Suwannee Democrat

Suwannee Democrat

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The Suwannee Democrat [LCCN: sn95026787] is one of the oldest continuously published weeklies in the State of Florida. It began publishing in 1884 in the city of Live Oak (FL). Noting the shifting demographics of Florida in the 20th century, in 1906, one observes that Live Oak was the fifth largest city in Florida, preceded only by Jacksonville, Pensacola, Tampa, and Key West. The Suwannee Democrat enjoyed a corresponding reputation as a journalistic leader in early 20th century Florida. For approximately two years, from 1906 through 1907, the weekly Suwannee Democrat was supplemented by the Live Oak (FL) Daily Democrat [LCCN: sn95026788]. The Suwannee Democrat has won numerous awards from the Florida Press Association, both as in the weekly category and for the quality of its agricultural reporting. In its early days, the Suwannee Democrat reported a Democrat Party affiliation. The newspaper's first editor hid under an assumed name when he was suspected of murder. A deathbed confession by the actual perpetrator allowed him to resume his true identity: F.R. McCormack. Very little else, however, is known of F.R. McCormack. Fires have taken their toll on the Suwannee Democrat. In 1906, a disgruntled printer left by railroad on the night that its offices burned to the ground. Arson again in October 1995, destroyed a historic block of Live Oak's downtown and the newspaper's office was one of the casualties. Lost in the fire were last-known issues of the Suwannee Democrat dating from 1897 through 1900. The issues had just been scheduled for preservation microfilming under the auspices of the U.S. Newspaper Program, when they were destroyed. The event was bitterly regretted and served to show the precariousness of local newspaper archives. Live Oak is the seat of Suwannee County (FL) government. Suwannee County is surrounded on three sides by the Suwannee River. And, its karst topography gives the area an abundance of natural springs and fresh water. Industries of the region, particularly during the early days of the Suwannee Democrat, were lumber, turpentine and cotton. Live Oak was known for its grist and lumber mills. The character of these industries and the regional economy survived through the 1920s, when economic down-turn resulted in change. Change was already being seen as early as 1910, when the poultry underwent industrialization in the county. Poultry took such a strong foothold in Suwannee County that even front yards were cultivated for the production of feed grains. Agriculture and other land-based industries, particularly forestry and related industries, were also seeing change with the establishment of nurseries supplying hybrid bulbs and plants to markets. The Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression brought change and growth to a halt. With recovery, the region became semi-rural. Florida's demographic shifts, both that following World War II and the completion of the Interstate Highway System initiated by Governor Bryant in the 1960s, have marked a trend of increasing urbanization in Suwannee County.--E. Kesse, University of Florida Digital Library Center.
Publisher: Live Oak, Fla. : J.E. Pound
Characteristics: v
Additional Contributors: NewsBank, Inc


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