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home : columns : rahn larson
November 20, 2019

10/9/2019 2:40:00 PM
Citizen, Windom turn 148
Every year, about this time, I think about a guy named Ebenezer Huntington, the founder of the Windom Reporter, a forerunner of the Citizen.
As we celebrate National Newspaper Week, my thoughts drift to Sept. 7, 1871, when volume 1, number 1, of the Windom Reporter was printed. A handful of buildings dotted the Square at the time.
But Windom was already a thriving city. And Huntington, a 21-year-old Vermont native, was in the thick of it. Times were tough, I'm sure. I imagine copy sales and advertising revenue barely kept the operation afloat.
Still, Huntington pressed forward, never missing an issue. At least he arrived with experience, having learned the printing trade in Iowa.
Early on, Huntington enjoyed the advantage of having no competition. That changed in 1882 when the Citizen was founded as a "farmers paper." (The Citizen and Reporter merged in 1958.)
I can relate to Huntington's battles with another newspaper. When I was in my 20s, I worked at the New London-Spicer Times at a time when it was competing with the Spicer Free Press.
Each Wednesday, we hustled to the newsstands to check out the competition. What did we miss? What did they miss? Most importantly, what did they get wrong?
Huntington had a pretty good run as the Reporter's editor. My research shows conflicting reports as to when he sold the paper, 1888, or 1908.
At the time, Windom was prospering, thanks to what Huntington called "the best wheat market on the line of the Sioux City and St. Paul Railroad." In 1902, Windom readers received a third publication, the Windom Free Press. The Reporter and Free Press consolidated later that year.
Our newspaper is 148 years old, as is Windom. I believe folks like Huntington would be proud of where we are today.

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