April 23, 2020
Editor’s Notebook 4/23/20
These are challenging times for most everybody including those of us working for this newspaper. Ours is a people business. We are accustomed to advertising for and reporting on local happenings. These days not much is happening locally. Most people are staying home and only going out when absolutely necessary.
In the past, if we didn’t have stories about people for this newspaper, we went out looking. On a nice afternoon, we might drive to a nearby community to visit with people we found out and about there. We usually returned home with a story or two and several pictures. And we have maintained a list of people willing to help us illustrate stories. For example, after I commented about the rainy day river that flowed past Ideal Market before a storm sewer was added, a Superior resident volunteered to help us illustrate the depth of the water by standing in the gutter while wearing her high heeled shoes. And I recall the name of the person who offered to help us illustrate a Republican River story should the right circumstances develop.
But now, when people are encouraged to stay home and away from people, we are reluctant to send reporters out to make contact with them.
As a result, we are looking through our files for previously printed stories we think our readers might enjoy seeing again.
This week I found an article about the history of Superior newspapers Howard Crilly wrote 70 years ago.
` I thought it timely for it was 50 years ago this week that he announced his retirement and the sale of this newspaper. Unlike this editor, who has been associated with only one newspaper, Howard operated newspapers in other communities before coming to Superior. He got his start at Campbell after completing his WW I military service. He was riding a Burlington passenger train home to Riverton when he learned the Campbell newspaper was for sale. In addition to the Campbell Citizen, he owned newspapers in Bird City, McCook, Wilber and Superior.
We think the newspaper business is changing today but it also made many changes in his years. For example, when he published a daily newspaper at McCook, all of the type was set one letter at a time by hand. Not only did each letter have to be picked out of a drawer and placed into a form, it had to be returned to the drawer after the paper was printed. From handset type, he saw the widespread use of mechanical typesetting machines and finally the introduction of phototypesetting computers and offset printing. Those phototypesetting computers which the manufacturers’ representatives predicted would serve for more than 50 years were phased out within 20 years. The first one installed in Superior is now on display in the Nuckolls County Museum along side a mechanical typesetting machine known as the Linotype.
It was announced I would replace Howard Crilly as The Express editor on my 24th birthday. Though I had a lot to learn about the newspaper business, I embraced the changes and was excited to have an opportunity to do things the new way.
Newspapers are now struggling to adopt new methods and The Express probably needs another 24-year-old to come along and lead the way.
But rather than speculate about the future, today I want to share information about the past. Howard Crilly’s history of Superior newspapers with a few updates follows:
The first Superior newspaper was founded by the man who founded Superior, and in the same year. William Louden, with a partner. C. W. Springer, started the Superior Enterprise in 1875. Neither were practical newspapermen and they hired a printer, Joseph Feree. They could hardly have expected the Enterprise to be a paying venture, published in a town with practically no population and a sparsely settled surrounding territory. No doubt they started the newspaper to help put the town on the map. The Enterprise folded in less than a year after it started. (In 1950 it was said several copies were still in the possession of Superior residents. The Enterprise was printed on a much finer grade of newsprint than can be bought today. The old paper was still perfectly legible in 1950 and in splendid condition. If that is still true, hopefully I will someday have the opportunity to see one of the early issues.
Superior’s next newspaper, The Guide, was founded in April, 1879, by J. H. Todd and J. H. Graves. In 1880, J. W. Moore established the Southwestern Chronicle in Superior. The paper was published for less than a year.
The Superior Journal appeared on the scene in 1882, published by a Mr. Cadwalder, who continued its publication until 1884. He was succeeded by John Vedder, who edited the paper until the summer of 1885 when he turned it over to N. C. Pickard and W. F. Buck. Mr. Buck (the community’s first school superintendent and an attorney) disposed of his interest to E. F. Heitman, who remained in partnership with Mr. Pickard for a short time, when he retired, leaving the latter in full charge.
The Journal was sold by Mr. Packard to John Danile Stine in 1888. Mr. Stine published it until his death in 1903. His son, Clarence, assumed the management and continued its publication before selling it to Frank Stubbs, a Superior attorney. A.S. Berry owned and published the Journal from 1905 until his death in 1934 with the exception of the two years he and Mrs. Berry lived on a homestead.
Randall Ford bought the Journal from the Berry estate, owned it for less than a year, and sold it to Ben Mitchell. In August of 1936, the Journal was sold to the Express Printing Company. The Superior Express and the Journal were published for a time in the same plant with W. C. Templeton as editor of the Journal.
The Superior Express was established in January of 1900 by C. E. Dedrick. In March of 1926, Mr. Dedrick leased The Express to Doane Kiechel who was publisher until it was sold to W. W. Driggs in September of 1931. Kiechel went on to serve as Nuckolls County judge and is considered by many to be the father of the Nebraska civil defense system. The system he organized has evolved into what is now known as emergency management offices.
Howard Crilly bought this paper on June 1, 1936, and continued as its publisher until selling it to Telescope, Inc. on May 1, 1970. The new owners made an alliance with me and we formed Superior Publishing Company. They have since either died or gone on to other business ventures.
Superior has had two other newspapers in addition to those previously named, the Superior Times and the Superior Sun. The Times was established March 2, 1890, by the Dunlop Brothers and was a well edited, neatly printed newspaper but was short lived because of the hard times that came along shortly after it was established. The Sun was printed for several years prior to the turn of the century. Its subscription list was taken over by The Express shortly after the establishment of The Express. The Sun was edited by Charles Bishop.
The Superior Journal and The Superior Express were both published as daily newspapers for a number of years before returning to a weekly schedule during a World War I newsprint shortage.
A weekly farm newspaper with a peak circulation in excess of 23,000 copies was a joint venture of The Belleville Telescope and The Superior Express and published in Superior from 1972 until 1986 when it was consolidated at Belleville. It has since ceased publication.
Superior also had a magazine with nationwide circulation. Published by Lewis Brodstone, The Philatelic West was devoted to the interests of stamp collectors. It was later consolidated with Collector’s World.
A newsletter serving rural singles has been published at Superior since 1986.