Making the Shelbyville Daily Union more efficient

Jeff LongEditor

The Shelbyville Daily Union has a long history in this community. We've been serving Shelby County since 1863, and we intend to continue doing so for a long time to come.

To help us do that more efficiently, we're making some changes in the way we bring you the news. You won't notice much of a difference in the newspaper delivered to your door on Tuesdays and Fridays. Or on our website at shelbyvilledailyunion.com, which we try to keep fresh daily with all the news and features that are important to you.

The Union Building at 100 West Main St. opened in 1910. The increasingly aging structure has served as a fine home to news and sports reporters, advertising representatives, circulation folks and many publishers over the years.

Beginning this week, we're going to be moving out of that Main Street office. Business operations will be consolidated in the office of our sister paper, the Effingham Daily News, where I am also the editor and Amy Winter is also the publisher.

The mailing address is 201 N. Banker St., Effingham, IL 62401. That's where you should send your subscription renewal or any other payments or correspondence, like Letters to the Editor or news releases. We actually prefer that letters and news items be emailed to us at news@shelbyvilledailyunion.com It is, after all, the 21st Century. But we'll take your news however you find most convenient to get it to us.

The main telephone number is 217-347-7151. You can call that number if you have a question about your subscription, or to place a classified ad, or to ask why your paper didn't get delivered. As always, you can reach me at extension 129 when calling that number if you have a question about news.

John Curtis, our sports editor and news reporter, will still be based in Shelbyville. Instead of working out of the Main Street office, though, you might see him out and about town more often with his laptop and cellphone. You can reach him on his cellphone at 217-690-1165. His email address is john.curtis@shelbyvilledailyunion.com

The same goes for our advertising representative, Deanna Sickles. Her cellphone number is 217-519-2913. Her email address is deanna.sickles@shelbyvilledailyunion.com

These changes are all about making the Shelbyville Daily Union more efficient. The more efficient we are, the better we're able to serve you with news, sports, features, and advertising.

So, if you see a "For Sale" sign at 100 West Main St., it doesn't mean we're going anywhere. We're here to stay. We're just implementing ways to make sure that happens.

SDU History

Since I'm talking about these minor changes, here's a look back at just how central this newspaper has been to this community.

The Union Publishing Co. began printing the "Shelbyville Weekly Union" on May 9, 1863. John W. Johnson was encouraged by Judge Samuel W. Moulton and W. J. Henry to establish the paper with their financial help. The Union office was located over Rompfs Grocery Store, on the south side of Main Street and opposite Thornton's Bank.

On July 4, 1864, Johnson sold one-half interest to John A. Young. The firm continued until Feb. 13,1865, when Young became sole owner. After a brief period, Young sold the paper to Richard Couch. On March 2,1867, P. T. Martin bought one-half interest in the paper and later assumed full ownership. Couch remained in the Union until July 27,1867, when he sold his interest to P. T. Martin.

Martin was the editor and publisher until March 2, 1871, when he sold part interest to his brother Elgin H. Martin. The Martin brothers were joined by another brother, Horace L. Martin, in August of 1872.

In December of 1873, Parker T. Martin sold his interest to the two other brothers. On Dec. 18, 1873 "Shelby County" was dropped and the word "Shelbyville" substituted. The "Shelbyville Union" continued until the late 1940s. Horace L. Martin became sole owner of the Union in December of 1874. On Jan. 22, 1887, Horace Martin published Shelby County's first daily newspaper, naming it "The Daily Union." During this time, the SDU was printed in the building later occupied by Wilco's Tavern.

In 1890, still another brother, Harry M. Martin, became editor of "The Daily." In 1898, "The Daily" editor was James L. Darby and the office was moved to West Main Street. When Horace Martin died, "The Union" became the property of Walter Headen, George Rhoads and William Beem. In 1910, Headen and Rhoads built the Union Building at 100 West Main, after moving a private residence from the corner lot to another site. During the depression years the paper was owned by W. H. Taylor, Frances Draper (Headen's daughter) and Bessie Rhoads (wife of George).

November 1, 1941, R. L. Frazier became owner and with Tony Storm published the paper until Frazier's death in 1974. In 1956, Frazier also, purchased the Shelbyville Democrat. The Shelby County Leader went out of print the same year. In the mid 1950s, Frazier's two children, George and Frances, began working at their father's paper.

In the 1960s, the Saturday edition was discontinued. The 1970s saw the "Union Publishing Company" printing summer lake editions to serve the Lake Shelbyville visitors during tourist season. Remodeling work was underway in 1975, giving the Union Building a facelift, both inside and out.

The Daily Union was run by George and Frances Frazier until France's death in 1996. George became sole owner and publisher until the paper was sold in May of 1999 to Hollinger International. Hollinger ran the paper for about a year and a half before the paper was again purchased by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., which still owns it today.

Jeff Long can be reached at jeff.long@shelbyvilledailyunion.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 129

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