By Don Benjamin

Contributing writer

The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC), has assembled an impressive array of Delta County newspapers. Spanning a century, from 1883 to 1983, the online collection includes newspapers from Delta, Cedaredge/Surface Creek and Paonia. A host of other Colorado communities are also represented in the sizeable collection.

A statement on the CHNC website outlines the scope of its holdings:

“A service of the Colorado State Library, the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC) currently includes more than 1.97 million digitized pages, representing more than 493 individual newspaper titles published in Colorado from 1859 up to 2020… and best of all the CHNC can be browsed and searched for free!”

To access the collection, visitors can set-up a free account by visiting the CHNC website at coloradohistoricnewspapers.org

State funds administered by the Colorado State Library provide ongoing support for maintaining and providing access to the CHNC. The site periodically adds more newspapers to its growing collection whenever local community funding emerges to pay the costs of digitization.

A case in point is the initiative sponsored by the Cedaredge-based Surface Creek Valley Historical Society (SCVHS). Two years ago, the group began raising money to digitize the pages of The Surface Creek Champion newspaper. The Champion was published by Clyde W. Brewer from 1904-43. In February 2019, the SCVHS launched its digitization campaign by dedicating its “pioneer award” to the memory of Clyde and Alpha Brewer and presenting the award itself to the publisher’s descendants.

As a result of SCVHS fund-raising efforts and additional support from the Colorado State Library and the CHNC, every page of The Surface Creek Champion has been digitized. Interested individuals can access the online collection, search for topics of interest and download an entire issue of The Champion or digitally clip a single article.

Though the digitization project is complete, the society still welcomes contributions to continue its work of preserving local history. Checks made out to the Surface Creek Valley Historical Society can be mailed to P.O. Box 906, Cedaredge, CO 81413. For further information call 970-856-7554 or email scvhistsoc@gmail.com.

New members and volunteers are always welcome at the Surface Creek Valley Historical Society and Pioneer Town, the society’s historic village located in Cedaredge. Joining the SCVHS is a great way to support the non-profit organization. Annual membership rates are: $30 for an individual; $40 for a family; $50 for a contributing membership; and $100 for a sustaining membership. Businesses may join for an annual fee of $50 and a $1,000 contributor will receive a life membership. To download membership and volunteer forms visit the Pioneer Town website at pioneertown.org.

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