Today's Quad-City Times is the lone survivor of more than a century of newspapering in Davenport that saw a dozen newspapers come and go.
Its two direct ancestors -- The Davenport Times and the Morning Democrat -- managed to outlive or buy out the competition before merging with each other.
The Democrat was founded in 1848 as the Democratic Banner. The weekly paper struggled along until it was put up for sale in 1855. A group of businessmen sent a delegate to Peoria, Ill., to persuade young typesetter David N. Richardson to come to Davenport as editor and publisher.
Richardson and partners bought the business with $300 cash, promissory notes, a mortgage and $250 credit for supplies. The first issue of the renamed paper, the Iowa State Democrat, rolled off the press October 15, 1855.
The first paper was four pages, hardly more than a handbill. But it grew, soon becoming a daily and telling of the famed Charge of the Light Brigade and the marvels of the transatlantic cable between front-page ads for chickens and 10-cent shaves.
In the fourth year of publication, Richardson's brother, J.J., joined him as advertising and business manager. The brothers published the Democrat, which soon became a daily, for decades. J.J. Richardson also played an active role in Davenport politics.
Meanwhile, another paper was struggling into the daily news business -- the Davenport Gazette, founded in 1841 by two Dayton, Ohio, journalists. After many changes of ownership, the Gazette merged with the Democrat in 1887 and the new paper was known as the Democrat-Gazette.
In 1904, the Democrat-Gazette bought out another competitor, the Davenport Leader, and changed its name to the Democrat & Leader.
While the Democrat was evolving, the other ancestor of the Quad-City Times was going through changes of its own.
It was founded in 1878 as The Blue Ribbon News. The paper was purchased the next year by E.W. Brady, who changed its name to The Northwestern News. In 1886, Brady's paper went daily under a new name, The Davenport Daily Times. Brady and his sons published it for 13 years.
The Times struggled financially and was considered the weakest of the city's dailies. In 1899, C.D. Reimers and A.W. Lee, founder of what is today Lee Enterprises Inc., bought the Times for $20,000. Two years later, Lee and E.P. Adler bought out Reimers, and Adler became publisher.
After Lee died, Adler was elected president of the Lee group.
The Lee group bought the Democrat in 1915.
Many other papers lived and died between the 1890s and the Great Depression.
The Times and the Democrat outlived them all and carried on a vigorous rivalry until the mid-1960s. The Democrat switched to morning publication and changed its name to the Morning Democrat in 1951.
In 1964 the two papers were merged into the Times-Democrat, publishing morning and evening editions out of a shared newsroom. Over the decades, the two papers had occupied a half-dozen buildings before settling at 124 E. Second St.
With circulation expanding throughout the region, the name was changed to the Quad-City Times in 1974. Even so, many older residents still refer to the paper by its older names.
The Times has changed more than its name over the last two decades. In the 1970s, the Times became the first newspaper in the world to be totally electronic.
The Times and Lee also have led the development of photopolymer printing plates and lightweight presses.
In late December 1990, the Times moved into its present, state-of-the-art facility at 500 E. Third St., and on Dec. 13, 1991, the final evening edition of the Times was printed.
LEE Enterprises History
Lee Enterprises is a premier publisher of local news, information and advertising in primarily midsize markets, with 51 daily newspapers and a joint interest in five others, rapidly growing online sites and more than 300 weekly newspapers and specialty publications in 23 states.
Lee's newspapers have circulation of 1.7 million daily and 1.9 million Sunday, reaching more than four million readers daily. Lee's online sites reach more than two million users, and Lee's weekly publications have distribution of more than 4.5 million households.
With the acquisition of Pulitzer Inc. in June 2005, Lee became the fourth largest newspaper company in the country in terms of dailies owned, and grew from 12th to seventh largest in terms of total daily circulation.
Lee's newspaper markets include Madison, Wis.; Lincoln, Neb.; Davenport, Iowa; St. Louis, Mo.; Billings, Mont.; Bloomington, Ill.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Napa, Calif.
Lee is based in Davenport, Iowa, and our stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LEE.
The Quad-City Times is a business organization dedicated to serving the information and entertainment needs of our community and providing a profit to shareholders through the services and products for advertisers and readers.
Our newspaper upholds the traditional role of the press by seeking fairness, honesty and balance in news reporting.
We are a good citizen in our community through the exercise of leadership and support of community institutions and activities.
Our Human Resources philosophy is the foundation upon which our future growth and direction will be based.
We continually strive to improve the services, products and techniques required to meet our customers' changing information needs.