History of the Dade City Banner, Dade City, Florida


The Dade City Banner

And Earlier Newspapers in Dade City

1920s photo, as reproduced in the newspaper on Aug. 18, 1977

This page was last updated on Jan. 29, 2021.

1882. The Fort Dade Messenger is established. (A newspaper reported on June 20, 1882, “The first number of the Fort Dade (Fla.) Messenger, a weekly paper, which proclaims its Democracy, but disclaims Bourbonistic views, has been received. Newspapers and railroads seem to be the order of the day in the Floridian peninsula.” The newspaper was apparently founded by R. O. Carter and B. L. Blackburn. According to Hendley, the first newspaper in Pasco county was called the Messenger and was edited by B. L. Blackburn and the first printer or type setter was Mr. Mahoney. D. H. Moseley, an editor of the paper, later wrote that it was “a weekly paper that boasted of having the largest circulation in Hernando county, with a paid-up subscription list of 87.” According to Webb’s Historical, Industrial and Biographical Florida (1885), the Fort Dade Messenger was established in 1882 by a stock company.

June 22, 1883. The Fort Dade Messenger, Vol. II, No. 2, consists of four pages. The issue shows W. C. Sumner as publisher and the editor was J. G. Wallace, who had just assumed that position with that issue.

1884. Roswell’s American Newspaper Directory has: “The Fort Dade Messenger. Fort Dade, Florida. The great orange-growing section. J. G. Wallace, editor. Published weekly by W. C. Sumner. The Messenger, under its present management, is devoted to the material interests of the County of Hernando generally, and to Fort Dade section specially. In politics it is Democratic, but eschews ultraism of every kind and character. The rates for advertisements are extremely liberal, and its circulation makes it one of the most desirable and profitable mediums in the Southern country.”

July 11, 1884. The Fort Dade Messenger (vol. 3, no. 4) shows John H. Brown is the publisher.

1885. Webb’s Historical, Industrial and Biographical Florida reports that Fort Dade Messenger is now published by W. C. Sumner with J. G. Wallace editor.

June 6, 1885. A newspaper mentions the Dade City Observer. [The newspaper is called the Florida Observer in an 1885 newspaper directory, which says it is a weekly newspaper.]

1886. The Florida State Gazetteer and Business Directory shows W. F. Alexander, a physician, as the publisher of the Fort Dade Messenger.

Sept. 3, 1887. The Columbus Enquirer-Sun reports, “The first number of Pasco county’s new paper, the Democrat, published at Dade City, Fla., has made its appearance.” [The Pasco County Democrat was established by Capt. John B. Johnston. [On Mar. 26, 1920, the Dade City Banner reported: “Jno. B. Johnston, of Tampa, whose name will appear prominent in the history of Dade City journalism, if such is ever written, was a caller on the Banner last Saturday. Mr. Johnston was the pioneer printer in Pasco county we believe; anyhow he established the Democrat here in 1887 and continued its publication for twenty years. Later he started Progress in Dade City, but it belied its name and expired in two years.”]

May 20, 1892. A newspaper quotes from “The Industrial (Dade City, Fla.).”

1899. A directory shows the Democrat is owned by J. A. Johnston and had a circulation of 400.

1904. The Dade City Star is established. [On Dec. 8, 1904, a newspaper reported, “The Dade City Star is one of the latest ventures on the journalistic sea.” According to a 1972 newspaper article, “Basil Orville (“Villie”) Bowden became owner and editor of the Dade City Star which he established in 1904….” On Oct. 15, 1909, B. O. Bowden is shown as editor and owner. In 1915 Bowden moved to Inverness and became editor of the Citrus County Chronicle and was subsequently appointed sheriff.]

1909. The Dade City Star absorbs the Pasco County Democrat.

July 17, 1910. The Dade City Progress is known to be in existence at this time, as an article from that newspaper quotes from it. (A later newspaper article recalled that the Progress was founded by Capt. John B. Johnston and lasted for two years.)

Nov. 16, 1911. The Zephyrhills Colonist mentions vol. I, no. 1, of the Dade City Record. [On Nov. 26, 1911, the Miami Herald Record reported, “Dade City has a new newspaper and it is called the Pasco County Record. The first number was sent out last Friday and Editor A. G. Waldron, who is also the proprietor, declares in his introductory that he intends to ‘publish the news of all the county just as it happens and from an unbiased and unprejudiced viewpoint.’”]

1912. Tampa newspapers quote from the Dade City Record.

July 25, 1913. Vol. 1, No. 1 of the Dade City Banner is published, with John Tippen, editor. [On Aug. 27, 1913, the St. Petersburg Daily Times reprinted the following from the Gainesville Sun: “Dade City is a rather small town to support two newspapers, but she is going to try it. Larger towns than Dade City have failed in this attempt but the Banner has the Sun’s best wishes for her success.”


