When The Palm Beach Post debuted as a morning daily 100 years ago, letters of praise poured in, including one from the Tallahassee Democrat: “It is a real up-to-date sheet in a live community.”
Other letters called The Post “a wide-awake daily” and “one of the brightest in the land.”
Lively, wide-awake and bright — some things haven’t changed in Palm Beach County or at The Post.
The best description of the early Post came from the owner of the paper himself, Joe L. Earman, a colorful man who served up jokes — called “Post Roasties” — alongside local news and dispatches from around the world.
Earman printed a “service agreement” to readers in November 1916:
“The Palm Beach Post is an institution that really ‘Belongs’ … loyally supported by Palm Beach County people … pledged to the best interests of county and city … ready to join hands with all who, like The Post, have their ‘all’ invested in Palm Beach county and are striving to make this the banner county of the United States.”
He promised that the Post would be “an uncompromising foe of all knockers, domestic and imported,” and it would provide “continuous service at the command of readers and advertisers alike.”
Earman’s audience was tiny, but powerful — a mix of rich socialites, business titans and scrappy pioneers.
Just 13,000 people lived in Palm Beach County in 1916, and the roads were so sandy it could take hours to drive from the island of Palm Beach to Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach.
Getting the news out required hot type and lead slugs, plenty of attitude but never “bad temperament.”
Joe ruled with a singular authority.
When the stretch of A1A opened in Gulf Stream in 1916, he declared that “every automobile in Palm Beach County is expected to assemble on Royal Palm Way in Royal Park, Palm Beach, this afternoon at 2:30 o’clock to take part in the official opening of the Gulf Stream Boulevard. Forget everything else, but don’t forget this.”
He’d be shocked at how big the county has become — and how fast news travels.
Today, the weekly audience for The Post is almost 593,000. Nearly half of Palm Beach County’s adults read The Post. And we have 941,210 Facebook followers.
Our tools have changed over the decades, but our mission remains the same as it was in 1916:
Be the best and most complete source of local news in Palm Beach County.
Like Joe, we have our “all” invested in our community and to the service of our readers and advertisers.
We celebrate this milestone because of you.
From me and from the thousands of men and women who have reported your news, helped advertise and grow your businesses, set your type, written your headlines and printed your papers, delivered The Palm Beach Post to your doorstep, your desktop and your phones … we thank you.
Thank you for trusting us to tell your stories.
Thank you for letting us serve this banner county.
You are the reason we “belong” and the reason we will thrive into our second century.