A cartoon about the Dempsey vs. Willard fight that ran on the front page of the Lewiston Evening Journal on July 5, 1919.

Before radio or television arrived in Lewiston, sports fans occasionally gathered in front of the Lewiston Evening Journal’s office on Park Street to follow the news as it arrived on the newspaper’s teletype machine from the Associated Press.

Take, for instance, the July 4, 1919, boxing bout in Toledo, Ohio, in which Jack Dempsey pounded champion Jess Willard for three rounds to snatch the title of heavyweight champion of the world.

“Park Street was jammed to the point where it was necessary to give a megaphone service along with the story as written” on a bulletin board at the office, the Journal reported the next day.

The Lewiston newspaper office in the 1920s on Park Street. Lewiston Daily Sun

Spectators arrived as early as 3 p.m. to start receiving updates as the fight approached.

The paper posted the scores of baseball games as everyone waited for the main event, including updates every inning of a game between Lewiston and Portland.

“Sidelights at the ringside, the news of the preliminaries and the temperature at ringside, which seemed to interest the fans, was given and then the story of the big fight,” the Journal said under the headline “Biggest Crowd Sees Fight At Lewiston Journal Board.”


The fight itself lasted only nine minutes as Willard fell victim to what the paper called a “terrific fistic bombardment” by Dempsey.

The crowd followed each round closely – and stuck around for two hours after Willard fell to hear all the details.

It was typical of the era.

For the World Series in 1912 and 1913, fans “realized that the Journal bulletin board was the place to get the quickest, most accurate and tersely stated facts of the game,” as the paper put it.

Some people opted for another method.

During the 1914 World Series, the paper got 955 phone calls asking for the score of one key game.

The telephone operator at the Journal proclaimed herself tired afterward, but insisted she’d had fun.

That same day, though, the crowds at the bulletin board outside the Lewiston Daily Sun were so large they held up “the automobiles or horsemobiles” trying to pass on Park Street.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.