Established on Oct. 14, 1901, with $5,000 of oil money, the Houston Chronicle is the brainchild of former Houston Post editor Marcellus E. Foster. In its 114-year history, the Chronicle has been bankrolled by city father Jesse Jones, while his nephew John T. Jones served as editor-in-chief. Distinguished publishers include J. Howard Creekmore, from 1965 to 1987, and Richard J.V. Johnson of the Hearst Corporation, which bought the paper in 1987.
When Marcellus E. Foster struck it rich, his mission in life became to run his own newspaper. With the help of friends and $25,000, he founded the upstart Houston Chronicle to compete with the Houston Post, already in publication for over a decade. By the end of its first month of publication, the fledgling paper, which sold for 2 cents while its competitors cost a nickel, had a circulation of 4,378.
As the Chronicle outgrew its original headquarters on Texas Avenue, Foster began courting influential businessman Jesse Jones for financial support, promising him 50-percent ownership in exchange for building the paper a 10-story office complex. Eventually the Chronicle building took up the entire city block before the paper moved all operations out of downtown to the former Houston Post building in 2014 to 2015.
In 1926 Jones bought the paper outright, and after his death it became part of the Jones’ family’s Houston Endowment until its sale to the Hearst Corporation in 1987 for $415 million. Under publisher J. Howard Creekmore, the Chronicle set a Texas newspaper circulation record in 1986 and became Houston’s only major daily paper after the demise of the Houston Post two years later.