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Growing Pains and A Tribute

On the 20th of September, 1836, the Republican became a daily paper, with six issues a week. In 1837 the Republican advertised for a city editor and began to run regularly a local department, distinct from editorial expressions. That was an innovation. One of the first things the local editor did was to publish an elaborate account of the races which were going on at the St. Louis track. In September, 1848, the Republican startled the conservative elements of the city by publishing a Sunday paper. A protest was promptly circulated for signatures. It expressed regret “that a journal of such deservedly high standing should lend its influence, not by arguments but by something far more powerful, its example, against the proper keeping of that holy day.” The editors replied courteously, expressing their appreciation of the interest taken by the subscribers of the protest, but declined to recede from the publication of a Sunday issue.
In 1840 the Republican supported Old Tippecanoe – William Henry Harrison. It did so with such effectiveness and zeal that in the midst of that hard cider campaign an emblem, a symbol as it were, was bestowed upon the paper by the admiring Whigs. The Republican was called “the Old Coon.” The name was accepted promptly. The emblem, a metallic figure of a coon couchant, was hoisted high above the building. Perched over the smoke stack the coon was visible from all parts of the city. Thirty years afterward people coming up from the boats and the ferry landings – for there was no bridge at the time – saw still on duty above the Republican building, the coon couchant. The emblem survived two disastrous fires. When the paper was moved to Third and Chestnut streets, occupying a new building which ranked with the imposing architecture of the city in its day, the coon found a place in the iron arch of the main entrance. The figure was also carried above the building.
(From St. Louis, the Fourth City by Walter Barlow Stevens, 1911)