Shortly after Barberton was established in 1891, the first weekly newspaper was founded.
Available at newsstands each Saturday, the Banner and Bulletin documented the growth of Barberton and is credited with promoting the nickname the Magic City. The Banner and Bulletin, however, was rather short lived, lasting only one year.
Citizens were not long without a newspaper though, as resident and former teacher John R. Davis founded the Barberton News in 1892 and published early issues out of the basement of the National Hotel (once located at the corner of present day Wooster Road North and West Lake Avenue). The newspaper came an end in the fall of 1929 after Davis’ death. Though Davis’ son George managed the paper, the Barberton News published its last issue within months of Davis’ passing.
In 1894 the Barberton Leader was founded by attorney Edward Huene. This weekly newspaper changed ownership several times, coming under the management of former city editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, Eugene Rowe. The Leader began publication out of the Tracy Block on Tuscarawas Avenue before moving to Second Street in the early 1900s. It published the last issue in December 1922. Several other publications appeared on the news scene over the years but could not stand the test of time.
In 1906, the Republican Barberton Telegram began, fading away by the early 1920s. The Barberton Socialist arrived alongside the Telegram, but little is known of this short-lived publication. The Barberton Times and Independent appear briefly, but suffered similar fates. The 1950s brought about the Democratic Barberton Post, which enjoyed a weekly circulation of 5,000. Owned by a group of men from Akron, the Post printed three additional weekly publications for the communities of Portage Lakes, Canal Fulton and Canton before closing up in 1960.
Barberton’s longest running publication, however, continues today.
Established in 1923, The Barberton Herald actually began in Kenmore in 1921 before relocating to the Magic City on West Tuscarawas Avenue. The newspaper relocated several times before settling in at its present location on Fourth Street Northwest in 1967. Copies in the 1920s sold for 2 cents or $1 for a one year subscription.
Herald founders Harold Makinson and Frank Gaethke, who also established Marshall’s Department Store, acquired the defunct Barberton Leader and the Barberton News. Each publication maintained offices until the newspapers were consolidated around 1929.
David Richardson and his wife, Catherine Robertson, purchased the Herald from Makinson in 1985. Richardson, originally from Canton had been a journalist in Washington DC, Florida and Ohio. His “One Man’s Meat” columns became popular with many readers.
Robertson was a Norton High graduate and retired from Society Bank as President. The two ran the Herald until 2004, when Cheryl McCracken-Vespoint, Robertson’s daughter, purchased it. Vespoint is a Barberton 1984 graduate.
Vespoint carried the The Barberton Herald into the digital age by incorporating the internet and sending pages to print electronically. In 2010, the Herald pushed its way into the social media scene being hailed by the National Newspaper Association as one of the most digitally aggressive weeklies in the state of Ohio, with 12,500 followers on Facebook.
The Herald has evolved throughout its 93-year history, but has continued to focus on local news, sports and opinion.
Today, the newspaper averages sales of more than 7,700 issues per week through printed and online subscriptions and newsstand sales, with single copies at 75 cents and a years subscription is $18.
– Excerpts from Rebecca Larson-Troyer
Interested in reading historic Barberton newspapers dating back to 1892? The Barberton Public Library Local History Room makes available thousands of issues of local newspapers on microfilm, including the News (1892-1929, incomplete), Leader (1913-1922), Post (1953-1960) and the Herald (1928-2010, excluding 1933). Current year issues of the Barberton Herald are also available.
The Herald (0442600) published Thursdays for Vespoint Publishing Co., Inc.
Periodicals Postage paid at Barberton, OH, 44203.
A subscription in 44203 is $18, out of delivery area $25, out of the State of Ohio $35, out of United States $65.
The Herald can be read Online for $15 per year. No refunds please.
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The Herald Offices on Fourth Street Northwest today. HERALD PHOTO/Rich Muller
Barberton Library Historical Collection photo: The National Hotel, site of Barberton News offices.