Jane Hershberger

The Rockford Squire/The Rockford Weekly Register celebrates 140th

February 3, 2011 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA Anyone visiting the Squire office may have noticed a yellowed newspaper framed and hanging on our wall. It’s old, but you would have to look closely to see the significance. Dated February 8, 1871, the print on the brittle paper reads that it is Issue 1, Volume 1. This week The Rockford Squire newspaper, then in business as The Rockford Weekly Register, passes a milestone of its 140th year in operation, the oldest business in the City of Rockford. Happy birthday to Rockford’s original hometown newspaper! The newspaper is an important member of the community, and we are excited to see another year of publishing for the residents of Rockford. Our coverage area is the Rockford school district—100 square miles of people with stories to tell and news to share. When kids visit our office, we show them old cameras and photos and hold up copies of the paper going back more than 100 years. We tell them about how the industry has changed—we publish in color, with photos. Cameras are digital and computers deliver our “pages” to the printer. We still have the original lead letters that were used to put stories in, one letter and space at a time for each article, but those days are long gone. When the paper was young, Rockford didn’t have electricity, cars or telephones. The paper was here to report all that new stuff coming to town. Today, in our 140th year, technology is beyond those first editors’ imaginations, but essentially the business of newspapering is exactly the same. Advertisers pay for the newspaper and residents receive it free. We have news we write ourselves about people we sit down and talk with. Readers call and tell us when we make a mistake—which we do appreciate. Part of reaching and passing a milestone anniversary is the opportunity to reflect. When attending Rockford Area Historical Society meetings, much material comes from the editions of the old Register. People also often come in to get back issues or photocopy the bound books we have of all of our editions going back a number of years. We have 30 years worth, but the historical society has issues going back to that first issue in 1871. You can […]