Columbus has had a long history of local newspapers dating back to the early 1850s.
Fred Stare, a local businessman and one of the founders of the Columbus Canning Company, wrote a series of articles called “The Story of Columbus” that appeared weekly in the “Columbus Journal Republican” from 1951 to 1963, which are bound in four volumes for a total of 821 pages.
Stare reports on finding a copy of a newspaper called the “Columbia Reporter” that was the first newspaper published in Columbus that started in June of 1853.
Newspapers of that time were much different than the newspaper of today. Quoting Stare, “the first page consisted of extracts from other papers and magazines, and no local news items.” The entire back page of the newspapers included local advertisements. The paper was composed one letter at a time using metal letters.
The Columbus Journal donated the table including type that was used to print the newspaper to the Columbus Area Historical Society along with bound copies of past newspapers. The item is on display at the museum.
The longest lasting local newspaper was the Columbus Journal that began in 1855 and continued to today’s last issue for a span of 165 years. The newspaper had different names over the years including the “Columbus Journal, Columbus Republican, and Columbus Journal Republican.” This paper had been preserved and is available on microfilm at the Columbus Public Library.
During the Civil War, competing newspapers included the short lived Columbus Weekly Journal and the Union Banner. In 1864-1865 a paper known as the Columbus Transcript appeared. That newspaper became the Columbus Democrat.
Newspapers of that era were highly partisan with the editors of each competing paper criticizing each other. The “Columbus Journal” was identified as the Republican paper and the “Columbus Democrat” which was published from 1868-1937 was the Democratic paper.
While the Columbus Journal will no longer be published, the Daily Citizen will continue to provide news coverage of the community. And the Columbus history article, senior center notes and other local information will be available at wiscnews.com and in the Shopping Reminder.
News releases can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow the Columbus Historial Society on Facebook page: Columbus, WI Area Historical Society or email at email@example.com. The Museum, 116 W. James St., is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of the month or by appointment.
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