Mickie Cleans Up and Brings a Treasure to Light

This item appeared in the Dade City Banner on April 22, 1921.

Mickie was doing something unusual the other day. He was straightening up the Banner office, and poking into a dark corner he found s framed copy of “Vol. 1, No. 1” of the Dade City Banner. It was published by the Banner Publishing Company, John Tippen, editor, and dated July 25th, 1913. It is a well edited and well appearing paper, the worse feature being the variety of body type in which it is set by hand.

A picture of “the beautiful Edwinola” hotel was printed on the first page. It had been completed in March the previous year at a cost of about $50,000. “It is a fire proof concrete building of three stories, containing 32 guest rooms, all of which are located on the second and third floors, the first floor being used for office, parlor and dining room.”

Further this Banner reported that a citizens’ meeting was held Monday night to discuss the advisability of holding a primary election for nominating a postmaster for Dade City. “Hon. E. P. Wilson, county judge, was chosen chairman of the campaign committee, C. G. Knight, R. R. Ferrell, I. A. Woods and A. L. Auvil assistants.

Daniel Culpepper died at Greer and his body was found the following day.

The “Dade City Soldier Boys” returned from a seven day encampment at Black Point. There were thirty-eight enlisted men and three officers, Capt. R. B. Sturkie commanding. Lieut. C. S. Ashbrook was assigned to company F of Plant, City as that company had only one commissioned officer.

The Sunny Brook Tobacco Company had about eighty acres of tobacco under cultivation, averaging about twelve hundred pounds to the acres. “The Dade City grown tobacco is superior to any grown tobacco anywhere else in the state, bringing from 75 cents to $1.25 per pound more than the tobacco raised in northern counties.”

County commissioners accepted bid of Chicago company for purchase of $150,000 bond issue for road construction on west coast.

E. Leybourne’s new dwelling home was “assuming housely form,” Mrs. G. C. Hutchins was erecting two new bungalows in Orange Villa, Mrs. Maxie B. Phinney had let contract for bungalow in Burnett addition and H. C. and J. C. Griffin were considering plans for a second story to be added to Griffin block.

Rt. Rev. Wm. Crane Gray, bishop of Southern Florida, made his second visitation of the year to St. Mary’s church, accompanied by the priest in charge, Rev. H. W. Ticknor.

San Antonio council voted the “porkers” off the streets, clayed Curley street and around the plaza, and were agitating the filling in of Lamke and Carroll lakes.

John S. Flanagan gave a stag party at his home in San Antonio. In singing contest Frank Carroll won first prize and A. Adler the booby prize.

Demand for house room at Crystal Springs overtaxed. Little shanties costing only $40 to $50 were renting at 50 cents a week, and larger houses in proportion.

Alex Burris and Miss Elna May Scott married at the bride’s home in Trilby by Hon. Ralph A. Waccaman.

Editor Tippen in his salutatory stated that he would not resort to petty price cutting, that he would not publish whiskey advertisements, and that the Banner was published for the better class of citizens.

Local advertisements in the first number of the Banner were by W. H. Edwards, Trilby; City Pressing Club, Lanier House, Burnett Place Addition by Mrs. Maxie B. Phinney, B. A. Brantley, Touchton’s Drug Store, Racket Department Store by O. N. Williams & Son, Dade City Bottling Works, Dade City Ice, Light & Power Co., Dade City Wagon Works by Teston & Son, Dr. E. R. Baker, dentist, Coleman & Ferguson, Pasco County Abstract Company, J. L. Boynton, real estate, and a full page ad by the Dade City Board of Trade.

1914. William Michael Hetherington, only about 18 years old at the time, purchases the Banner from Tippen. On Sept. 8, 1914, a newspaper reported, “The Dade City Banner is now being guided by a new pilot, W. M. Hetherington, son of the ell known and versatile editor-proprietor of the Lakeland Telegram and News, having taken charge. If the young man is, as he has been called, “a chip off the old block,” the Banner will wave gloriously and command the respect of all. We wish the new standard bearer and the paper every success.” (Tippen went on to start the Pasco County Weekly News in Trilby in 1915. In 1921 he was working for the Birmingham News.)

Oct. 9, 1915. The Dade City Banner and the Dade City Star are consolidated. The Dade City Banner on Oct. 8, 1915, has:

Purchase of the Star

The Dade City Banner announces that, effective from this date, its proprietor has purchased the business, good-will, subscription list and plant of the Dade City Star. The business of the two institutions will be consolidated, and this paper will fill out all unexpired subscriptions to the Dade City Star, and will collect all subscriptions that may be due that paper.

