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.
This Lancaster New Era front page from 1926 features a wide range of stories, including one with a massive headline about a storm pummeling the New Jersey coast. There’s also an item about a potential sale of Pennsylvania Rail Road property to the city of Lancaster, and a piece with photos of local National Guard units leaving the city on trains, ultimately bound for Fortress Monroe, Virginia, for training.
There are also two items that deal, in different ways, with the ongoing sesquicentennial celebrations, marking the 150th birthday of the United States.
First, just under the National Guard photos, is a short piece promoting a “Midsummer Blizzard of Bargains” – a sesquicentennial sale in which businesses across the city of Lancaster would cooperate to offer bargains and special offers and “to emphasize the steady growth in merchandising methods in Lancaster during 150 years of American Independence and progress.” A special supplement to the newspaper highlighting the sales was said to be forthcoming, and plans were in place to circulate it not only throughout Lancaster County, but also in Chester, Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon and York counties. Thousands of shoppers were expected to converge on the city for the sales event.
Second, a story on the right side of the page details an ongoing conflict in Philadelphia over that city’s debate about ”blue laws” – laws prohibiting certain activities on Sundays – and how they would be applied to sesquicentennial celebrations. The director of the sesquicentennial exhibits intended to test the laws by opening the exposition on Sundays, and was opposed by several religious organizations. A warrant was even issued for the director’s arrest.
At the same time, the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team was planning to test the blue laws as well, scheduling a Sunday game in spite of the likely result that it would be shut down by police. The manager of the Athletics at the time was one Cornelius McGillicuddy, better known as Connie Mack, whose name later graced the Philadelphia stadium where the Athletics (and then the Phillies) played from 1953 until 1970. (Incidentally, the Athletics’ efforts to play Sunday ball were unsuccessful – blue laws banning baseball remained in effect until 1931.)