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Contact Us - Our History

Old Town
Lady on street

Burlington, Iowa, was founded in 1833, shortly after the Blackhawk Purchase opened the area for settlement. John B. Gray, the first American to purchase a lot in the settlement, named it for his former home, Burlington, Vermont. Prior to this, the area was neutral territory for the Sac and Fox Indians, who called it "Shoquoquon" (Shok-ko-kon), meaning Flint Hills. From 1838 to 1840, Burlington was the first capital of the Iowa Territory.

July 10, 1837 paper

Burlington's first newspaper, The Wisconsin Territorial Gazette and Burlington Advertiser, was established four years later on July 10, 1837, under the direction of James Clarke, publisher, and Cyrus Jacobs. Jacobs was later killed in a duel with local attorney David Rorer. Clarke became mayor of Burlington and was appointed the last governor of the Iowa Territory. After his stint as governor, he returned to run the Gazette and was elected the first president of the Burlington School Board. He died at age 38 in a local cholera epidemic on July 28, 1850. Rorer was one of his pall bearers.

A second newspaper, the Iowa Patriot, was established in Burlington in 1838. Shortly thereafter, at Rorer's suggestion, publisher James G. Edwards changed the Patriot's name to The Hawk-Eye and Iowa Patriot in tribute to his friend Chief Black Hawk. Nearly a century later, O.N. Custer of Galesburg purchased and merged the two newspapers and renamed the publication The Hawk-Eye Gazette.

Man leaning against a pole

In 1941, brothers Jack and Sidney Harris of Kansas purchased The Hawk-Eye Gazette and named C.W. Moody editor-publisher. In 1957, Mr. Moody retired and was succeeded by Stuart Awbrey, editor, and John Bishop, general manager.

Weekend publication changed from Saturday to Sunday in 1959. The name, Hawk-Eye Gazette, was shortened to The Hawk-Eye on May 7, 1960, when the first issue was printed in the new building -- a converted automobile dealership and bus garage. Approximately $650,000 was invested in the building and a new press.

Men on street

In 1965, Stuart Awbrey was succeeded as editor by John McCormally. McCormally also shared co-publisher duties with Bishop. Three years later, Bishop retired and McCormally became editor-publisher.

Conversion to offset printing occurred in 1972 at a cost of $800,000. The hyphen was dropped from The Hawk Eye at that time.

Horses on street and sidewalk

In 1979, Awbrey returned to The Hawk Eye as editor-publisher and McCormally became a national correspondent for the Harris News Service. Six years later, Awbrey retired and was replaced by Bill Mertens. After beginning his career as a reporter at The Hawk Eye in 1970, Mertens worked at other Harris Group newspapers prior to assuming editor-publisher responsibilities in 1985.

The Hawk Eye converted from an afternoon to a morning publication November 1, 1993.

In 1997, The Hawk Eye expanded its presence to the world wide web. Today, the Internet branch of the newspaper responds to its viewers daily with local stories, photos, advertisements and classified listings. The site is updated by 6 a.m. daily through a series of automated processes developed in-house by The Hawk Eye Systems Department and New Media Department. We hope that you will find our web site informative as well as entertaining.

Steve Delaney, a former reporter and business editor for The Hawk Eye, assumed the editor-publisher position in 2004. Prior to his return to The Hawk Eye, he was the editor-publisher of another Harris Group newspaper, The Garden City Telegram in Kansas.

Please feel free to contact us with any ideas or questions you may have about our paper!

The Hawk Eye
PO Box 10, 800 S. Main St.
Burlington, Iowa 52601
319-754-8461 • 1-800-397-1708 • FAX: 319-754-6824
Circulation: 319-754-8462 • Classified: 319-754-8463
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