Happy birthday to us

SANDUSKY Not many businesses can claim nearly two centuries of service. But what you're looking at can
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Not many businesses can claim nearly two centuries of service.

But what you're looking at can.

This year marks the Sandusky Register's 185th anniversary as the area's local newspaper.

"That's a significant number," said circulation director Bill Ney. "There are a lot of businesses that can't lay claim to that kind of staying power. We provide something (readers) can't get anywhere else."

Sandusky Newspapers Inc., publisher of the Register, can be traced back to 1822.

Originally known as the Sandusky Clarion, the paper was made up mostly of short fiction stories, political editorials and a scattering of advertisements. It was published in a building at the corner of Columbus Avenue and East Water St.

David K. Campbell, the first editor, introduced the paper's first issue on April 24, 1822. It would be the country's sixth newspaper west of Buffalo, N.Y., the first in Erie County and all of Firelands and the direct forerunner of the Sandusky Register.

The Clarion became a daily newspaper 26 years after that first issue published, reporting telegraph news and bank note lists. It cost $5 yearly and the publisher still accepted goods, including produce, in barter for subscriptions.

After Campbell's retirement in 1851, the newspaper office burned down taking with it nearly all of its files.

But with death comes rebirth.

The Daily Register was established and edited by Earl Bill and Clark Waggoner. It became a paper of Republican affiliation in 1856.

H.D. Cooke & Co. took control in 1859 and it was renamed the Commercial Register, which published daily, tri-weekly and weekly editions in a stone building on the north side of Water Street.

The nameplate Sandusky Register first appeared in 1869 after Isaac Foster Mack purchased half-ownership of the publication. In 1882, the Register printed its first Sunday Sandusky newspaper.

The Register had competition though.

In 1866, Addison Kinney and Frank Colver started the Sandusky Journal. In 1882, the Sandusky Local appeared with Ernest King Jr. as publisher. The two papers joined forces in 1887 as the Sandusky Daily Journal and Local, which supported Democratic Party principles. Another Democratic paper, the Sandusky Star, debuted in 1889. In 1902, the two papers combined into one evening publication, The Star-Journal publisher was the Alvord Peters' Co., headed by F.E. Alvord and A.F. Peters.

During this time, citizens had two choices for local news: the Mack's Register or the evening Star-Journal.

In 1929, the Mack family purchased the Sandusky Star-Journal. The Register made a move to the corner of Jackson and Market Street -- the paper's present location today.

For Managing Editor Matt Westerhold, the Register is not only a business where he now works, but a business that's always been a part of his life.

Westerhold's career at the paper began long before he came on board as managing editor in October. It began in the neighborhoods of Monroe, Clinton and Madison streets, and the old Franketti's restaurant, where he slung newspapers every day after school as an 11-year-old paperboy.

"It represented a first step toward independence," said Westerhold, about his first full-time gig. Up until his delivery route, Westerhold's only means of money was cutting grass. With his new job, Westerhold was able to invest in Matchbox cars, Hot Wheels and candy bars from Miller's Drug Store.

Then, in 1994, Westerhold joined the Register's staff as a full-time reporter. He left for an opportunity at another newspaper in 1998, but eventually found his way back home.

The newspaper has recently revamped its Web site, introduced new products and has a number of other projects in the works, including a new weekly schools page for both the Web and print versions of the Register.

"We're really excited about that right now," Westerhold said. "We just want to build on past successes and move forward with new products and services."

Although much has changed with newspapers over the past 200 years, there is still a lot that remains the same.

Ney, the circulation director, said every day begins with a blank page. With the help of reporters, photographers, editors, press and paper carriers, a newspaper is created. Once it is delivered to a reader's doorstep, the process begins all over again -- with new and different challenges.

Publisher Doug Phares, who came on board two years ago, is excited to celebrate 185 years of community-oriented reporting.

"We have put a renewed effort using all available resources to reach out and connect with our average readers," Phares said.

There are a number of public events planned to commemorate the 185th anniversary, which will be announced in the coming weeks.