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History of The Verdigre Eagle

 

(The first of the following is taken from the Verdigre Centennial book as authored by Ron Dobry.)
The plot of Verdigre was filed July 12, 1887. Our only source for the first year of Verdigre’s existence as a town is a copy of the Verdigre Hornet. It was published by George W. Quimby who had published The Hornet in Creighton. E. A. Fry, the pioneer newspaperman of Knox County, recalled that Quimby had sold the newspaper. It is not known whether Quimby had brought a printing press to Verdigre or whether The Verdigre Hornet was printed at that time in Creighton.

In 1888 the Verdigre Hornet was published by Minnie E. Quimby. By the time of the election the Verdigre Hornet was no longer being published and election results appeared in the Knox County Democrat of Niobrara. (Quimby had started the Verdigre Hornet in July of 1887. He was no longer publishing it in November of 1888 when it was reported that the Hornet had “changed hands again.” It was now owned by a Fred Hamilton of Pierce.) Another publication lists Elmer Bruce as the publisher of the Hornet. George Quimby had taken up the carpenter’s trade.

It is not known just when George W. Quimby sold the Hornet, though perhaps in April. E. A. Fry recalls that he sold the newspaper to a William Chappell who renamed it The Verdigre Democrat, a paper still being published early in 1890.

In 1890 the Verdigre News was still being printed, this time by a man named Chappel, who had become postmaster. It did not continue in existence much longer. On April 4, 1890, E. A. Fry reported in the Pioneer that E. H. Purcell, formerly editor of the Republican in western Nebraska had sold his printing plant out there and was to start the Knox County Recorder from the ruins of the Hornet and the News. The initial number of The Recorder appeared in Verdigre later that month.

E. H. Purcell ended his work as editor and publisher of the Recorder with the issue of December 16, 1897. it was Barrett who replaced him as editor and Fred Quimby as manager. In Feb. 1897 John Berrett and his family moved to Florence and George Quimby evidently became editor.

Quimby was still editor of the Verdigre Recorder on March 9, 1898, but on April 6, 1898, the Niobrara Tribune reported that Quimby had sold the Recorder (which he must have purchased from Purcell at some point) and had moved from the place leaving Verdigre without a newspaper. Not until November of 1899 did Verdigre have a weekly again.
John Barrett, who was publishing the Verdigre Citizen, was a real estate agent.
Reports are contradictory, but it would appear that in 1902 T. A. Tikalsky began to publish the Verdigre Progress. No paper earlier than 1905 has been found, but the volume number on the masthead would indicate that was the case. Tikalsky published the paper in the old Bank of Verdigre building on the northeast corner of Main and Third Avenue.

The Niobrara Tribune reported in February 1906 that “John Barrett, editor of The Citizen, had been arrested through the post office department for libel and is held in the sum of $300 to appear before the federal court. Mr. Barrett is alleged to have said things in his paper which are not true concerning citizens of the community and the suit grew out of bitter personal fights that have been going on. He has waived preliminary hearing.” No further details of this case could be found.

In 1909 the Citizen was under new management, W. G. Squires having bought the paper from John Barrett.
The Citizen was probably the building on Lot 6 of Block 16.
In 1913 Dobry’s writing states: The Citizen’s publisher, Joseph Heins, put up a new building.
Harry Hartson purchased the Citizen from Joseph Heins in 1919.
The Citizen changed hands with the issue of January 25, 1923, when Mrs. Charles Pearce of Winnetoon took possession.

In 1927 Frank J. Pavlik, who with his mother owned the Verdigre Citizen, leased it to Mrs. Charles Pearce. In an editorial he said that he and his wife were leaving Verdigre for a little time only “to gain more experience and new ideas in order that we may be able to conduct this business better in years to come. He enrolled at a lithography school in Davenport, Iowa, and never returned to run the Citizen. Indeed, in July he transferred his rights to all property belonging to the Verdigre Citizen to Victor Brozovsky. Brozovsky hired G. H. Liddell to handle the mechanical department.
In November of 1929 Gilbert H. Liddell agreed to buy the plant, business, and good will of the Citizen from Victor Brozovsky.

