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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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Grand River Times

Grand River Times

GRHC - August 23rd, 2010

George Pattison founded the Grand River Times in 1837.    



In the fall of 1836 the Kent Company purchased, for about $4,000, the office material of the Niagara Falls Journal, and shipped it from Buffalo on the steamer Don Quixote.  The boat was wrecked off Thunder Bay Island, and the press and material were transferred to a sailing vessel, that reached Grand Haven late in the season. 

When it was landed, George W. Pattison purchased the printing outfit for $4,100.  During the winter he had it brought up the river on the ice by dog teams - six dogs to a sled.  The sled, carrying the press broke through the ice some miles below the Rapids, and went to the bottom of the river, but the press was fished out and brought to town. 

Nearly all the prominent citizens of the village were at the newspaper office to see the first issue of the Times come off the Washington hand press on April 18, 1837. Printed every Saturday morning, a prepaid annual subscription for the four-page, tabloid-size newspaper cost $2.50. Louis Campau subscribed for 500 copies for a year, paying $1,000 cash in advance, and the Kent Company also took 500 subscriptions.

The first copy was printed on silk-satin, and given to Campau.  Others were printed on cloth and distributed for preservation as souvenirs.  To get news from Detroit required from four to six days. Politically, a non-partisan newspaper, both Whigs and Democrats were given opportunity to air their views in its columns, which they did, most eagerly.


Full Details

TitleGrand River Times
KeywordsGlance at the Past, history, Grand River Times, newpapers, radio, WYCE, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission, Podcast
Pubdate StringAugust 23rd, 2010

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