The oldest member of the Southwest Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, the American Press’ earliest roots can be traced to August of 1893 when Joseph F. Reed created a weekly publication in Lake Charles. He would form a partnership with Guy Beatty the next year, creating Press Publishing Co. In that partnership, Reed oversaw the editorial department of the publication and Beatty handled business management.
Two years later, on Feb. 4, 1895, the Weekly Press became the Daily Press and the organization purchased a new printing press.
“With the exception of the large publishing houses of New Orleans, there is nowhere, in all the state of Louisiana, or the adjacent South, a printing establishment that will compare, in point of costly and efficient equipment, with the plant of the daily and weekly Press,” reads an 1895 article in the Lake Charles Daily Press announcing the purchase.
In 1910, the Daily Press merged with the Daily American, which Beatty was also publishing at the time, to form the Lake Charles Daily American-Press. By 1912, the newspaper shortened its name, removing “Daily” and the hyphen from its masthead.
It was in the midst of World War II that Thomas B. Shearman Sr., on Dec. 21, 1943, purchased the newspaper, four months after Beatty’s death. Shearman, who was a Chicago-based national advertising salesman at the Inland Newspaper Representatives firm, had represented the Lake Charles American Press in national advertising for about 12 years and had formed a friendship with Beatty. Shearman bought the business from Beatty’s heirs for $300,000.
“Every effort will be made to keep the American Press close to the people of Southwest Louisiana and a paper that will stand firmly for every sound improvement in the area,” Shearman said in a 1943 announcement in the newspaper.
Nearly 55 years after Shearman purchased the paper, the organization shortened its name once more to the American Press.
In 1990, the newspaper relocated its headquarters to its current location at 4900 U.S. 90 East. In 2016, the newspaper purchased a new printing press, which became operational in the fall of 2017.
In 2021, the Shearman family sold the publication to Boone Newspapers Inc.
Lake Charles is the fifth-largest city in Louisiana Founded in 1861 in Calcasieu Parish it is a major industrial, cultural, and educational center in the southwest of the state. Lake Charles’s population is 74,300. It is considered a regionally significant center of petrochemical refining, gambling, tourism, and education, being home to McNeese State University and Sowela Technical College. Because of the lakes and waterways throughout the city, metropolitan Lake Charles is often called the Lake Area.
Lake Charles is about 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, and is located on the banks of the Calcasieu River.
Lake Charles is the principal city of the Lake Charles MSA which has a population of 202,040.
Lake Charles has a strong Creole and Cajun culture because of its location in Southwest Louisiana.
The city has its own symphony orchestra, the Lake Charles Symphony.
Lake Charles is home to a number of museums and art galleries. The largest, the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, features a permanent historical exhibit with artifacts and an art gallery.