1931: The end of an era in the newspaper business came in February. Victor Brozovsky, from whom Gilbert Liddell had been renting the Citizen’s plant and equipment, had for a year been going from town to town with his family working at various jobs. He came back to Verdigre and on February 4th took possession of the paper. Brozovsky then sold it at a mortgage sale. “As he was the only bidder at the sale the property passed to him and he is now in possession of same.” Liddell may have been in default of contract. “Victor Brozovsky absolutely refused to make any reasonable deal by which the undersigned could continue to pay out on the contract.” Since Liddell had a lease on the Matt Kripner building, Brozovsky was going to “have a paper printed in Sioux City this week but whether or not he plans to continue this program we cannot state.” This editorial was printed on the front page of The Verdigre Eagle. Liddell had purchased the plant, subscription list, and good will of the Winnetoon Eagle and the plant of the Bristow Enterprise. This is where The Eagle borrowed its name. Apparently Victor Brozovsky did have an issue of The Citizen printed in Sioux City, but this has not been seen and it is not known whether there were any subsequent issues. The new Eagle reported that a hard-times costumes.

1932 – Gilbert Liddell, editor and publisher of The Eagle died suddenly. His son Forrest succeeded him.
Wencel Jankiewicz bought in The Eagle in October of 1932 from Forrest Liddell, who had been getting out the paper since the death of his father.
It was now December 1941. Wencel Jankiewicz bought the Divis building for The Eagle newspaper and shop for $80.00.

Marcella Juracek moved the Verdigre Beauty Salon from the Divis building to the Anton Jelen building to make way for The Eagle.In April 1952 Wencel Jankiewicz announced the end of an era. Since it was no longer possible to get ready-print, he would publish an eight-page paper whose pages were reduced in size. There would be eight pages of local news, instead of four. “It must be remembered, Verdigre is a small town after all, and there is not the news or advertising here to fill up a standard eight-page paper. So we are doing the next best thing possible, giving Verdigre a weekly paper which will measure up to the size of the town in proportion,” Jankiewicz wrote.

Meanwhile Joseph F. Farnik bought the building which had once housed The Verdigre Eagle and which since 1946 had been the place for services of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, which owned the property. He moved his barbershop there in September.

On May 7, 1964, Wencel Jankiewicz, who had recently had surgery, announced the sale of The Eagle to the O’Neill Frontier. Starting May 14, the former Eagle would become a section of the latter. This was the beginning of a troubled time. Despite the conscientious efforts of those who were local reporters, it was impossible to operate a home-town newspaper from a distance.

On June 3, 1965, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Brown brought out the first edition of the Verdigre Citizen. They had come to Verdigre from Winner, S. D., where they had been employed, both of them having a journalistic background. For nearly 13 months the town had been without a newspaper and the best efforts of its correspondents on the O’Neill Frontier did not make up for its absence.

The issue of July 21, 1966, was the last of the Citizen. There were no farewells. Three weeks later The Verdigre Eagle appeared. The new publisher and editor was a local man, Dan Pavlik, who explained: “It is with regret that after one short year, it is assumed that the Verdigre Citizen has ceased with publication. With its cessation goes the cession of rights and privileges. Its existence will have become another chapter in the history of our community. It is with regret that with it must go its mailing list, the second class mail privileges, its legal status, and its name. In short it is necessary to start all over again from the bottom.” The Eagle name had been purchased from the Frontier’s publisher to whom it had become valueless. The first edition was August 11, 1966.

Dan, who with his wife of almost 2 years, Glenna (Reinoehl) from Niobrara, and with the help of “Slim” Pavlik – Dan’s dad, worked three weeks on the first issue. People wanted to subscribe, but the young couple refused money until they could prove they could do the job. Dan, who had gone to Wayne State College and then to barber school, decided that wasn’t what he really wanted to do, so he came back to Verdigre and had been working for Mott Feed & Trucking. Glenna had been employed at the courthouse until the last of July when she quit to have their first child (Aug. 31). There was one linotype and it was in pretty bad shape. They hired a guy from Hartington, Frank Foecke, to show them how to run it, and then Marvin Ziska from O’Neill to fix it. The mats (with the letters on them) would fall into any channel and when you hit a key on the keyboard it was a guess as to which letter you would get. It was a real challenge, but Dan wanted his hometown to have The Verdigre Eagle, so they kept at it. He used to enjoy watching Wencel and Albina put out The Eagle when he was young.

