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The Sioux Falls Argus and Sioux Falls Leader were born in the boom days of the 1880s, when Sioux Falls was young and saloons outnumbered churches 32 to 14, and the city's 20 gambling establishments served 10,000 citizens.

The first issue of the Sioux Falls Argus was published Aug. 2, 1881. The editors, W.A. Fulmer and Hibbard Patterson, were from Iowa and planned to take the paper to Gunnison, Colo., in hope of curing Fulmer's consumption. Fighting in the West kept them in Sioux Falls. Fulmer arrived on a November Saturday and died the following Monday, the "History of Minnehaha County" reports.

The Argus and the Leader combined forces in April 1887, and Joseph Tomlinson Jr. and Charles M. Day bought the company in 1888. "Although biased to a fault, Tomlinson and Day exercised leadership and good business judgment and when the century turned, the Argus-Leader was Sioux Falls' leading newspaper," writes Wayne Fanebust in "Where the Sioux River Bends." Day remained editor until 1945.

The Argus Leader was considered the leading Democratic newspaper in the state until the summer of 1896, when the Democrats adopted the doctrine of free coinage of silver. The next election, the newspaper endorsed Republican William McKinley for president.

Speidel Newspapers Inc. bought the Argus-Leader in 1963. Gannett purchased it in July 1977. The Argus Leader remains the largest newspaper in South Dakota.

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