August 4, 1995
Saturday will mark the 60th anniversary of a most noteworthy event in the life of this newspaper. It also is of significance to the entire community because it is a recognizable transitional landmark on the maturing of Perry.
On August 5, 1935, The Perry Daily Journal published its first edition from a spacious new location at 710-712 Delaware street, which of course has been its home ever since. The move covered a distance of only a half block but it required a monumental effort to transport heavy printing equipment from its former location on Seventh street in a portion of the area , now occupied by the First Bank & Trust Co.
Because this is such a momentous event, it's going to take more than one column to report on it fully. More will follow shortly, so please stay tuned.
In saying farewell to the old location, where The Journal and its predecessors had been doing business for more than three decades, Sam Schwieger, managing editor of The Journal at the time, wrote this in his column, "Semi-Serious":
"For the last time I tilt back my chair and hammer out a column from this particular location of an office which has housed newspaper publications in Perry for the past 35 years. This old corner has its memories which I regret to leave despite its incubatic heat tendencies in the summer time and the frigid fringe in the winter.
"Editors for 35 years have sweat and shivered in this immediate vicinity in an effort to disseminate the news for the anxious public. Events of great importance have been announced to the world by reporters and editors who labored over a dusty typing machine on this very spot. Less important, news by the yard has been carried day after day and year after year from this cubicle to the machines in the back to be set up in type and run off on the presses.
"Tragic accounts of murders, accidents and sickness which have taken the lives of hundreds of people in Noble county have been assembled in this office. Word has been flashed to the world of hundreds of new lives that have been brought into the world to bring happiness into many homes. Yards and yards of paper have been used here in announcements concerning leaps into the matrimonial swirl, some for better and some for worse.
"The office has seen the growth of Perry from a town of frame houses and business buildings with no sidewalks and only dusty and muddy streets to a modern city of modern buildings, striped with miles of city pavement, beautiful parks, beautiful dwellings and a modern and up-to-date business section. All of this progress has been followed from day to day and heralded to the community and to the world from desks on this very location.
"What an interesting story these walls could tell if they were to speak of the past, as desks, old papers, the smell off ink, typewriters and machinery are removed from within their circle. Enveloping a business for 35 years which is connected more or less closely with every other business, they must hold a wealth of secrets which never reached the printed page. Reams of copy have no doubt been written here that never got out of the front office. Much more information was never permitted to leave the mind of the editor.
"Even in the past three years that chairs within these four walls have creaked beneath my weight a lot has happened. Conditions have changed and many new faces have come and gone in even that short span of time. If laid end to end, copy that has gone through this typewriter would no doubt wrap up a new Ford like red tape encircles all government projects. News which it has been a pleasure to write has gone forth from these keys, and some that wasn't so pleasant.
"Peculiar marks around papers on the walls stand for significant things. Three calendars have come and gone even in my short abode in this northwest corner. Some good thoughts, and some not so good have been inspired by gazing into these blank walls to the front and right. News by the bushel has been weighed in an effort to do justice. Mistakes have been made and a lot of things have been right.
"So I bid adieu to this familiar location. Long shall you linger in my memories. May the next occupant enjoy you as I have. In the meantime, drop around and become acquainted with me in the new place -- really a much better one."
Mr. Schwieger, the author of that valedictory, was one of my boyhood idols and one of the reasons I wanted to get into this business. He now lives in retirement in Arkansas, and he may be the only surviving member of The Journal staff who made that historic move in 1935. More on this story will be appearing tomorrow.