Thursday, April 24th, 2014

History

“Spreading the word since 1878.”

The Clarendon Enterprise was established June 1, 1878, as The Clarendon News by Rev. L.H. Carhart and is recognized by the Texas Historical Commission as the first newspaper in the Texas Panhandle.

Pioneer African-American cowboy Bones Hooks once said: “Everything good got its start at Clarendon.”  His words sum up the history of the Texas Panhandle’s third oldest town. While Mobeetie and Tascosa scraped out an existence surrounded by the roughest trappings of the Old West, Clarendon’s purpose was to bring civilization to the wilderness.

Many of the territory’s oldest churches are here, Hooks himself helped organize the area’s first black church in Clarendon, the first doctor lived here, and the first college was established here. But before all that, there was the Panhandle’s first newspaper – The Clarendon News.

The community was settled as a Christian Colony dedicated to Education and Temperance and was originally located north of the present townsite at the junction of Carroll Creek and the Salt Fork of the Red River. Cowboys in the area jokingly said Clarendon was where the saints roosted. Thus it attained the nickname, Saints’ Roost.

Originally a monthly publication, The Clarendon News had a local editor who gathered copy and then sent that information by mail to Carhart’s relatives in Oshkosh, Wisc., where the paper was actually printed. It was shipped by rail to Sherman, Texas, and then frieghted overland to Clarendon. In July 1880, Carhart’s 16-year-old cousin Ed, moved to Clarendon from Wisconsin and brought with him the area’s first printing press and converted the paper to a weekly.

Since that time, the paper has changed ownership and names many times, and it has continuously adapted to serve the needs of our community, including moving to the present townsite in 1887 when the Ft. Worth & Denver City Railroad came through. From those early days of handset type to 21st century computer innovations, the Clarendon paper has been dedicated to covering the news of the day fairly and accurately.

Today, The Clarendon Enterprise is known as one of the best community newspaper in Texas, having won awards on the regional, state, and national levels. The Enterprise has also been at the forefront of newspapers embracing the digital revolution. It launched its first website, ClarendonOnline.com, in 2000 and was the first weekly paper in the region to offer an entirely digital edition – Enterprise-D – to subscribers in 2005. 

ClarendonLIVE.com, the successor to ClarendonOnline.com, was launched in 2010. In addition, to carrying on the legacy of the Enterprise, the website is intended provide a portal for readers to get involved with their community newspaper by allowing comments on articles and encouraging reader submission of photos and story ideas.