A very important milestone for our family has commenced, the start of our 100th year in business as the publishers of The Lincoln County News. This is an extremely exciting milestone, one that we are both proud of and honored by: proud to be a part of this community by capturing the history of its people and happenings, and honored to be trusted with the responsibility of operating the community’s newspaper.
On Dec. 9, 1920, Samuel H. Erskine produced his first edition as publisher of this paper. The edition this week marks the 5,167th consecutive issue published by the Erskine-Roberts family. This has been, and continues to be, no small feat. While everyone at the company works hard to bring you the news of Lincoln County each and every week, some weeks pose larger challenges than others.
The edition from July 22, 1943 came after the town of Damariscotta suffered a major fire which consumed six buildings, one of those being the Lincoln County News office. Seven other buildings were damaged in that Monday fire. While the only thing saved at the news was the mailing list, through some sort of miracle and intense week, the paper came out on deadline.
Another challenging time was Nov. 2, 2017. A severe fall windstorm swept through the area on Sunday night into Monday of that week, leveling trees and removing power from most of the county. Our office was without power for Monday and most of Tuesday. As we scurried around to run computers with generators to produce the news, there was no estimate on when power would be restored to our facility. Finally, at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, we got power back and were able to finish preparations and print the four sections of the paper the next morning.
While these are only two examples, we are sure each of the last 5,166 editions posed some sort of unique challenge to those responsible for putting the paper together.
There have been several editors as we start our 100th year, but there have been only four publishers. Samuel H. Erskine was publisher until his daughter, Dorothy Roberts, took over the role on Aug. 26, 1943. Samuel Erskine Roberts took over as publisher in 1966, and later passed the reins to his son, Christopher Allan Roberts, in November of 1992.
Management today includes four from the Roberts family. Christopher remains as publisher and wife Paula as the sports reporter. Their sons, John and Allan Roberts, represent the fifth generation of family ownership as associate publishers. Samuel E. Roberts played a major role in the paper until his death last November, and his wife, Abbie, a former editor and owner, continues to visit the office on a regular basis.
This is a milestone for our family and the people who work tirelessly to bring you the news each week, and we want to share this celebration with you, the members of the community we serve. Over the course of this year, we will bring some behind-the-scenes looks into the newspaper, focusing on one element at a time, explaining the differences between the process 100 years ago and now. We have some exciting events in the works, including tours, features, and an open house in December 2020 where we will welcome the community into our Mills Road plant for a celebration, and to look toward our collective bright future.
We are also launching a campaign to hear from you, our loyal readers, to feature each week in the paper. Over the 52 editions, we want to hear your thoughts and/or reflections on what role this newspaper has played in your lives and the community as a whole. Your feedback and suggestions are also earnestly solicited, whether you have ideas on ways to improve or things we should leave alone and not tamper with. We can be reached at 563-3171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Much has happened to the towns, communities, our company, and the industry during this past century. One thing has remained consistent: overwhelming, unwavering support of local journalism from the community we serve. For this, we are eternally grateful. You are the reason we continue to diligently deliver the news on time, each and every week. Through your support, we look forward to keeping The Lincoln County News in the family and this community for many generations to come. This is, after all, your community, your news, and your hometown paper.