Created on Saturday, 14 December 2013 Written by THE BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER STAFF
Founded in 1891, the Examiner printed its first edition Dec. 14 of that year and, barring minor single-copy disruptions caused only by inclement weather, has continued to publish continuously since.
First established by brothers Edwin “E.O.” and Horace “H.K.” Hubbard, the newspaper was intended as an independent daily edition of the Democratic Weekly Examiner that had been published by their father, Thomas A. Hubbard since he and his brother, William Hubbard returned from the Dayton area in 1868.
The younger brothers first began publishing on a Washington hand press in their father’s office on the second story of the People’s Building, located at the corner of Main Street and Columbus Avenue. The original press, which required users to hand roll two pages of print at a time before changing plates and pressing the back side of the two pages, was succeeded by two additional presses that represented only slight advances in technology before a more-advanced Goss Comet was installed in 1911.
By that time, the Daily Examiner was located in its first real office at the corner of Opera Street and Court Avenue, and eventually the brothers hired their first full-time editor, Frank McCracken, to head the news desk.
Thomas A. Hubbard Sr. died in 1902 and E.O. Hubbard followed in 1917, and the newspaper became a joint ownership among the siblings of the family, which also included Josephine and Ada Hubbard, as well as noted local educator Thomas A. Hubbard Jr. and nationally- acclaimed humorist Frank McKinney “Kin” Hubbard who created the Abe Martin character.
By 1927, the Examiner’s daily subscription had risen considerably from the original 200 being printed each day, and the family invested in a 16-page Duplex tubular plate press that saw the traditional way of producing newspapers advance to pouring hot lead to make cylindrical plates.
While the technique may sound antiquated, the press served the Examiner until 1976 when the newspaper’s final on-site press was installed at the current location and several longtime employees still recall those days.
But other changes occurred over the intervening years.
In 1930, future publisher Thomas “T.E.” Hubbard joined the editorial staff, and by 1936, when H.K. Hubbard passed away, he had gained some financial interest in the business. By 1970, T.E. Hubbard would gain full ownership of the newspaper.
The times also saw Dalton Young replace Mr. McCracken as editor and in 1968, Arthur E. “Gene” Marine stepped in to fill Mr. Young’s shoes.
As editor in 1976, Mr. Marine oversaw the newsroom’s transition to a brand new building at 127 E. Chillicothe Ave., while other employees including pressroom foreman Everett Culp trained his staff to operate the high-speed Rockwell offset press that was in use until modern cost concerns led the business’ owners to begin printing the daily product off site.
Computer technology continued to advance the newspaper’s information gathering and production capabilities under T.E. Hubbard’s leadership although he himself typed news notes on a manual typewriter until his death in December 2001.
Ownership of the newspaper has since passed on to Mr. Hubbard’s wife, Janet Milligan Hubbard, who continues to operate the business with the assistance of her son, Jon Hubbard, and grandson, Thomas “T.J.” Hubbard.