When folks say KELLY started the first ‘Tribune’ – they are correct in a sense – but the first paper published at Brewster was called ‘The Brewster Beacon’. It was an eight page paper, the inside being boiler plate, shipped in print from the East. It was founded by Allen FLINT of Sibley, Iowa in 1899. Mr. FLINT went to Round Lake from Brewster. It was purchased by Mr. E.L. KELLY and run until 1900. Mr. KELLY’S first edition was still called “The Brewster Beacon”. It was printed on pink paper, numbered No. 1, Volume 1 and a copy is in the possession of Mrs. John MCNAB, Sr., pioneer Brewster lady. This will be displayed in our window exhibit during our celebration.
In July 1900 our paper was purchased by Nicholas WEINANDT of Worthington. In 1902 J.S. RANDOLPH purchased and ran it for six years. A most interesting memory to some is the dog treadle which was used for power to run the press, and Mr. RANDOLPH’S dog “Mocus”, who did the work. In 1907 the following segments is taken from files which shows the humor of the editor and accounts for the fact that people enjoyed the paper.
February 22, 1907 – Brewster wants a new sidewalk in front of the park, a Presbyterian church that will seat 400 people, some young men who are less inclined to mash and more inclined to marry, more cars and less promises for our elevator men, a young people’s orchestra, a better depot and a better looking agent, another market day, good weather and crops for 1907, more customers for its stores and not so many mail order firms, a public ice house and a public milk wagon, another mail route east of town, a dog killer, a fool killer and fewer time killers!
The ‘Tribune’ was located during these years in the KRUKEMEYER building but in 1908 moved to the basement of the bank. In 1908 the paper began to omit boiler plate. In this year the paper sold to Jesse HAMSTREET, brother of the editor of the ‘Worthington Herald Advance’. In 1909 it was sold to B.T. MCCHESNEY and F.P. HENDERSON and moved to new quarters in the basement of the MCCHESNEY HENDERSON Building, now occupied by Sam PALMER. In May the sole owner became MCCHESNEY. In 1910 George KUNZEMAN was editor assisted by Herb MCCHESNEY. Florence HILL also assisted. In 1912 the first financial statement ever published by our paper made its debut in the form of a creamery statement. In 1911 KUNZEMAN sold to L.R. REID, in 1913 to V.T. MCCHESNEY and son. In 1915 F.J. PETTY of Bricelyn purchased the ‘Tribune’. In 1917 a subscription contest was put on, a Ford was won by Elsie REISTROFFER; a ring, Mable WING; a watch, Daisy BLY; kodak, Marie LUDTKE; kitchen cabinet, Louise PINZ. Due to an increase in business, the publication again outgrew its quarters and moved to the MANUEL Building, located on the other side of the present EVERSON Hardware. In 1918 Marie KRAFT worked at the ‘Tribune’ office. In 1919 we had a number of changes, W.J. WALKER, again Fred PETTY who in turn sold to Fred MOHL of St. Paul, who sold to JOHNSON and H.W. PRICE. In 1921 our publisher was O.H. RALEIGH. This same year it was published by KNUTH Bros. The subscription rate was reduced from $2.00 per year to $1.50 in advance. In 1926 Mr. Fred PETTY again became editor. In 1927 Mr. PETTY was almost blind, finding he had cataracts on both eyes. Mrs. PETTY helped at the ‘Tribune’ until her untimely death in an auto accident.
In 1928 the ‘Tribune’ moved to its present location. In 1930 it was purchased by Fred J. BARTON and in 1932 by George HIMROD. Clint WILCOX assisted Mr. HIMROD. In 1933 a new press was installed on a large concrete base, made for it, by Amos POWELL, Otto PARKER and William PETERSON. Ed HEIN did some blacksmith work, Chris LEIN wired and Drs. HALPERN and PLORDE gave some professional advice. Among the news gatherers were Rose Clare WEINANDT, Frances MCCHESNEY, Arloine PETTY and Arlois WEAVER. In 1934 Clint WILCOX became the owner, with Emil KNUTH linotype operator. In 1936 a new electric pot was installed on the intertype for melting the metal which makes the type for the paper. It replaced a gas-blue burner on the type casting machine. In 1936 in one edition Rev. SUTTERER and Rev. PETERSON were guest editors with the assistance of Helmer WILLIAMSON. Neoma DANIELS was society editor. In 1937 the old files of the ‘Tribune’ were bound into volumes, all volumes before 1904 had been destroyed. In 1939 George GEYERMAN bought the PETTY building which housed the ‘Tribune’. The ‘Tribune’ leased the north half, which was repaired, repainted and a new entrance made. Helpers included Dwight PATRICK, A.J. ALLEN, Marguerite HAGERMAN, Evelyn JANSEN, Eula WILCOX and Emil KNUTH.
In 1944 due to the illness of J.N. KAIN, Round Lake editor, the ‘Round Lake Graphic’ and ‘The Brewster Tribune’ were merged.
In 1945 a fire in the rear of the ‘Tribune’ office consumed the paper stock and many of the old files. George HIMROD of Minneapolis came to repair the machinery.
In 1946 Clint WILCOX went to the U. Hospital. Dwight PATRICK was editor, operator, reporter, copy boy, and printers devil for a month. This same year Robert WILCOX bought half interest in the ‘Tribune,’ ending almost 13 years of ownership by Clint “Fletcher” WILCOX.
In 1947 the ‘Tribune’ carried this interesting little note regarding subscriptions:
Why is a woman like a newspaper? Because they have forms. Because back numbers are not in demand. Because they always have the last word. Because they are worth looking over. Because they have a great deal of influence. Because you can’t believe everything they say. Because there’s small demand for the bold type. Because they are much thinner than before. Because everyone should have one of his own and not run after his neighbors. Subscribe for yours as soon as you can!
In 1948 Marshall D. RANDOLPH was the new publisher. Mrs. Robert TROTTER who has been linotype operator left and our former editor J. S. RANDOLPH came to help.
In 1949 the ‘Tribune’ was under the management of Hugh BLACK from Little Falls. Tom COTTER, David CHEESEMAN of Fenton, M.J., Dick MCLAUGHLIN (deaf operator who made many friends here) and Jon MACDONALD helped. In 1951 Mr. BLACK let the High School publish their issue of the ‘Tribune.’
In 1952 Mr. BLACK died suddenly at Willmar and we had no paper from November until April of 1953 when Rod and Peggy SMITH of Triumph came. Peggy ran a recipe column of great interest among the ladies.
With the December 29th publication of the ‘Tribune,’ 1955 editor, SMITH, published an obituary for home town paper. It read: Born, July 1898, died, December 29, 1955. The paper had been in operation continuously since its beginning except for a six month duration after Mr. BLACK’S death. But the ‘Tribune’ refused to die. A group of local businessmen assumed ownership and began to search for an editor. The entire staff of the ‘Heron Lake News’ came to their aid. The paper had to be published within twenty-four hours to retain its second class mailing permit. Plans were formulated for maintaining the paper and people were asked to report their local news to Mr. George WAKEMAN or the Brewster Electric.
On March 1, 1956 Gordon and Betty NICKELS and family arrived in Brewster. The ‘Tribune’ in 1958 is still edited by NICKELS. Gordie also has another distinction aside from the graphic arts business. He was one of the first to sport a “Centennial Beard!”