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 to 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, is closing the doors Dec. 31, 2022.
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 Allen Richardson and his wife, Catherine Ann 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. Richardson was responsible for the controversial Views Line feature where readers could submit opinions for publication without identification. He felt it was important for the community to have a voice.
Robertson was a Norton High graduate and retired from Society Bank as President. The two ran the Herald until 2004, when Cheryl Lyn McCracken-Vespoint, Robertson’s daughter, purchased it. Vespoint is a 1984 Barberton High School graduate. Vespoint continued in the family’s traditions and policies learning her editorial skills from her father and her business sense from her mother. Along with her past experience as a banker, realtor and police officer she excelled as publisher. The Barberton Herald awards and undertakings during her reign are too numerous to mention.
Vespoint carried 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, with over 33,000 followers on Facebook. The Herald also incorporates a YouTube Page, Google Plus and Instagram.
The Herald has evolved throughout its 100 year history, but has continued to focus on local news, sports and opinion.
– Excerpts from Rebecca Larson-Troyer
The Herald (0442600) published Thursdays for The Vespoint Publishing Company Inc.
Periodicals Postage paid at Barberton, OH, 44203.
The Barberton Herald is a respected member of The Ohio Newspaper Association and The National Newspaper Association.
The Herald Offices on Fourth Street Northwest today. HERALD PHOTO/Rich Muller
The National Hotel, site of Barberton News offices/Barberton Library Historical Collection photo