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The History of the Baytown Sun

Baytown's only daily newspaper became known as The Baytown Sun on Aug. 17, 1949, the year after the consolidation of the three communities of Goose Creek, Pelly and Baytown into one city, according to Baytown historian Buck Young.

In 1950, Carmage Walls bought The Sun from Robert Matherne and promoted editor Fred Hartman to publisher.

The Sun was Walls's first newspaper in Texas, the foundation of the group now known as Southern Newspapers, Inc. SNI owns community newspapers in Texas, Alabama and Georgia. It is a private company owned by Carmage Walls's widow, Martha Ann Walls, and their daughter, Lissa Walls Vahldiek.

Baytown's first newspaper was The Goose Creek Gasser, founded in 1919 by Frank Boyer. In 1924, it was sold to three men who changed the name to the Goose Creek Tribune, a twice-weekly publication. By 1928, it became a daily.

The Tribune also started a weekly in Baytown, the News-Herald. Meanwhile, in Pelly, a former Tribune employee, Joe Noland, began the Telegram, and C. R. Myers, a perpetual political candidate, published the Democrat.

With the Great Depression, few business owners in a single small area could advertise in three newspapers, and all but the Democrat merged as the Peoples

Printing Company, and in 1931, the first Tri-Cities Sun was published. In the late 30s, the newspaper's name to The Daily Sun, and in 1949, to The Baytown Sun.

"I still hear old timers in Baytown calling it The Daily Sun," Young said. "Sometimes I call it that myself. Usually, I say 'I'm going to The Sun office.'"

Young says the same die-hard feeling Baytonians have held about The Baytown Sun, they also have held about their communities. "People were not residents of just Baytown for so many years," Young says.

"They were residents of Pelly, or residents of Goose Creek. The school district and the country club still call themselves Goose Creek. The actor, Gary Busey, still tells people he was born and raised in Goose Creek."

Young says the consolidation of the three communities into one city was a massive undertaking which took electing a mayor and council for the new city. Some 70 streets changed their names due to the consolidation.

"It doesn't surprise me at all that The Daily Sun waited as long as it did to change its name to The Baytown Sun," Young said. "I'm thinking it was what the newspaper publisher had in mind was to get people oriented to the name Baytown as their city's name."

In October of 2009, The Baytown Sun began publishing Tuesday through Friday & Sunday.

Since Fred Hartman, The Baytown Sun has operated under six publishers: Leon Brown, Gary Dobbs, Wanda Garner Cash, Cliff Clements, Janie Gray and Carol Skewes who took over in March 2018.

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