Local history is fascinating and sometimes reveals itself in interesting ways. Recently, a sinkhole in Verndale exposed the foundation of a hotel that burned down over 100 years ago.
While looking through the books, made by the Verndale Historical Society, for information about this hotel it was hard not to poke around and read other historical records.
I knew at one point the Verndale Journal preceded the Verndale Sun. What I didn’t know was there was even an earlier paper called the Wadena County Tribune that was based in Verndale. It was also the first printing office in Wadena County. Another interesting tidbit was the owner of the Verndale Journal, trying to stay ahead with the growth of the area, moved with the railroad and the county seat to Wadena and became the Wadena Pioneer Journal. It’s interesting to think that paper’s origins were in Verndale.
The Verndale Sun came shortly after. The town lost the paper about three times since its inception. During one of those periods the Bertha Herald, I believe, published a newsletter called the Verndale Star. I find it interesting how the area newspapers are connected.
The Hewitt Museum has a bunch of laminated clippings from the Hewitt Banner. I recall reading a clipping about an officer shot in Hewitt many years ago.
Recently, I read the Hewitt Banner ended when the publisher was drafted into the service. The Bertha paper basically took over coverage of the Hewitt area.
At one time the Bertha Herald was the Bertha Headlight. That publisher moved the business to Staples where it became the Staples Headlight.
Then the Bertha Herald became the Eagle Bend News-Bertha Herald. That paper later combined with the Clarissa Independent giving us the Independent News Herald.
In more recent years, the paper purchased the Browerville Blade and Todd County Courier. The Blade was absorbed into the INH and the courier became the Todd Wadena Courier.
Newspapers record the events of today and become tomorrow’s history. They remain a vital source of local information as well as historical records. Most of the information used by the Verndale Historical Society to create the books Pages of History and The Famous and Not So Famous came from newspapers. These books have been a vital source in some of my work. I wish every historical society could do something like this.
I think it would be great someday to make a book, or a series of articles, containing the history of the local newspapers and the people involved with them. It would be interesting to talk to those still around or who remember some of the events, such as when a fire destroyed the archives of the Clarissa Independent, and what caused these papers to shift and merge over the years.
To me, it is interesting to connect the dots of our newspapers’ past and see the changes over the last 100 plus years. It also shows while change is inevitable, newspapers have stood the test of time.
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