If it can be said, as it has, “to become a town you need a church, a jail and a newspaper” is the reverse also true?
To the communities of Pahokee, Belle Glade and Canal Point (just to the north of this map) in the rich agricultural areas of extreme western Palm Beach County, along the shores of Lake Okeechobee, it must have seemed they had become of age in 1924 when they got their own weekly newspaper, The Everglades News.
The paper was founded by local sugar cane grower Howard Sharp.
He was commemorated in this special 20th Anniversary edition dated June 1, 1945 and found in the collection of the Library of Florida History.
All local papers are a treasure trove of information about the communities they cover, and this edition is even more valuable than most because it is a collection of stories and photos from those years and of local history as it was remembered by still-living residents.
Local historians and genealogists alike will devour stories like the tale of Captain Loy and his family.
Where else can you gaze at the faces of youngsters who would grow up to be dubbed ‘the greatest generation’ and at the faces of the teachers who molded them.
The Everglades News published until 1967. Most if not all of its run can be found at the University of Florida Newspaper web site: https://ufdc.ufl.edu/fdnl1 .
Now, back to our opening speculation; if it takes a newspaper to create a town, is the reverse true? Given the decline of local papers in recent years you would think we would have had plenty of opportunity to find out. But perhaps the demand for ‘the news’ is simply too strong where ever people congregate. Formats and names may change, but for the Glades area at least, local coverage continues. The Palm Beach Post is the big daily paper covering the area and in 2018 several weeklies merged to form the Lake Okeechobee News (https://lakeokeechobeenews.com/.
At least for the moment there continues to be a publication where no story is too local.