POMEROY — On Friday afternoon, we turned out the lights for the final time at the office The Daily Sentinel has called home for nearly 50 years.
That building at 111 Court St. has served as the home of Meigs County’s newspaper since the late 1960s, when Farmers Bank moved from the building into its location on West Second Street.
Established in 1948, The Daily Sentinel (or just The Sentinel in some of the early years) may not be at its familiar location on Court Street, but rest assured we are not far away (just down the street) and will continue to be part of the Meigs County community, providing daily news to Meigs County and beyond.
The move is bittersweet for some inside the office, as well as some in the community. As people say, “If the walls could talk.” I’m sure there would be many stories and laughs, some of which made it in print, and others which never left those four walls.
As we prepared to move out of the office where I have spent a small portion of my journalism career (about two-and-a-half years), I wanted to reflect back on the past of the Sentinel and what the future may hold.
So where do you go when you work at the newspaper and want to look back at the past — the digitized microfilms at the Meigs County Library.
While the Sentinel, according to information I found at the office, dates back to 1948, the first edition on microfilm was July 16, 1949.
So that will be the point where we start — July 16, 1949. The front page of The Sentinel was a mix of local news, state news and national news, including Sunday Creek Coal Company building near Cheshire. Like news, sports also featured some local, regional and national coverage, much the way the sports pages still do today.
Some of the names of businesses and individuals have also remained the same over the years, as have some of the topics that make headlines in the daily editions.
Headlines in the 1960s included the Route 33 project which would place the four-lane road from Darwin to Rocksprings. Some 40 years later, Route 33 was again in the news in the early 2000s as Route 33 again traded in some curvy roads for a new highway between Athens and Pomeroy, as well as Pomeroy to Ravenswood, W.Va. Only time will tell if another project on Route 33 will make headlines 40 years from now.
In July 1967, Ohio Power Company (eventually AEP) made headlines, purchasing 750 acres in the Cheshire area. In recent weeks, the company has made headlines for selling the power plant located in the same area.
Charles Chancey also made headlines in 1967, returning to Meigs as football coach. Chancey would coach the Marauders for the next two decades. Now, it is his son, Mike Chancey, and his football team who are making headlines.
The year 1967 was also big for the Sentinel itself as that was the time in which Bob Wingett, who served as publisher, purchased the 111 Court St. property and Bob and Charlene Hoeflich joined the paper.
The Hoeflichs had been Meigs County correspondents for the Athens Messenger before coming over to the Sentinel in April 1967. Bob Hoeflich served as the paper’s general manager/editor from that time until the late 1980s when Charlene Hoeflich became general manager/editor. Charlene Hoeflich remained at the Sentinel until 2014.
While the faces in the office and the names in the paper have changed over the years, one thing remains the same — the Sentinel is here to provide local news coverage to the area.
One difference I did notice when looking at the older editions, compared to today’s papers, is the amount of personal news that appeared in the editions. For the record, which now includes marriage licenses, court news and bits of other information once listed all of the admissions to the hospital, along with visiting hours and information. With current HIPAA laws, it is hard for me to imagine day in which information such as that was made public, let alone printed for everyone to read.
There also seems to be more photos and color in the paper in recent years. I think we can chalk that one up to changes in technology.
I am sure there have been many other changes along the way — some for the better and some not so much — but the thing that remains at the end of the day is that the Sentinel, and its sister papers in Gallipolis and Point Pleasant, remain dedicated to providing local news coverage to the area’s residents.
Beginning on Tuesday, visit us at our new office at 109 W. Second St. in Pomeroy, conveniently located at the intersection of Second Street and Mulberry Avenue. Our phone number remains the same at 740-992-2155.