Overland Trail Museum Celebrates Grand Opening of Print Shop and Media Center – Sterling Journal-Advocate

  • Former journalist LeRoy Reitz, right, and current Journal-Advocate editor Jeff Rice examine an Intertype built by the Intertype Manufacturing Company in September 1920 for the Denver Post newspaper during the grand opening of the new printing plant and the Overland Trail Museum Media Center. Thursday September 8, 2022. It was used to decorate the weekly “Empire” of the newspaper. (Callie Jones/Sterling Journal-Lawyer)

  • Benjamin Franklin (David C. Wood) recounts his days at...

    Benjamin Franklin (David C. Wood) talks about his days in the print business at the grand opening of the Overland Trail Museum’s new Print Shop and Media Center on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022. (Callie Jones/Sterling Journal-Advocate)

  • Delinda Korrey, left, and Ken McDowell, former owners and founders...

    Delinda Korrey, left, and Ken McDowell, former owners and founders of the South Platte Sentinel, pose for a photo with Marilee Johnson, second from right, former Sentinel editor, and Tami Brown at the grand opening of the new print shop at the Overland Trail Museum. and Media Center on Thursday, September 8, 2022. The center offers detailed information about the Sentinel and the Journal-Advocate. (Callie Jones/Sterling Journal-Advocate)

  • Earl's Print Shop is displayed inside the new Overland Trail Print Museum...

    Earl’s Print Shop is displayed inside the new Print Shop and Media Center at the Overland Trail Museum. Earl Franklin Jr. had a long career in the printing business, beginning as a sterotype and pressman at the Sterling Advocate. In 1952 Earl and his wife, Janice, leased the printing business and operated it as the Franklin Printing Company and in 1955 Earl and his brother, Royal, opened the Royal Printing Company which Earl ran until in 1996. (Callie Jones/Sterling Journal-Advocate)

  • Guests look at various printing equipment during the grand opening...

    Guests view various printing equipment at the grand opening of the Overland Trail Museum’s new print shop and media center on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022. (Callie Jones/Sterling Journal-Advocate)

  • Guests view a collection of vintage cameras at the...

    Guests look at a collection of vintage cameras at the grand opening of the Overland Trail Museum’s new print shop and media center on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022. (Callie Jones/Sterling Journal-Advocate)

  • The children and other guests tried their hand at printing using...

    Children and other guests tried their hand at printing using stamps and a manual typewriter at the grand opening of the new Print Shop and Media Center at the Overland Trail Museum on Thursday, September 8, 2022. (Callie Jones/Sterling Journal-Advocate)

  • Photographs and printing materials fill the new print shop and...

    Photographs and printing materials fill the Overland Trail Museum’s new print shop and media center. (Callie Jones/Sterling Journal-Lawyer)

  • Guests at the grand opening of the new Overland Trail Museum...

    Guests at the grand opening of the Overland Trail Museum’s new print shop and media center on Thursday, September 8, 2022 were also able to peek into the storage of the museum’s collections. (Callie Jones/Sterling Journal-Lawyer)

  • Guests at the grand opening of the new Overland Trail Museum...

    Guests at the grand opening of the Overland Trail Museum’s new print shop and media center on Thursday, September 8, 2022, browse through the Journal-Advocate and South Platte Sentinel archives housed in collection storage at side. (Callie Jones/Sterling Journal-Lawyer)

Overland Trail Museum officially unveiled its new building Thursday night with a grand opening celebration. The new Print Shop and Media Center offers visitors a chance to see various printing equipment, including a printing press and a Linotype machine, and also learn about the long history of newspapers in Logan County.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said curator Kay Rich.

The museum’s former printing press bore the brunt of the South Platte River flood in 2013 and much of the printing equipment was damaged and has not been on display since. Rich didn’t know the exact cost of restoring the equipment, but said “it was huge.”

“I have never appreciated the City and our insurance so much in my life. When the flood hit we couldn’t get into the building for about seven days and it was hot, it was September, it was hot and so everything just lay there rusty and moldy and it wasn’t. was just a nightmare,” Rich explained. “Luckily everything was restored, then we went through the process of building a building, then COVID happened, the opening was scheduled for spring 2020, COVID happened and we didn’t been able to get the sand from the sidewalks in, we took it out to bid repeatedly and everyone was so far behind it took a long time. So, we are just happy that this print shop is finally open. »

Guests at the grand opening included a few members of the Logan County Historical Society; longtime retired Logan County reporters Myron House and LeRoy Reitz; former owners and founders of the South Platte Sentinel, Delinda Korrey and Ken McDowell; former Sentinel staff and current Journal-Advocate/Sentinel staff.

Following Rich’s remarks, Benjamin Franklin, played by David C. Wood, spoke about his years in the printing business. He pointed out that most of the equipment in the museum’s print shop was very modern to him and came after his time.

Franklin worked with his father for a time in his soap and candle making business, but he hated it. Then his brother James returned from England, where he worked as a printer, and at age 12 Franklin became his apprentice to learn how to be a printer. He stayed there until he ran away at age 17.

After that, Franklin fled to Philadelphia, where he remained for the rest of his life and found a job as a printer for a Jewish man, Samuel Keimer, and helped him get his printing house in order. . They began to put out a much better product than ever before, so the Royal Governor of Pennsylvania, William Keith, came to Franklin and said he would help fund a new printing press.

Under his guidance, Franklin traveled to London to buy equipment and start a business. Keith was to write letters of recommendation and a letter of credit to purchase the press and type, paper and necessary equipment and supplies, but to Franklin’s surprise, Keith’s letters never arrived.

When he got to England he didn’t have a penny, so Franklin had to go and work with a man named Samuel Palmer, who had one of the big printing companies in London, and then he worked for John Watts, who had the largest printing press in all of London,

There, Franklin learned that he was the first American man and settler able to engrave copper plates, and he learned to cast type or create new type.

He eventually returned home, started his own printing company and eventually bought out Samuel Keimer and started publishing the Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin made it for the first half of his life and sold it when he was 42.

Although he focused on other things later, he always had a printing press. He made two more trips to London and one to Paris and he always had a little little printing press with him so he could print stuff and post notices or make little newspapers.

Franklin, who had with him a copy of the very last Poor Richard’s Almanack he ever produced and other hand-picked productions he wrote, told the public that working in a press is not at all difficile, “the hardest thing about being a printer is setting type and being able to write upside down and upside down,” he said.

After his talk, guests watched museum staff member Zach Pomeroy demonstrate how to operate the small red printing press that is part of the exhibit. They also explored the four exhibition spaces, including a commercial machine area housing the first typewriters, an adding machine, a switchboard and more; a camera and theater area with a large collection of cameras, including early cameras, seats from the Sterling Municipal Auditorium, speakers from the Starlite drive-in and a photo collection from the official photographer of Logan County; and a third larger area filled with newspaper machines including a printing press, intertype, and tape casting.

In the children’s area, young and old tried out different forms of printing using stamps and a manual typewriter and were also able to use an old telephone.

Guests were also able to take a look at the museum’s collections storage, which is not normally open to the public, which is next to the printing press and includes the archives of the Journal-Advocate and Sentinel, and enjoy of a hamburger dinner at the High Plains Education Center.

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