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Lancaster, New York, Newspaper Clippings

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Location: Lancaster, New Yorkmap
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Lancaster Enterprise & Journal OUR HISTORY!!!

The old bound volumes are dusty and worn. Pages are yellowed, dry, and some crumble to the touch.

They tell a story, a history in serial, 5,200 chapters long. It is a story that now reaches back more than a century and is still being told.

It's about Lancaster as a community and a people. The storyteller is The Lancaster ENTERPRISE.

The offspring of other Lancaster newspapers, today's ENTERPRISE is a hybrid publication. Its great-grandfather is The STAR, Lancaster's first newspaper.

The first issue of The STAR appeared on Feb. 8, 1878. Two young printers, Anton Bussman and William B. Fuller, began the project, as they told their readers, "to present from week to week a record of events which take place around about us, careful always to avoid, injuring the feelings of any, rich or poor."

The issues of The STAR rarely exceeded eight pages, but the efforts involved on the part of the two owners were considerable by modern newspaper standards. Not only were the two responsible for writing the news, selling advertisements and subscriptions, each line of type had to be tediously set by hand.

Apparently the task was too much for young Bussman. On March 29, 1878, Will Fuller assumed full control of the paper. He struggled on to keep The STAR afloat financially, but the March 5, 1880 issue was the last one.

"We are sorry; but we can't help it. The STAR is not a very profitable institution. It requires a great deal of labor and attention," Fuller told his readers.

For three months Lancaster was without a newspaper.

Then on May 26 of that year, E.R. Vaughan, a dentist from Springville, and Peter J. Gaudy started publication of The Lancaster TIMES which was touted as the lineal successor to The STAR.

"We present to our readers this week a new paper, a descendent of the ill-fated Star. After discussion of all the romantic names that presented themselves for our consideration, we have finally discarded them all, and adopted the less poetical but more substantial title of 'THE LANCASTER TIMES', and trust that the pleasant 'times' it will bring to our readers will fully justify us in thus christening it,' Vaughan and Gaudy Wrote.

The "pleasant times" that the publishers promised the readers were short-lived. On June 17, a strike of sorts, that bordered at times on a near riot hit the composing room of the newspaper. A year later, as reported on April 1, Vaughan decided to return to the practice of dentistry and the partnership was dissolved. Gaudy was now "sole proprietor.”

Gaudy kept publishing the TIMES for the next four years until Jan. 29, 1885, when he sold the newspaper to Williamsville resident Adam Rinewalt, the publisher of The Amherst BEE. Rinewalt took on joint manager, Elmer M. Oswald, but their venture lasted only until October of that year, when Rinewalt sold the newspaper to Marvin L. Reist. (Rinewalt, incidentally, hung himself in October, 1902. The TIMES reported that he "had not been well for a year" and dismissed his suicide as "a fit of temporary insanity.")

Reist continued to operate the newspaper for the next 22 years.

On Sept. 1, 1907, he sold The TIMES to W.C. Naylor of Olean thereby beginning a quick exchange of ownerships over the next three years.

On Sept. 9, 1909, J.T. Lyman of Buffalo bought the paper and on March 12, 1910 John Soemann, already the publisher of The Lancaster ENTERPRISE, bought The TIMES from him.

The ENTERPRISE was first published in Lancaster on Dec. 10, 1895 with A.L. Chandler as editor and publisher. Chandler continued publishing the newspaper until Sept. 28, 1901 when he sold the business to Soemann and H.A. Dann.

Soemann and Dann moved The ENTERPRISE into the Town Hall on Central Avenue and consolidated the paper with Soemann's job printing office.

The two men continued publishing The ENTERPRISE- and from Feb. 5 to May 1, 1903, even branched out by publishing The Depew Leader - until Feb 20, 1908 when Soemann, according to that week's edition, became the sole owner.

In March, 1910, Soemann consolidated The ENTERPRISE with his newly-acquired TIMES. The Lancaster ENTERPRISE - TIMES remained in Soemann's hands for the next 19 years.

In 1929, Soemann sold the controlling interest in the newspaper to Dr. C.L. Suess. A corporation was formed on May 9 with Dr. Suess as president; John Soemann, vice-president; Lester Suess, Dr. Suess's son, Secretary-treasurer; E. Dykstra, editor; and Philip J. Fink, business manager.

During the years from 1929 to 1954, the newspaper was operated by Lester Suess. For a period, his sister Irma served as editor. And during the 25-year span, The ENTERPRISE won a number of awards for jounalistic excellence from the New York State Press Association.

In October, 1954, Mr. Suess sold the publication to Richard G. Bennett and Chester M. Krawczyk. The former served as editor and publisher while the latter was advertising manager for the 17-year span before the newspaper was sold in October, 1971 to its present owner and publisher, George J. Measer of BEE Publications.

There is, however, another chapter to The ENTERPRISE story. On Oct. 30, 1947, Fred Oestreich had begun a new Lancaster newspaper, The Lancaster JOURNAL, as a competitor to The ENTERPRISE. The JOURNAL, under Mr. Oestreich's direction as editor and publisher, published for 26 years before it was sold to Mr. Measer on Oct. 12, 1973.

An interesting footnote to the history of the newspaper is the fact that in 1907, George J. Measer's father, George J. Measer Sr., bought The Amherst BEE from the family of Adam Rinewalt, the former owner of The TIMES. Now both The ENTERPRISE and The BEE are part of BEE Publications, a chain of local weekly newspapers that also includes The Depew HERALD, The Cheektowaga BEE The Clarence BEE and The Suburban BEE

The ENTERPRISE is not BEE Publications only link to the Lancaster area: All six newspapers are printed at Western New York Offset Press, Inc. 4367 Walden Ave., Lancaster.

The History of Lancaster 1878-1978 as told by Lancaster's Community Newspaper

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