H.J. Holmes found riches in words | PostIndependent.com

H.J. Holmes found riches in words

Frontier DiaryWilla SoncartyRegistrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
Photo Courtesy Frontier Historical SocietyThe Avalanche newspaper owner Henry J. Holmes, second from right, worked diligently to report upon the happenings in Glenwood Springs. Holmes paper was a staple in Glenwood Springs until 1927, when it ceased publication after his death.

Henry James Holmes searched Colorado for gold and silver. He never found the precious metals, but instead found riches lurking in words, information and printers ink. Holmes became a newspaperman. Holmes came to Glenwood Springs in 1884 as a miner. Eventually he left the hard and dirty work of searching for riches and signed on with the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad during the construction of its rails to Glenwood. When the first D & RG train arrived in October 1887, Holmes left the railroad, turning his interests to the printed word. He signed on at the Ute Chief, Glenwoods weekly newspaper. Shortly thereafter he followed his entrepreneurial spirit by purchasing the newly formed Daily News. Working from a small cabin in the 700 block of Blake Avenue, and printing with primitive equipment, Holmes reported on the happenings and improvements in Glenwood Springs. In 1889 he purchased Carbondales Advance newspaper, changed its name to The Avalanche, and moved the operation to Glenwood Springs in 1891. He was so successful that he built a new office and residence at 412 Eighth St. in 1893. Believing in Garfield Countys possibilities, Holmes was interested in issues promoting public health, education, agriculture, local business, low taxes and a high standard of living. He was also quick to challenge the decisions of county government, especially in the realm of expenditures. At times the passionate challenges penned in his The Avalanche newspaper led him to have physical altercations with some of his readers and those he criticized. Holmes believed that a towns newspaper was a direct reflection of the community it represented, giving a visitor one of his first and lasting impressions of that community. Henry Holmes and his Avalanche strived not only to report the news but to give that good first impression. Frontier Diary is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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