Frank Doherty, newspaperman, elected official of new county of Clark County and Las Vegas silent motion picture operator, in 1914 published one Las Vegas Post
Frank Augestus Doherty published a single, but historic post card during his public service. The 1914 image is of place where he wanted to continue work, a new Clark County, Nevada court house.
Doherty, who had spent most of his life up to that time in the newspaper business, was hired as Clark County’s first Deputy County Recorder in 1909.
His job was to set up the office for the appointed Court Record and Auditor. Finishing his work in two months, Doherty returned to his home in Searchlight. Several months later he was brought back to Las Vegas, to help run the office. [i]
And, several more months elapsed and following the resignation of the first County Recorder and Auditor, Doherty was appointed by county commission to fill out the rest of the term.[ii]
Doherty was born in Providence, Rhode Island July 10, 1873. He moved to Flagstaff, Arizona in 1898. [iii] Then on to newspaper work in San Francisco, California and then in 1902 he moved to Searchlight, Nevada. There he started the Searchlight Bulletin newspaper, with H. A. Perkins. [iv]
Doherty Campaign Photograph
With his appointed term running out, as well as the term of all the existing county officials who were appointed by the governor, when the county was created in 1909, Doherty put his name up for election in 1910. He won.
Doherty sought and won reelection in 1912. That same year, Doherty, then 38 years old, married Florence Squires, the 22-year-old daughter of Las Vegas newspaper publisher Charles Squires.
In addition to running the office of Clark County recorder and Auditor, Doherty went to work for his wife’s father.
In addition to running the Las Vegas Age newspaper, in April of 1912 the Squires family opened the Majestic Theatre. It was the first theatre in Las Vegas built to show silent films.
While Clark County became a full-fledged county in July of 1909, it ‘s first court house, built that same year was “tiny” as described by historian Ronald M. James in his book “County Court Houses of Nevada.”
Funds were allocated, a designed approved, and work began. On December 7, 1914 Clark County had its own courthouse.
The design came from well-known Nevada architect Frederick J. DeLongchamps. This was DeLongchamps third court house.
James says DeLongchamps “departed from his previous conservative adaptations of Neo-Classical motifs. For Nevada’s only county seat with a Spanish name, he appropriately designed a court house that anticipated Spanish Colonial architecture.”[v]
In addition earlier in 1914 Doherty decided to move up and run for Clark County Treasurer.
Doherty publishes post card
As the building was being constructed, and while Doherty was still County Recorded, he published a post card of the court house. For the image, he used a color rendering of the southwest corner of DeLonghamps design. The artist added a green lawn and full grown trees behind the building.
Along the bottom edge of the face of the white-bordered post card, the title, printed in red, starting at the left side is, “CLARK COUNTY COURT HOUSE, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA PUBLISHED BY FRANK A. DOHERTY”.
While the printer is not known, based on the quality paper and printing, the card was not produced locally.
Additionally, based on the back, the font style, and the stamp box, it is likely the card was printed by the Kropp Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Doherty lost the election in November of 1914 and never returned to political life. He continued to work at the motion picture theatre with the Squires family.
His court house post cards had a second life. Doherty sold the cards, with the purchasers business printed on the back.
Likely the second round of printing was done at the offices of his father-in-law.
The new printing also reflected the 1914 successful efforts to make Las Vegas part of the “All The Year Auto Route” between southern California and Salt Lake City, Utah.
As the Squires family was getting out of the moving picture business Doherty returned to a familiar field, journalism.
He and his wife decided to open the first newspaper in the community of Goodsprings. The first issue of the Goodsprings Gazette was dated May 20, 1916. [vi]
Nine months later, Doherty died in his sleep. [vii] He is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Las Vegas.
His wife Florence continued to operate the newspaper. In 1920 she ran for and was elected to the office of Clark County Clerk. She was reelected in 1922.
Doherty Mountain, at the north edge of Searchlight was named in honor of Doherty. [viii] And along with honor goes the title of the first printed post card of Clark County’s first Court house.
In 1967, the 1914 Clark County Court House was torn down.
[i] “Local Notes, February 19, 1910, Las Vegas Age, Page five.
[ii] “New Official,” June 11, 1910, Las Vegas Age, page one
[iii] “County Ticket,” October 29, 1910, Las Vegas Age, page two.
[iv] “County Ticket,” October 29, 1910, Las Vegas Age, page two.
[v] “Temples of Justice, County Courthouses of Nevada,” by Ronald M. James, 1994, University of Nevada Press, Reno, pages 44-45.
[vi] “The Newspapers of Nevada,” Lingenfelter & Gash, .1084 University of Nevada Press, Reno, page 110.
[vii] “Died,” February 24, 1917, Las Vegas Age, Page one
[viii] “Nevada Place Names, 1974, Helen Carlson, University of Nevada Press, Reno, page 99.