It is the aim of the publisher, under the consolidation, to make this move advantageous to Dade City and Pasco County, while also indulging the hope that it may be beneficial to himself. It is patent to the casual observer that the field here it too limited to admit of satisfactory or successful publication of two newspapers. A division of such business as it is possible to obtain in this community cannot produce more than a bare existence for either of the newspapers; and the result is that the town and county cannot possibly receive the newspaper service to which they are entitled, and which one fairly well patronized institution can give. To create and maintain a newspaper business that will rest on a solid financial basis, and that will result in a creditable newspaper service for this community, is the ambition of the publisher of this paper and the object of the consolidation.

We have plans for the enlargement of the paper and its betterment in various ways, but, naturally, it will take some time to accomplish what we hope to bring about. We expect to proceed with improvements as rapidly as circumstances warrant, and is consistent with a safe and conservative business policy. At an early date we shall install a more modern newspaper printing press and other up-to-date equipment, and it shall be our aim at all times to keep abreast of the requirements and progress of the community, and, indeed, in advance of them.

Per the rest, we hope to be able to use our enlarged opportunities in a modest way for the general good—to lend a hand in the cause of right and good morals at all times; to foster and encourage good citizenship, municipal improvement and county development; to conduct a clean, wholesome newspaper, which will give in every instance a fair deal to all, and which will furnish double the publicity and circulation that has ever been given by a Dade City newspaper at no advance in the advertising rates that have maintained under competition. If this policy meets with the approval of the good people of Pasco county, we earnestly ask their support and encouragement in enabling us to carry it out.

According to Carol Hedman, “The Star merged with The Dade City Banner, founded in 1913 by B.O. Bowden, in 1915. The merger was the brainchild of businessman Wayne Thomas Sr. who came to town looking for an investment and found two floundering newspapers. He bought both, merged them, and owned The Banner for the next 20 years.”

Jan. 1, 1920. Carl H. Rerick purchases the newspaper from Hetherington. (Rerick had leased it since 1918. Hetherington hen moved to Lakeland and had charge of job printing in the Telegram office. In 1922 he purchased the New Port Richey Press.)

Dec. 22, 1922. The New Port Richey Press reports that publisher Arthur Ray Nason sold his newspaper The Elfers West Pasco Record to the Dade City Banner, which would discontinue its publication but instead add a section of the Banner to serve western Pasco County. A copy of the West Coast Page of the Dade City Banner of Feb. 16, 1923, exists. It shows Nason as “West Coast Reporter and Agent for The Dade City Banner, Elfers, Florida.”

Aug. 8, 1924. The Dade City Banner reports that is now under new management, the paper having been taken over by Wayne Thomas of Tampa and Ira M. McAlpin from Carl H. Rerick, who has published it for the last four years. “The publication of the Banner will be in charge of Mr. McAlpin, who will look after the advertising, circulation and job printing departments.” Carl B. Taylor becomes associate editor.

Oct. 10, 1924. The Dade City Banner changes its numbering to volume 20, number 13, based on the 1904 start of the Dade City Star. The previous issue of the newspaper was numbered as volume 12, number 12.

Aug. 14, 1925. The Dade City Banner announces that it will become a semi-weekly beginning on Sept. 1, publishing on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.

Jan. 12, 1928. The Pasco County News vol. 3, no. 8, is identified as “Successor to the Lake Jovita Floridan.” It is published by the Highlands Printing Co., with Harley S. Bazzell as editor and general manager. [The digitized Banner collection has this newspaper, rather than or in addition to, the Dade City Banner, in 1928-1929.]

Oct. 3, 1930. A newspaper reports, “S. D. Lovett has sold the Zephyrhills News and Pasco County News at Dade City to a stock company, who are continuing the papers with J. S. Hughes as editor. It is understood that most of the stockholders are county officials who have become interested in order to further their political interests.—Florida Newspaper News.”

1931. At this time, T. S. Thomas is Managing Editor of the Dade City Banner.

Late 1933. Harley Smith Bazzell becomes Business Manager of the Dade City Banner.

Jan. 17, 1943. Dade City Banner owner Harley Smith Bazzell dies at age 42. He had been the owner of the Banner for only a few months at the time of his death. (His widow, Margaret Bazzell, subsequently became the owner.)

May 21, 1959. The Dade City Banner shows Mrs. Margaret Bazzell, owner; Harley S. Bazzell, editor; Mrs. Catherine H. McIntosh, Society Editor; Harold E. Taylor, Business Manager; William R. Branas, Advertising Manager. (The following issue shows only Harley S. Bazzell, editor.)

1968. Charles Haskell becomes the publisher, with Rupert Blocker, editor. Later that year, Avery Means succeeded Blocker as editor.

