The Landmark enters its 158th year of publication –

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Published weekly since the last days of the Civil War

Consistency and endurance.

As of last week’s edition, The Landmark entered its 158th year of continuous publication. Platte County’s oldest newspaper – older than the Kansas City Star and one of the oldest in the state – The Landmark has never missed a week of publication since its founding in the closing days of the Civil War. in 1865.

The first edition of the newspaper hit the streets on September 28, 1865, when the first Landmark was published in Weston with the motto “Don’t do away with old landmarks”.

About six years later, The Landmark moved from Weston to Platte City, where it has since been published.

After The Landmark moved to Platte City in 1871, it settled in various downtown locations until settling in its present location in 1899.

A LITTLE HISTORY

In March 1899, The Landmark moved into the building at 252 Main Street. This building had been built in 1869 by Dr. GW Smith as a pharmacy and post office. Later, a grocery store and hardware store occupied the building before the newspaper took over.

In 1899 The Landmark installed a huge sheet-fed Babcock press which would be used until 1979. A gasoline engine originally provided the power to run the press until an electric motor was installed in 1928.

In 1916, Max Jones, who had been the foreman of the workshop, began managing the newspaper for the former owner’s estate. On January 1, 1918, Jones purchased The Landmark and became its editor and publisher. Jones had started an apprenticeship in printing at The Landmark at the age of 16 in 1892. Jones served as editor and publisher until his death in 1956.

Until 1923, the type was set by hand. In May 1923, a Linotype machine was purchased. The Linotype allowed the operator to define more characters than could normally be produced by five or six men working by hand. A Linotype machine is still located in the window of The Landmark’s office today, visible to passers-by.

After Max Jones died in 1956, his widow, Lucile L. Jones, took over as editor and publisher, with Roland Giffee handling the printing and press room. In 1979, Ms. Jones sold The Landmark to Dwayne Foley, who owned two weekly newspapers and a central printing plant in northeast Kansas.

Over the years Mrs. Jones had become acquainted with Foley, skilled both as a journalist and a pressman, periodically asking him to help with the Babcock press, Linotype and other Landmark equipment on those occasions when he was broke down or was understaffed. .

In the first edition under his ownership in November 1979, Dwayne Foley took The Landmark from the old style of hot lead printing (known as “letterpress”) to the offset method, the modern thing to the era.

Much of the old typesetting equipment is still housed in The Landmark office today, including the Linotype machine, several type chests with many combination type drawers, as well as the large Babcock sheet press, still in place in the rear part of the desk. Just a year ago, two of the small presses that had been operated by Landmark printer Roland Giffee at the time to print letterheads, envelopes, flyers, etc., were sold to a young Kansas City-based press operator who refurbished them and put them back into current use.

Dwayne Foley, 50, died suddenly in July 1980, just months after buying The Landmark. The journal continued to be owned and published by his widow, Ethel Mae Foley, and her family. Veteran journalist Clay McGinnis, with previous experience at the Independence Examiner and other Kansas City-area publications, served as editor of The Landmark from May 1980 to 1993.

Ivan Foley, the youngest son of Dwayne Foley, is now in his 40th year at The Landmark, having started with reporting and management duties in May 1982. Ivan Foley added the role of editor to his duties after McGinnis’ death during heart surgery in 1993.

A few months later, The Landmark took its first steps into the computing world by purchasing its first two desktop publishing computers in November 1993. The newspaper’s news and editorials began to take a more aggressive approach. Over the next 15 years, The Landmark’s circulation grew to become the largest paying readership in the county, gradually building a statewide reputation for editorializing hard while informing and entertaining readers.

The paper has won numerous statewide awards in the Missouri Press Associations Better Newspaper Contest and in 2016 Ivan Foley received a national honor for his courage, tenacity and integrity in rural journalism. , winning the Tom and Pat Gish Award from the Institute for Rural Journalism. and community issues at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media.

THE BUILDING SPOTTED

In 2002, Ivan Foley and his wife, Linda, purchased the newspaper operation and The Landmark building at 252 Main Street in Platte City from Ethel Mae Foley.

In a months-long project in 2008, Ivan and Linda renovated the exterior of the historic 1869 Landmark building to restore it to its original appearance. Commercial Waterproofing of Parkville was hired to remove the paint that for years had coated the building’s original brick, refinishing the brick to give it a new look and adding a waterproof sealant.

To cap off the rehabilitation project, four new large arch-style windows were installed on the second floor. The energy efficient aluminum windows were installed by JPI Glass of Platte County.

The rehabilitation work was recognized by the City of Platte City, with Foleys receiving the first William Paxton Preservation Award for preserving the architectural heritage of Main Street. The award was presented by Mayor Frank Offutt and the College of Aldermen in March 2009.

TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES

In recent years, The Landmark has become a multimedia news outlet, incorporating video into its news coverage.

Its website at plattecountylandmark.com was revamped during the pandemic in May 2020 and is the most popular media website in the county. The Landmark website attracts national advertisers such as Nissan, Staples, Office Depot, Walgreens, YouTubeTV and many more.

The Landmark airs a video known as Landmark Live, hosted by Ivan Foley on the newspaper’s Facebook page and website. Landmark Live, which debuted in 2017, is a light and informative show featuring Landmark staff members and notable special guests discussing current affairs while having fun at the same time.

Among current Landmark employees is office manager Cindy Rinehart, who is now in her 30th year at the paper. Journalist Valerie Verkamp is in her 11th year with The Landmark and journalist Debbie Coleman-Topi is in her sixth year.

Weekly contributors to Page 3 include 11-year veteran Chris Kamler and his column The Rambling Moron. Kamler is known to be one of the most popular Twitter personalities in Kansas City. Guy Speckman, with his engaging and entertaining column Ponder the Thought, is in his third year with The Landmark after serving as owner/publisher of the Savannah Reporter, a weekly newspaper in Savannah, Mo. Hearne Christopher, who was the most-read columnist for the Kansas City Star in the late 1990s and early 2000s, provides an occasional column for KC Confidential.

Platte City’s Fred Felix is ​​in his second year assisting with distribution duties, running delivery routes each week primarily through southern Platte County.

Brad Carl, a former radio DJ and local musician, is a frequent co-host of Landmark Live.

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