What's past is prologue

The first edition of the Ada Evening News, launched on March 14, 1904.

By the time you read this, we at The Ada News will have marked our 115th birthday. The newspaper will have rolled over to volume 116, and we will continue the tradition we began the day after Ada was settled — bringing you news and information you can’t get anywhere else.

In 2019, it’s not hard to find out what’s going on in the nation’s Capitol. It’s not hard to find out which of your state senators or representatives has done a thing or get up-to-date information about the latest scandal or crisis facing the nation or the Sooner State. Small screens have been pushing that information to readers for years now.

But, what you won’t find in that digital milieu is information about how Ada High School’s aviation program is one of the best in the state, if not the nation. You won’t find anything about the 4-H programs in Vanoss, Stratford or Latta. There’ll be nothing about what Pontotoc County Commissioners or Ada City Council members decide to do with your money.

Where you will find all of that information and more is on the pages of The Ada News and in our own digital stream.

Former editor Shannon Lowry, tasked with marking this same anniversary a few short years ago, wrote:

“On March 14, 1904, the Ada Evening News launched Volume 1, Number 1 — a four-page newspaper “Devoted to Making Ada a Larger and More Progressive City.” Ada was in the heart of Indian Territory then, but there was a brief telegraph report from Washington indicating an agreement had been reached to provide for the ‘admission of Arizona and New Mexico as one state and Oklahoma and Indian Territory as another.’

“The news of that day included the Chickasaw Nation endorsing the Roosevelt administration, a rumor that ‘Port Arthur has fallen’ on the Liao Tung Peninsula and Admiral Togo and his men were tasked with trying to clear the Russians out of the Yalu country and force them back into Manchuria.

“Henley & Biles, billed as ‘Ada’s Greatest Store,’ had an ad on the front page featuring a tortuous-looking lady’s corset, and the Red Cross Store showed dapper men’s suits with ‘No Equal at the Same Price.’ Rounding out the ads was an enticing one to ‘Meet Me at the Fountain’ at The Elite Confectionery for the ‘finest ice cream in the city’ on the south side of Main Street.”

Now, 115 years later, The Ada News has shed its “Evening” moniker. It is no longer delivered by a carrier but placed in subscriber mailboxes faithfully every Tuesday through Saturday by the U.S. Postal Service, and the pages aren’t so wide you have to stretch your arms to open up the paper. Still — and steadfastly — our staff is devoted to bringing Ada timely local and personal news, along with the latest relevant wire news from around the nation and the world.

Shannon and I didn’t agree on everything (editors never do), but she hit the nail on the head with the phrase “personal news.” That’s exactly what we aim to deliver — news that’s personal and unique to the greater Ada area. News you won’t find anywhere else.

Join us over the next few weeks as we explore the last 115 years, from our founding the day after Ada was settled through World War I and II, the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Through the history of this nation, this state and this community, let’s explore how Ada became the city you live, work and play in today. Let us take you back to days some scarcely remember.

We begin with a look at the basics: how Ada got its name, where the Hays family fits into Ada’s development and the role East Central University has played in helping to promote a vibrant and thriving economy here in the Ada area. In subsequent editions of Progress 2019, we will take a closer look at how the Agri-Plex became what it is today and how Ada grew from a little settlement on a hill to what we are today. We will also take a look at where we’re going tomorrow.

Thank you for 115 years of readership. We enjoy bringing you all the news and information you can’t get anywhere else. 


Carl Lewis is the editor of The Ada News. He's an aspiring photographer, an unabashed fan of Apple products and an avid coffee swiller. Contact Carl at (580) 310-7520, or by email at clewis@theadanews.com.