1970. Charles Haskell is shown as the publisher, and Duke Richard, editor.

Nov. 2, 1970. Raymond M. Webb, R. Duane Anderson, and Ander P. Gibbs purchase the newspaper from Charles Haskell of Dade City and Walter Gielow of Sanford. (Webb was manager of radio station WDCF. Anderson was owner of Coleman and Ferguson and a stockholder of WDCF. Gibbs was a Dade City attorney.)

Feb. 25, 1971. The Dade City Banner shows Ray Webb, publisher; Harold Reedy, associate publisher; Tony Dexter, associate to the publisher; Chuck Hustead, editor.

Sept. 13, 1971. The name of the newspaper is shortened to The Banner.

Nov. 6, 1972. The newspaper is renamed Pasco East, “Serving dynamic Eastern Pasco County.” The newspaper announces that it is expanding to five-day per week publication, and adding news from the UPI wire service.

Sept. 5 1973. The St. Petersburg Times reports that the Dix Media of Defiance, Ohio, headed by Earl S. “Steve” Dix, is the new owner of Pasco East, succeeding Raymond M. Webb and his business partner, R. Duane Anderson. Dix is quoted as saying tha the newspaper will continue to be published daily Monday through Friday as Pasco East.

1973 or 1974. Sometime after Aug. 31, 1973, and before Jan. 2, 1974, the name of the newspaper is changed to Pasco News.

1976. Sunpress Inc. purchases the Pasco News.

Jan. 3, 1980. The Pasco News shows these personnel: Carl Moore, publisher; Carol Jeffares, Managing Editor; Bill Carter, advertising director; Mary Burnsed, business manager; Lee Bandy, Production Manager; George Ziegler, Circulation.

Jan. 6, 1989. The Pasco News shows these personnel: Richard DeSimone, president; Mary Burnsed, Business Manager; Virgil Starling, Advertising Director; Ellis Sandoz III, Editor; Elyse Mouyous, Composing Room Mgr.; Darrell William, Sports Editor; Mildred Martini, Circulation Manager.

Sept. 23, 1994. The Pasco News shows these officials in a box titled Pasco Shopper: President/Publisher, Mike Tabor; Business Manager, Mary Burnsed; Advertising Director, Donna Covert; Circulation Manager, Cricket Perry.

1996-97. The Florida NewsMedia Guide shows the Pasco News with a circulation of 4,200, at 1606 S. Hwy. 301. Publisher, Butch Henry. Editor, Mae Jones.

Nov. 30, 2006. The Pasco County News ceases publication. The company continues to publish the Pasco Shopper, a free advertising flyer.

Recollections of Nell Moody Woodcock

Ro, the wife of editor Harley Bazzell, and I were in the 1950’s slot, along with her mother-in-law, Margaret Bazzell; society editor Catherine McIntosh; brother-in-law Harold Taylor, business manager (typesetter); and William R. Branas, advertising manager.

Except for Margaret Bazzell and Catherine McIntosh, the rest of us had young families. We lived within walking distance of our jobs. The Banner was the newspaper of record for legal advertisements. Hard news was generated in today’s historic Pasco County courthouse or City Hall.

Coleman and Ferguson funeral home was located on the opposite side of 7th street from the Banner. Their ambulances were called to traffic accidents and other emergencies by police when transportation to a doctor or hospital was required. A check with their front office would reveal the location and severity of the incident.

City Hall was on east Meridian, the other private and public places were north of the courthouse on 7th Street.

Public officials located downstairs included county judge, clerk of circuit court, sheriff , supervisors of elections, superintendent of schools, school board and county commission. Located upstairs were jail cells, Circuit and county count rooms, state attorney and circuit judge office.

Digitization of the Banner

A recent major project of the Friends of the Hugh Embry Library involved raising funds for the digitization of old issues of the Banner and its successor newspaper titles from the microfilm and microfiche at the Dade City Library. Thanks to this effort, the Banner can be viewed on computers at the Dade City Public Library and (not quite as conveniently) worldwide from the website of the University of Florida, for most years from 1914 to 1994, although some newspapers are missing at this time.

Some Images of Newspaper Front Pages

May 28, 1926, Architect’s drawing of new Community Hotel (became city hall instead)

Jan. 4, 1927, Dade City’s new grammar school opens

April 21, 1944, A typical 1940s front page

May 12, 1944, Pasco County’s oldest citizen dies

Jan. 9, 1958, Measurable snow in Dade City

April 2, 1959, Tornado Strikes Dade City Today

Sept. 9, 1971, School board to ask Governor for emergency school funds

Apr. 1, 1982, Pasco News typical front page

front page