Answers to Go with Susan Smith
Q. When did the San Marcos Daily Record move to the Interstate 35 access road? Where were its offices before that?
A. Let’s go back to the beginning. The San Marcos Record was established in 1912 by George Staples. In 1920, with about four thousand residents, San Marcos supported two newspapers: the Hays County Times and the San Marcos Record.
In April 1921, T.A. Buckner and G.C. Jones purchased the Record from Staples. That same year, Walter Buckner moved here from McAllen, Texas and purchased a small interest in the newspaper. At that time, the Record was located at 214 North Austin Street – now LBJ Drive.
I enjoy referring to the library’s San Marcos-Hays County Collection’s old telephone books. The 1921 telephone directory includes phone numbers with one, two, and three-digits. The Record’s telephone number was 163.
The telephone number for the Samuel Hardware Company on the north side of the square was 1. The San Marcos Telephone Company had three telephone lines: 0, 400, and 401. That brings back good memories of the days when telephone operators were often a great source of local information.
It looks like the Record still had competition. There is a listing for the San Marcos Times in the 1921 telephone book.
In 1925, the publishers purchased their first automatic printing press. By this time, the Record was a Buckner family operation. In 1933, the Record moved to 211 East Hutchison, where it remained for 37 years. That structure was built in 1920 by S.D. Jackman as a Ford dealership.
The Record moved to its building on Interstate 35 South in 1970. That year, the U.S. Census tallied the San Marcos population at 18,680 people. The Record was still a weekly publication; its circulation topped 7,000.
I wondered if the Record had the building built or moved into an existing structure. The 1970 telephone directory indicated their new address as S IH 35 without a specific street number.
I turned to another type of directory in our historic resources collection, the 1972 Polk City Directory. These cross directories can be searched three ways: by name, by address, and by phone number. I found a listing for the Record at 1910 IH 35 South.
Unfortunately, when I turned to the 1968 Polk Directory I found that they listed businesses, but not street numbers for South IH 35 so I still didn’t know if they took over an existing business. I did see a couple of interesting listings: Lowman Airport; quite a few gas stations and petroleum businesses; and, of course, a Dairy Queen.
Fortunately, when this type of local history question comes up, there is usually someone I can consult. I contacted local photographer, Don Anders, who worked at the Record then. His recollection is that the newspaper remodeled and expanded an existing building.
In 1970, the San Marcos Record was named the outstanding large weekly newspaper in Texas. It was presented the General Excellence Award by the Texas Press Association. That year they also received these awards: Best in News Writing, News Photography and News Features.
The article offers a quote from 1970 co-publisher Addison Buckner: “Awards are nice, and we’re grateful to have been recognized, but we’re constantly striving to put out a better paper – the type of paper that our readers want and one that will help our community.”
I’ve lived in San Marcos since 1983 and I believe that the newspaper’s staff would say something very similar today.
Unless otherwise noted, the information for this article came from the October 15, 1970 issue of the San Marcos Record.