My longtime friend and co-owner of the Mustang Times newspaper Steve Coulter called me last Saturday while I was catching up on some paperwork. He asked me if the latest buzz around our industry, specifically regarding the closing of the Edmond Sun newspaper was true.
The rumor had begun circulating last Thursday that the state’s oldest newspaper was ceasing publication. I told Steve I had also heard this rumor as I told him I would find out for sure.
Many of you know Steve Coulter from his more than 23 years as the weekend DJ at Oklahoma City radio station MAGIC 104. He also worked with me when we owned a minority stake in the Yukon Review and Mustang News back in the 90’s. For years, Coulter has made quite a name for himself adding his personal touch to all that great Christmas music they play during the Holiday season. Steve has dedicated many songs to his weekend Yukon listeners and for that he has been ranked #1 many rating periods. Thanks for the memories Steve. My little girls always loved having you say their names on the radio.
So that I could get the real news right from the top, I contacted Lance Moler, who is the current publisher, at home and he sadly confirmed the bad news.
I thought about this death of the Sun for a long time Saturday. I reflected upon when Milton “Kickingbird” Reynolds first published the Edmond Sun newspaper on July 18, 1889, just a few months after the Oklahoma Land Run and how so many businesses and organizations in Edmond bear his name.
I then began to look back at that historic turn of the century when in 1899, THE YUKON SUN newspaper was established. Many of you who are new to town have seen the old building on Main Street that to this day houses the old granite that carries the words: The YUKON SUN.
The Oklahoma Historical Society has done a remarkable job of displaying the history of The Sun, that was made up of consolidated newspapers such as the Frisco Courier, the Yukon Republican, the Mustang Mail, the Yukon Weekly and the Piedmont Post. The Sun was published on Fridays and claimed to be independent in politics. In March 1901, Yukon’s Burt Maxwell was the editor. When Maxwell decided to move to Colorado, Gordon McCormas bought it. By 1907, Yukon’s Judd Woods had taken ownership and the weekly was affiliated with the Democratic Party. Bruce Ott bought the Sun sometime between 1907 and 1914 and consolidated the other paper in town, the Yukon Herald with the Sun.
In 1915, John F. Kroutil (YNB, Progress Brewery) incorporated the Yukon Sun then in 1920 sold it to Harry W. Smith. That paper published until 1923 when it changed to the YUKON OKLAHOMA SUN.
The paper’s motto was: “If you didn’t see it in the Sun it didn’t happen.
The YUKON OKLAHOMA SUN was published until 1963.
I believe the Edmond Sun will forever be in the hearts of our metro neighbors. Many people in Edmond have no idea what it truly means when they say, Kickingbird Theater or let’s go hit the golf ball at Kickingbird Golf Course. Many of them don’t even know the very housing addition they live in (Kickingbird) is named after the old founder of the Edmond Sun.
In Yukon, I think it is very important to remember our (SUN) history and to remember the great Poe Vandament. Many of you travel daily along the street in town that bears his name-Vandament Avenue.
Poe Vandament was born in 1883 and died in 1956. He was a native of Kansas and attended law school at the University of Kansas before he came to the Oklahoma Territory in 1903 where he entered the newspaper business. He published the Glencoe Mirror newspaper until 1912 then bought the Welch Watchman and ran it unti 1921. He then joined H. Merle Woods in a start-up venture in Vinita, Oklahoma called the Craig County Gazette. He sold that paper in 1929 then served as Publisher of the YUKON SUN from 1930-1948. Mr. Vandament was the President of the Oklahoma Press Association, district governor of Lions International, the Yukon Mayor in 1933 and 1934, and president of the Oklahoma Municipal League in 1941. He worked on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Memorial Association (now known as the Oklahoma Hall of Fame) and he helped organize the YUKON LIONS CLUB in 1930.
Poe Vandament is buried in the Yukon cemetery. He died at the age of 73. His presidential plaque is displayed at the Oklahoma Press Association building on Lincoln Boulevard. I will one day have his plaque (or a copy of it) in my Yukon office. (where it should be)
With the upcoming Memorial Day weekend just a few weeks away, I plan to place flowers at the graves in the Yukon cemetery, on our former Yukon newspaper publishers who have gone on before me.
Poe “Boone” Vandament, Jim “Watts on my mind?” Watson, Randel “Grigsbygram” Grigsby. I can’t carry the bags of these great newspaper men who were here before me-but I will just keep on trying.
The Sun may have set in Edmond, but if I have anything to do with it, the Sun will forever live on the pages of this newspaper.
Thanks so much for reading. I will see you next Saturday. Would you like a Progress?
Yukon Progress Publisher Randy K. Anderson can be reached at (405) 517-5168 or firstname.lastname@example.org