Hawkes Fits An Institution Built On Knowledge

George W. Hawkes

George W. Hawkes 

How fitting that an Arlington Public Library is named after a man who used words to help grow a city. George W. Hawkes was the longtime publisher of the Arlington Citizen-Journal, the predecessor of the Arlington Star-Telegram and the last newspaper this city could rightfully call its own. He came to Arlington in the mid-40s and bought a struggling weekly called the Arlington Citizen.

Eleven years later, he'd scoop up the competing Arlington Journal and merge the two into the semi-weekly Arlington Citizen-Journal. Over some 30-plus years, he shaped Arlington journalism as a disciplined, well-respected journalist with the best interest of the community at heart.

Former Mayor Tom Vandergriff, whose tenure coincided with Hawkes' newspaper career, once told the Star-Telegram that Hawkes was “as near all things to all people as anyone I've ever known.” And this: “Arlington marks its modern-day time from the point that George Hawkes came to our community.”

Born in 1916 in Weimar, Hawkes is said to have started writing newspaper articles are early as age 12. At 18, he was publisher and editor of the Flatonia Argus in Flatonia. He attended Baylor University before the Great Depression forced him to return to daily journalism. World War II put him in the Army Air Corps.

Hawkes was an active member and deacon of First Baptist Church, the downtown Rotary Club and the Texas Press Association, of which he rose to president.

When Star-Telegram Publisher Amon Carter Jr. bought majority control of the Citizen-Journal, he kept Hawkes and his brother, Charles, also an editor, in charge of the news side.

Hawkes is credited with bringing new life to the Arlington Chamber of Commerce after World War II and was a founding director of Arlington Christmas Samaritans, now Arlington Goodfellows. He's past president of the Arlington YMCA and served on the Arlington Library Board. In 1994, Arlington renamed the Central Library in his honor. Hawkes died in June 2004 at age 87.

Source: Star-Telegram news archives and Central Library files