The daily newspaper's origins date back to Robert B. Ogden and his brother, John, both of Ohio. When Iowa became a state in 1846, John Ogden suggested they migrate to Iowa and establish a new business. A friend suggested that they open a business in Keosauqua.
On his way to Keosauqua, Robert Ogden saw the steamboat "Lucy Bertram" bound for Keokuk. He had never heard of Keokuk, and the officers on the boat recommended Ogden settle in Keokuk rather than Keosauqua. When discussing his options of settling in Keosauqua or Keokuk with an elderly passenger, Robert Ogden was advised to go directly to Keosauqua. The passenger described Keokuk as "the wickedest place in the United States." Robert Ogden, however, decided to settle in Keokuk, but his first impressions of the city left something to be desired.
"On reaching the Gate City of Iowa, I had a backset on my first view of Rat Row--the entire front of Water Street--and no doubt others have had the same experience," he wrote in his biography.
Later, during a trip with a group of legislators from Burlington, Ogden became convinced that his future was definitely in Keokuk.
After arriving in Keokuk, Ogden had to wait for the ice on the Mississippi River to break before he could take a steamboat to Cincinnati, Ohio to buy type. Eventually, he reached St. Louis, Missouri, took a boat to Cincinnati and spent a week buying the type from the Cincinnati Type Foundry. There, he named the paper "The Keokuk Register."
On May 26, 1847, the first issue of the Keokuk Register, the predecessor of the Daily Gate City, was published. The Keokuk Register was sold in 1849 to James B. Howell, owner of the Des Moines Valley Whig. The Ogdens' decision to sell the Register was based on two factors: the opening of a post office in Keokuk and the arrival of competition in 1848 - the Keokuk Weekly Dispatch, which was first published on May 20, 1848.
On March 3, 1854, the first issue of the daily paper bearing the new name, Keokuk Daily Whig, was published. The Keokuk Daily Whig's name changed to the Keokuk Daily Gate City on March 3, 1855.
The newspaper was incorporated for $75,000 on April 1, 1892, and the corporation took over publishing the paper with Sam Clark continuing as editor.
The Daily Gate City and Constitution Democrat were consolidated in 1916 with C.F. Shirvin and Charles Warwick holding stock.
S.E. Carrell assumed controlling interest of the Daily Gate City in 1925, becoming president and general manager. Dale Carrell succeeded his father in 1927.
Richard Hoerner bought the paper from the Carrell family in the mid-to-late 60s. McGiffin Newspapers (now known as Brehm Communications) bought the Daily Gate City from Hoerner in 1982.
A remodeling project at the newspaper's 1016 Main location was completed in 1997, with the Daily Gate City also taking on a whole new look as a redesign was implemented, with a new flag, daily process color and new headline type styles.