We’re 123 years old, yet new every week

This week marks the beginning of the new year for The Lakeville Journal’s life as a publication, entering its 123rd year, having begun publication in 1897. If you would like to stop by our office in Falls Village, you can see a hard copy that is kept under glass of Vol. 1, No. 1, published Aug. 14, 1897, four broadsheet pages of news.

What were the big three stories’ headlines and subheads on the front page that week? As follows, from the top left column: 1. BULLETS FLY IN PRISON, Desperate Attempt to Release a Convict in Boston, “BICYCLE BANDIT’S” FIERCE FIGHT; 2. PERILS OF THE KLONDIKE, Alaska Will Be Paved With The Bones of Gold Hunters, RUSH TO ALMOST SURE DEATH; 3. PREMIER CANOVAS SLAIN, The Prime Minister of Spain Assassinated by an Anarchist, FELL DYING AT HIS WIFE’S FEET. 

Many things have changed since the first edition of The Lakeville Journal was published, but we bet you would even now be curious to read the rest of those stories. In that very different time, international and national news came across the wire, the telegraph, in the only way for small towns like Lakeville, Salisbury and Sharon to receive it. And for that first edition, it was Publisher Col Card and Editor Irving J. Keyes who translated that news for their local readers. 

The new Lakeville Journal was described thus: “Reliable Home Newspaper, Covering the District of Lakeville and the Towns of Salisbury and Sharon. Published Every Saturday Morning at Lakeville, Conn.” 

The masthead described the cost for purchase of the newspaper and the way to obtain advertising rates (“Advertising rates low and made known by mail or upon personal application at the Publication Office. Main Street.”) 

The editor went on to present the new publication to its community, reproduced below as it was written in that moment: 

“The Lakeville Journal makes its first regular call on its readers this morning and hopes that it will be looked forward to each successive Saturday for many long years to come with pleasure and cordiality by an ever-increasing circle of subscribers and advertisers.

“It may as well be said at the outset that we rely upon the earnest support and co-operation of the people of the two towns and several villages for a support that will enable us to make the paper what it ought to be — a record of all important events, a chronicler of local news and an important factor in the upbuilding of the material interests of the community. We have no promises to make, except that we shall not be found wanting in the advocacy of any movement that seems calculated to enhance the general or local prosperity, and that absolutely no favoritism towards any class of people or any particular individual will be shown in our columns.  

“The first issue of The Journal is not what we hoped to make it, but when our readers stop to consider the thousand and one things to be attended to in order to issue a new paper in a new office and with untried machinery, and the fact that all the editorial and mechanical work involved has been practically done in three days by a force of one man and a boy, they will overlook our shortcomings in getting out the initial number.”

In this moment, 123 years later, the current writer observes that the mission of the newspaper remains very close to its original one, and the challenges of publication remain as well. Sincere thanks to our readers, subscribers and advertisers over all these years, without whose support the newspaper would have disappeared long ago. 

Our current mission statement publishes as part of our masthead every week in The Lakeville Journal and Millerton News:

Our goal is to report the news of our communities accurately and fairly, fostering democracy and an atmosphere of open communication.