Colorado Territory…
This year marks the 150th anniversary of The Pueblo Chieftain, the oldest daily newspaper in Colorado.
It was born in the horse-and-wagon days of hand-pressed pages, grew through the “hot-lead” era of galleys and “hellboxes” for remelting type, and continues today in crisp, full-color pages and the online world of the internet.
Throughout, the Chieftain and its earlier sister paper, the afternoon Pueblo Star-Journal, chronicled the changing life of Southern Colorado, its heartaches and successes.
From the bitter labor wars in the Colorado coal fields to sending Pueblo boys off to fight World Wars I and II, The Chieftain’s been there. Its pages reflected the booming days of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. and also chronicled the harsh downsizing of the U.S. steel industry in the 1980s.
It’s been a voice for economic development and recovery — helping to establish the Pueblo Economic Development Corp. — as well as a defender of the region’s natural resources, especially the vital water supply in the Arkansas River…
Starting in the late 1990s, Robert Rawlings became very concerned with how Denver, Aurora and other Front Range cities were acquiring water rights in rural areas, including along the Arkansas River.
At his direction, The Chieftain became a loud opponent of water sales out of the Arkansas valley, warning that would kill the region’s ranches, farms and businesses.
In fact, it became political scripture in Colorado for governors, senators, congressmen and the rest. If they wanted The Chieftain’s support, they’d better be ready to explain how they were protecting Southern Colorado’s water.