Daily News office

At one time, the Daily News operated from this building on the southwest corner of the Greensburg Square.

Not long ago, someone asked why the building at 101 E. Main Street has “Daily News” on the front since the newspaper office is not located there. My first thought was to find out why the paper moved from this impressive building. I asked Beth Lowe, daughter of Walter B. and Anna Paul Lowe, if she knew why the paper was moved from the location on the south side of the square to the present location. Beth said, “Yes, they wanted to modernize the press room — going to an offset type rather than hot lead type. They needed a cleaner environment. A new, cleaner press.”

She continued, “The guys in the back room dismantled the press themselves and replaced it in the building that had been built. This was to make way for a computerized printing system. Each step was cleaner and safer for the employees. Daddy chaired a discussion about computerizing the newsroom in 1967. He took me with him to these sessions and for the lunch. Edward R. Murrow was the keynote speaker. It was the last talk Murrow gave before he died.”

Margaret, Beth’s twin sister, said this about her dad some time ago: “I was thinking about the long role of a daily newspaper in our community. My great grandfather, Davies Batterton, was part of the Greensburg Standard, which was taken over by Orville Thomson, and his son-in-law, Luther Braden. The Caskeys started the Daily News. Luther and E.J. Hancock bought the paper in 1918. My father started at the Daily News in 1919. He knew how every machine worked, how every job was done, and what it took to make working at the Daily News the best place to work in town. The team he assembled with people like George DeMoss, Hube Sturenburg and Murray Gordon were such fine newspaper people!”

The Greensburg Daily News was known all over Indiana as a paper that kept up with the times. It still is an award-winning paper that got its start Jan. 1, 1894. It has been said that there was an earlier issue on Dec. 28, 1893. There were several newspapers here at that time. Several of them used the word Daily in the name, but the Greensburg Daily News was the only paper that outlasted the competition. The original Daily News had four pages and five columns and started with 200 subscribers. The first Daily News was published on the north side of the square on the second floor.

In 1903, James E. Caskey purchased the paper and it soon became a recognized top notch paper. Caskey died 12 years later and his widow ran the paper, eventually selling it to Luther D. Braden and Edward Hancock in 1918. (I got to meet Caskey’s son when he came to Greensburg many years ago. He was in his late 70s at that time. I wrote a column about him and his dad.)

The paper was moved to W. Main Street (and other locations) and then on July 1, 1923 it was incorporated as The Greensburg Daily News Publishing Company with Luther Braden, Ed Hancock, Walter B. Lowe, W. Winton and W. Kendall named directors. Later, John C. Hancock and Marie Wagner were added to the board.

It was that year that the Daily News moved from W. Main Street to the building at 101 E. Main Street. The directors remodeled the building and a huge new section was added onto the south section of the building. The front of the building was completely remodeled to look as it does today. The original building that had once housed a grocery store and theater in 1923 was stucco or a light color from what I can tell looking at old photos when the Daily News bought it. Included in the upstairs of the building were several busy offices over the years.

Walter B. Lowe became vice president and co-publisher in 1948 and publisher in 1964. Another person who had many years helping to build the paper was Marie Borchers, who should have (and will have) a column telling what she accomplished during her lifetime. Both Lowe and Borchers worked continuously to help make the paper the highly respected small-town newspaper it became. I suspect they would understand the current trend of having few newspapers in the country because of the changing times, but no doubt also maybe wonder if it is a real improvement.

Decatur County resident Pat Smith may be contacted via this publication at news@greensburgdailynews.com.

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