Ghosts of Main St.; The Marion Dispatch

April 27, 2018

By Julie Traynor
Correspondent

The Marion Dispatch, which we know as the Marion Press today, was born out of a great clamor for news in the young settlement of Marion. Newspapers and any kind of news at all were in high demand and somewhat of a rarity in this corner of Osceola County in the 1880’s and ‘90’s. More than one would be newsman gave it a try before the Marion Dispatch immerged the winner. It was formally established in 1890, coming of age on the heels of the Village herself.

Early in its history Marion’s newspaper was housed in various places, quite possibly even in the back rooms of an early drug store. The exact location of the Dispatch at the time of the fire is not entirely agreed upon today. It is sure that it was in close proximity to the initial flash point of the fire.

Photo lines: The Marion Dispatch offices were located in the rear of the Hall Building in 1910. Today the former Post Office and Press building is Artesian Springs Medical Center. Photo courtesy of the MAHS collection.

The Marion Dispatch offices were located in the rear of the Hall Building in 1910. Today the former Post Office and Press building is Artesian Springs Medical Center. Photo courtesy of the MAHS collection.

The Marion Dispatch/Marion Press has published without interruption each week since the first edition by Sadler and Hess. In the early days this was no easy feat for the fledgling news. The paper was entirely destroyed by the Great Fire of 1904 when it occupied rented rooms near ground zero. Twenty-two Main Street businesses were destroyed in the conflagration.

Then owner/editor C.T. Sadler, who also lost his entire household, immediately ordered new presses. He also accepted the offer from his friend and colleague C.R. Burleson of the McBain Chronicle to use his space and equipment. The Dispatch was printed in McBain for four months until new space was once again available in Marion.

The Marion Dispatch returned to the Village and settled into digs in the back of E.J. Hall’s new building on the northeast corner of Mill and Main, behind the Marion Post Office space. The Dispatch’s entry faced Mill Street. The presses were in the basement. The well known Post Office entry was on Main Street.

C.T. Sadler sold the business to Dewey & Rouse in 1905.  But this was not the last of Sadler. He came to the rescue of the Press at four different times early in its story and was the sole owner from 1922-1944.

 From the early 1920’s until 1953, the Marion Press kept offices in the Wangen Block, next to the Drug Store. Eventually this space became part of Sible’s Hardware. Today it is Dynamic Physical Therapy.        In the foreground is Mark Cushman and his Cushman scooter. Original photo from the Fern Files.

From the early 1920’s until 1953, the Marion Press kept offices in the Wangen Block, next to the Drug Store. Eventually this space became part of Sible’s Hardware. Today it is Dynamic Physical Therapy.
       In the foreground is Mark Cushman and his Cushman scooter. Original photo from the Fern Files.

The Marion Press and Job Printers, moved into space next to the Rexall Drug Store, recently vacated by the Struble Hardware. C.T. Sadler returned once again and he and his crew would call this home through the remainder of his ownership and into the tenure of Smith and Smith Publishing, of Evart, and managing editor, Claude Sadler. The Sadlers were not related. 
Bob Sharp took the position of manager and editor of the Press in 1949. In 1953 the Smith’s, who also published the Evart Review, built a new block building across Main Street from the old offices. The paper would call this very 1950’s style building home until 2011, when building and business parted ways. The newspaper moved into rented rooms once again.

The Marion Press was purchased by current owner, Mike Wilcox in 2013, and although The Press no longer has a physical presence in the Village, it may be reached by phone and a number has not changed since 1959. They may also be reached via email and the internet. The physical Press Office is now in Clare.





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