Gary Dunnam of Victoria Preservation Inc. stopped by Thursday morning to share some of the research he had done on the various locations of the Victoria Advocate since it began in 1846.
As the state's second-oldest newspaper, the Advocate has a rich history. I still have a lot to learn about this proud tradition and appreciate the education I receive from experts such as Gary and longtime Advocate owners John Roberts and Kay McHaney.
Here is Gary's summary of his research:
In 1934, Leopold Morris, editor of the Victoria Advocate, documented the various locations Advocate had called “home” through the years. This account is updated to give the reader a clearer understanding of the locations as they relate to 2010.
The Advocate first began business in a small one-story frame building at the corner of Main Street and Goodwin Avenue (#1) where the Baptist Church once stood -- northeast corner of One-O’Connor Plaza at 215 N. Main. A Mr. Gentry later acquired this property and sold it to the Baptist congregation for $100, and for nine years the building was used as a church by the Baptists.
(#2?) We have no record of where the Advocate office was next located.
(#3) Later it was located at 201 S. Main St. in the Owens Building on South Main Street the present site of the Lapham Building, and when the Owens Building was destroyed by fire in 1878, the Advocate, which was on the second floor, suffered the loss of its plant. It then installed a new plant in the second story of the Scharg Building on West Constitution Street.
(#4) The old site of the Scharg Building (107 E. Constitution) is now partly occupied by the five-story Victoria National Bank (Welder) Building.
(#5) The Advocate next moved into the Rogers & Oliver Building, at the corner of Constitution and Bridge, facing De Leon Plaza. The Advocate gave up its lease on this building to permit the county to occupy it in preparation for the construction of the 1892 Victoria County Courthouse. The Advocate then moved to the Thornton Building on (118 N.) Main St.
(#6) The Advocate again suffered the loss of its plant when the Thornton Building was destroyed by fire during the Christmas holidays in the same year (Note: This fire destroyed back issues of the Advocate, leaving a gap in the printed history of the newspaper).
(#7) The Advocate subsequently was quartered in the Collier Building at the corner of Bridge and Santa Rosa Streets, 120 S. Bridge. This was later the location of Leslie Wilden’s filling station.
(#8) Later it occupied the building at 110 S. Main St. and remained there until its removal to quarters (at 110) S. Liberty St.
(#9) George H. French acquired the paper in 1901 when the office was located in this building. The Advocate occupied part of the building with Thomas Nolan, local White Sewing Machine agent. The Advocate purchased the old Palace Saloon Building while it was being moved from 119 S. Main St. to make room for the erection of the brick Weber Building. Mr. French had the building placed on a lot he had purchased on South William Street in 1912.
(#10) The Advocate remained in this building until 1926, when it found temporary quarters in a building Mr. French had just erected on East Constitution Street for the Streckfus Garage.
(#11) While a new home was under construction on the site of the old Weber Building, which was dismantled.
(#12) The Advocate occupied its new home in February of 1927. This handsome building was designed by Jules Leffland’s son, Paul Leffland (1897-1939). It occupied this site until 1949 when the Advocate’s present building was completed.
(#13) In 1967 the second floor was added. Since that date, the building has expanded to the south and west to accommodate its needs, essentially surrounding the 1927 building, which is still standing, though drastically altered.
-- Submitted by Gary Dunnam, Victoria Preservation Inc.
To the question I pose in the title of this article, I expect some might answer as Advocate vice president Stephen McHaney did: quite a few ranches. Other than this category, though, can you think of any business that goes back farther than your Advocate? I should have asked Gary that question.
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