On April 8, 1897 R.B. Hawkins published the first Silver Star, which a few years later became the Dolores Star.
The arrival of the Rio Grande Southern railroad route in 1891 gave Hawkins hope for Dolores, as did the burgeoning logging and ranching industries in the valley.
"We will try to keep the Silver Star above petty politics," he announced in the first edition. "It is our firm conviction that prosperity will come."
For 118 years, the newspaper chronicled the weekly happenings of Dolores and its industries, people and politics.
The epic run ended Sept. 24, 2015. But the news of this quaint, hardscrabble river town will continue to echo in The Journal, a revamped newspaper covering Dolores, Cortez and Mancos.
Throughout a century of archives, it's clear Dolores residents lived up to their potential those early editors predicted.
In 1883, Colonel Topping and James Hanna saw the potential to redirect the Dolores River and irrigate the Montezuma Valley, and the flourishing farming town of Cortez was the result.
The mile-long Dolores Tunnel was one of the first large-scale irrigation projects of its time. It was dug by hand and dynamite from 1885 to 1888.
"This enterprise caused a rush of settlers from all parts of the state to arrive in the Montezuma and Dolores Valleys," the paper boasts, and helped to fill Dolores' first school.
Ranching flourished in the early 20th century and was critical for feeding the large mining camps that had taken hold in the Blue Mountains, Rico, and La Plata districts.
"The Dolores Valley is thick with farms; ranges are dotted with vast herds as far as the eye can see," a reporter wrote. "Herds reach 5,000 head. The valley is the agriculture and stock county of the state, without a doubt. Hundreds of tons of potatoes, cabbage, turnips, beets and carrots are stored and ready for quick sales by wagon loads."
In October 1911, the paper reported that rains flooded the Dolores River, sending three feet of water through town. Bridges and the railroad suffered losses, and two homes floated away. No one was reported killed.
The Rio Grande Southern steam-powered freight trains served the silver and gold mines near Telluride, Ophir and Rico, "with both tracks with full loads awaiting shipment north."
But, the paper reported, "the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act and stock market crash in 1929 spelled financial failure for the railroad."
Enter Galloping Goose No. 5, a town icon today. The cost-saving rail bus made its maiden voyage in on June 8, 1933, through Dolores without much fanfare.
"This gives the Rio Grande Southern railroad, five buses and an occasional freight train," it stated.
In 1950, the Goose was spruced up for tourists, and described as "a glamorous means of transportation with an observation car and snack bar. Round trip to Telluride: $4.50."
In 1930, a landing field was built on a Dolores mesa to serve Alamosa Airways, but on the first arrival, "the pilot circled then left back to Durango, believing the field was not safe enough."
The Star documented the Brumleys' construction of the Hotel Del Rio in 1930, which stands today at Fourth Street and Central Avenue.
The decade also saw Dolores install a modern sewer system that treated wastes with chlorine gas, then filtered it through layers of sand. This solved the problem of "outdoor toilets draining into ditches and into the river."
And who can forget in 1950 when Hattie Blake nearly drowned in the Dolores River, but was saved by Boy Scout Lyn Denby, who dove in, pulled her ashore and revived her with CPR.
In 1968, the Bureau of Reclamation and Congress authorized the building of the Dolores Project, featuring McPhee Dam, a 381,000 acre-feet reservoir, Great Cut Dike and pumping station, a new Dolores Tunnel and a network of canals.
"Legend has it that Teddy Roosevelt chose the site for the dam during a hunting trip in 1906," the paper stated.
The Star dutifully recorded every aspect of the planning and construction of $403 million dam and reservoir project built and filled in the 1980s.
"At the heart of this huge, complex project is to provide irrigation water for 62,000 acres and provide municipal water for Cortez and Towaoc," the paper stated.
Three people were killed during the construction project, which lasted 10 years and employed 500 workers. Forty-five homes and 11 farms had to be moved out of the way of the reservoir, which filled in 1987.
"Dolores got a new $1 million sewer plant and a 22-acre park (Joe Rowell)," the paper noted. "With irrigation reaching Dove Creek and Towaoc for the first time, the pinto bean may lose its place as dryland king to acres of alfalfa."
From 1978 to 1984, archaeologists documented ancient cultural sites that would have been flooded by McPhee Reservoir. Some 2.4 million artifacts were saved from 1,200 sites, and the Anasazi Heritage Center near Dolores was built to display, store and study them.
"The cultural mitigation of the Dolores Archeologist Program was funded at $16 million and hired 230 archeologists," the paper reported.
More recent decades are recalled by former editors Shannon Livick (2009-2013), Sam and Melinda Green (1980-1996), and Lewis McCool (1977-1981).
"The big ongoing story was the building of McPhee Dam and Reservoir," Green said. "There was the recall election that divided the town for years, and the loss of Taylor Hardware when it burned down on Christmas night. We enjoyed getting to know the local people through the profiles we wrote."
McCool remembered the run-up to the construction of the Dolores Project.
He recalled writing about the controversy of proposed wilderness areas in the national forest and whether the Dolores River should be protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
"There was the Tyson Gang who escaped from an Arizona Prison, passed through the area, and killed a young couple near Pagosa Springs," McCool said. "During the manhunt, some of the couple's belongings were found eight miles up river from Dolores."
McCool recalled the lighter stories too.
"The most fun I had was covering the school's sporting events," he said. "The rivalries between Dolores and Mancos and Dove Creek were intense and outrageous."
Livick recalled the school's ban of the Confederate flag. And there was the time that a man photographed a white elk.
"Other stories were heart-wrenching such as murders and fatal accidents," she said. "The best part of being the editor were community events such as the Christmas program, the science fair and prom, where I got to meet many wonderful residents."
McCool too has fond memories.
"I took pride in the publication. I made a lot of friends and a few enemies," McCool said. "I changed the commentary from rather conservative to slightly liberal. A Cortez editor and I had frequent dueling editorials from time to time. "