1981 front page

On June 18, 2019, LNP celebrated its 225th anniversary.

The earliest newspaper to which today’s LNP traces its roots was the Lancaster Journal, first published on June 18, 1794, by William Hamilton and Henry Willcocks from a news office located in a tavern building at the King Street site of the current LNP building.

To celebrate 225 years of Lancaster newspapers, we present this series of 52 front pages from the history of the newspapers which would eventually become LNP. 

Reagan shot

On March 21, 1981, President Ronald Reagan visited Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., and experienced what he would later call a premonition:

“I looked up at the presidential box above the stage where Abe Lincoln had been sitting the night he was shot and felt a curious sensation. … I thought that, even with all the Secret Service protection we now had, it was probably still possible for someone who had enough determination to get close enough to the president to shoot him.”

Ten days later, gunman John Hinckley shot six bullets from a revolver in the direction of President Reagan outside of the Washington Hilton hotel. Though none of the six shots hit the president directly, one bullet ricocheted off the presidential limousine, struck Reagan and lodged in his lung less than an inch from his heart. Bystanders, including White House Press Secretary James Brady and Secret Service agents Tim McCarthy and Jerry Parr, were also hit.

Prior to the attempt, Hinckley had developed an obsession with the actress Jodi Foster after seeing her in the 1976 film “Taxi Driver.” After sending volumes of letters with no response, Hinckley decided that the best way for Foster to notice him was to get her attention by assassinating the president.

According to the front page of the Lancaster New Era, local citizens uniformly reported being sad, but ultimately not surprised with the course of actions.

“I recalled 18 years ago when President Kennedy was shot,” explained Ken Schuler. “Those 18 years have taken such a toll on me – that yesterday I went on with my normal business. Please understand, it’s not that I’m callous, but what’s happened – It’s becoming a normal occurrence and it’s having a detrimental effect on society.”

Hinckley was declared not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982, causing a public outcry strong enough to spur Congress to rewrite insanity defense laws.

Despite losing nearly half of the blood in his body on the day of the shooting, Reagan would return to the White House for work only a few weeks later, though he would never walk down a public sidewalk as president again.

Sources: LNP archives; res.dallasnews.com; millercenter.org.