Jerry Raehal: 100 years for Craig

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Happy birthday.

Or anniversary.

Or Centennial celebration.

Whatever you call it, today marks 100 years of Craig being an incorporated town.

On the front section of today's Daily Press is a reprint of the April 23, 1908, Routt County Courier, which carries the article chronicling the incorporation.

Let me first say this is not an actual reprint. The physical paper size difference between the Courier and the Daily Press caused minor problems in creating an exact layout.

The Courier also used fonts we could not find, and we had to trace what we could.

Finally, the 1908 version was copied from microfiche via the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries, and it is quite faded. There were some words that took some phone calls as well as some educated and not-so educated guesses to try to figure out.

That said, we've done the best we could to reproduce it, and I want to thank everyone who helped, from typing to editing to layout.

We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

Looking at the Routt County Courier, which was a weekly paper, you can see how journalism has changed, but also stayed the same.

It was interesting to read about the town's smallest details, such as someone making a day trip into the area to the condition of a woman who lost her baby. It certainly gave the paper a homey feel.

That "Dr. Nichols can cure alcoholism in three days or no charge for subsequent treatment," caused some discussion during the editing process, as did Dr. Shoop's interesting insights on medicine.

The 1908 paper also had a little brief on how the paper sometimes makes mistakes.

"Why even the Courier editor himself, lordly creature that he is, sometimes makes a mistake."

The Daily Press editor, lordly creature that he is, can relate.

Perhaps the most important insight to take from the 1908 paper is in the "Craig is to be a city" article itself, where a call to action is made in regard to election of officers.

It stated: "This is the serious part of incorporating, and the people must see to it that our officers are elected from the substantial business men of town, and no man should shirk the duties thrust upon him. Let our motto be: 'WORK FOR CRAIG'S BEST INTERESTS, AND WORK ALL THE TIME.'"

This statement is perhaps more relevant today than 100 years ago. Today, we still need people to step forward into leadership roles, whether they are elected officials or service clubs, regardless of if they are "substantial business men" or not.

In 100 years, apathy has crept across the country. Today, many volunteer groups struggle to find people to fill the ranks. Fewer people are involved with politics or service work.

Look at today's landscape, and, at best, it seems as if people are willing to give money but not time. At worst, people would rather criticize than mobilize into action.

So today - a day 100 years in the making - remember to thank those who have heeded the call of the community and worked toward Craig's best interests. Politicians and volunteers often get little or no thanks, but they are frequently the ones working in the fray of the future.

Today, let's work toward the next 100 years with the same motto. Get involved, work hard and make the next 100 years better than the first.

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