They added another linotype, and at one time had three. One had several magazines on it (different fonts, or type styles, and sizes. This way you could turn a hand crank and have what you wanted without changing the heavy bronze-filled mat containers. Also as other newspapers were going offset, they were getting rid of their hot metal machines, therefore bringing the costs down to where the small newspaper could make these purchases. They had a teletypesetter which required a typing machine that put little holes in a paper on a roll. There were six possible holes whose combinations signified a letter. First these had to be justified lines so as it went through the linotype the line would be tight enough and not allow the hot metal to “squirt” out between the mats. Then you’d have to open up the machine and clean it up. Hopefully the hot metal would not touch your skin because it stuck immediately, from a temp of 550 degrees to your body temp of 98.

The next purchase was an adjustograph. With this machine, the typesetter could type a paragraph with any justification. The 1” yellow tape with the holes in it was fed into this machine and it would figure the line length for you. It would cut a new tape which would be fed through the teletype which then produced slugs of type.

From that point they went to photographic machines which produced the typed material on photographic paper which they ran through a developer and used for pasteups.
Their first taste of offset came with a commercial press on which Dan did the jobwork – envelopes, stationery, recipe books, etc. The next in the field of modern printing was the digital camera which eliminated hours in the darkroom. In 1980 The Verdigre Eagle, which had been printed letterpress, went offset. This required computers and a printing press too costly for each newspaper to own. Therefore, the typing, pictures and pasteups were done at home and then taken each week to O’Neill to be printed. From 1980 to 2005 Dan made most of the trips to O’Neill, bringing back the printed and folded papers to stamp for mailing. Very few times was the paper printed late because of weather and roads.

Publisher/Editor Dan Pavlik had suffered a heart attack at the age of 51 (in 1995).
On the morning of October 16, 2005, he woke up and didn’t feel well. He was hospitalized and later that same night he passed away, from an apparent heart attack. The whole town was shocked as were the readers when they got their Eagle.

Dan’s brother, Keith Pavlik, who with his wife Theresa lived in Tucson, Arizona, came back for six months to keep the publication going. Daughter Jeanne (Pavlik) Wagner came to work for her mother while her twin brother, Rick Pavlik, came from Silver City, Iowa, to do the commercial printing sometimes more than one weekend a month. He had watched his father at the printing press, but had never expressed an interest in doing the work. He fulfilled this part of the business until his youngest sister, Lisa, returned from Omaha and learned the trade.
Although Glenna had said if something happened to Dan she would discontinue The Eagle’s publication herself, but the help of her family and Dan’s to keep it going was an inspiration.
The weekly trips to O’Neill came to a halt when the two daughters talked Glenna into the most progressive publication – and with color – after talking to a sales representative from White Wolf Web Printing in Sheldon, Iowa. With the December 16, 2010, edition the staff took on the complete digital method of printing. Instead of putting together the pasteups (and taking them to O’Neill), they set everything up on the computer, paginated the pages and dropped it in the White Wolf Web dropbox (via e-mail) on Tuesday late afternoon or evening. The paper was printed and delivered the next day in time to get it in the mail that day. Thus it has been since that date and it continues to work out fine. Subscribers appreciate the print and the color.

Coming to retirement age, Glenna sold The Verdigre Eagle to daughter Lisa Wessendorf on December 9, 2011. Lisa and her husband Jason Wessendorf continue the weekly paper with Glenna’s assistance on Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday for mailing, and some time in between to do the Glancing Back column. Jason, who also has a knack for computers, enjoys writing and reporting and has been gifted in this field.
During the controversy with the school addition, the unrest of the people was trying, but with gratefulness for our educational facilities at our Q125, we hope that all can be blessed with the feelings of working together for others – especially the young people, a great asset to one and all.
The future of The Verdigre Eagle looks promising and is made possible by its advertisers and supporters; certainly, Dan Pavlik and all the former publishers share the pride of its presence and importance in the years that come and go.

 

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