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The morning of Friday, May 4, 1900, residents of the fledgling Lubbock, Texas settlement woke and discovered that, overnight, the community had become the home of a weekly newspaper, the Avalanche.
Local attorney John James Dillard had formed a partnership with Thad Tubbs, speculator and occasional professional gambler, who provided the necessary capital - $175 – for the equipment to publish a newspaper.
Dillard had shrouded the newspaper in secrecy until publication day and, although a number of stories have been told regarding his selection of the name “Avalanche,” the consensus is that he wanted to surprise the populace with the newspaper “suddenly, like an avalanche hits.”
The 40 copies of the four-page first edition were printed in the back of Dillard’s law office, which became the plant for the new newspaper.
In 1908, Dillard sold the Avalanche to James Lorenzo Dow, who used his paper to promote agriculture, business and civic progress.
During its first decade, the Avalanche reflected both a populist-democratic attitude and a conservative biblical slant on news and activities of the community.
In 1922, the Avalanche began appearing as a daily (except Mondays) and in 1923 a morning edition called the Morning Avalanche was added. In 1926, the Avalanche Publishing Company encountered financial difficulties, and Dow sold it to a rival publication, the Daily Journal, owned by Dorrance Roderick and Chas. A. Guy. The Journal merged with the Morning Avalanche, and the new publication became known as the Avalanche-Journal.
The Avalanche-Journal Publishing Company flourished even during the Great Depression. Wilber C. Hawk and Gene Howe of the Globe News firm in Amarillo bought most of the A-J stock, although it was still under the capable leadership of Chas. A. Guy.
The Whittenburg family’s Panhandle Publishing Company in Amarillo bought Avalanche-Journal stock in 1951. Twenty-one years later in 1972, the Whittenburgs sold both the Avalanche-Journal and the Amarillo Daily News-Globe Times to Morris Communications Corporation of Augusta Ga.