Historical Details

Lusk Herald Began 100 years ago

Courtesy of Library Archives, 07/09/1986

Founded by J. K. Calkins in a tent at Silver Cliff

by Keith Cerny, Lusk Herald Editor

Canvass flapped in the breeze as the final touches were put on a new publication hailing the advent of a Western frontier town - Lusk, Wyoming Territory.

The Lusk Herald began publication 100 years ago this week and has been published continuously since May 20, 1886. It was established in a tent in the old town of Silver Cliff by J. K. Calkins and was later moved to the present site of Lusk.

Calkins, a printer from Chadron, NE, started the Herald with "an old Washington hand press and a bucketful of type," given him by then Chadron Journal publisher Ed Egan.

In his inaugural edition, Calkins said, "We have named our paper THE LUSK HERALD, as we have positive, reliable information that our town will not be named Silver Cliff, but will probably be named Lusk, to correspond with the post office, and in honor of Mr. F. S. Lusk, an old and respected citizen.

"This name is widely and favorably known, and will be well received by all our citizens."

Less than a year after the first day of publication, The Herald was sold to James E. Mayes who was Calkins typesetter. Mayes continued to run the paper until he sold it to Mr. and Mrs. G. C. Forsythe in 1914.

In 1919, at the height of the oil boom, Boyd Burrowes felt Lusk should have a more up-to-date newspaper. He persuaded Martin C. Agnew and Ralph Olinger to buy The Herald, organize a stock company, buy new equipment, and get out a modern newspaper.

With Agnew's death, Burrowes and Olinger were left to manage The Herald with Burrowes eventually leaving "for greener pastures." Olinger than induced Mrs. Agnew (his sister-in-law and widow of martin Agnew) to take over the paper in an effort to salvage at least a part of the investment.

Mrs. Agnew and Olinger continued to run The Herald until Mrs. Agnew's marriage to James B. Griffith in April 1926. The Griffiths then acquired Olinger's interest and continued to run the paper as a partnership, the other stockholders having been bought out and the corporation dissolved.

In 1940, Griffith was elected Republican state chairman and was later appointed Commissioner of Public Lands for Wyoming. Gerald Bardo, "an experienced newspaper man and master printer," was hired.

Bardo took over management of the paper on Nov. 1, 1941, and in May 1945, he purchased half-interest in the Herald from the Griffiths. J. B. Griffith, who became nationally known for his colorful journalism and political forte, conveyed his interest in the paper to son Jim in January 1957.

About that same time, The Herald purchased the Lusk Free Lance from Ada Vogel. (See separate article,)

In December, 1959, The Herald purchased the mailing list of the Harrison Sun and began running a Sun section in The Herald. The elder Griffith died Sept 5, 1962, bringing to an end his long reign as a "GOP kingmaker."

With the purchase of the mailing list of the Sioux County News on May 11, 1961, the Herald began printing a special Sun section as the legal newspaper for Harrison and Sioux County. The back page was printed on a platen press in the back of the drug store at Harrison to meet Nebraska requirements.

When laws were changed to accommodate centralized printing, The Herald began printing the complete Harrison Sun at Lusk. The mailing list of the Sun was later sold to the Crawford Clipper.

On Jan 3, 1971, Jim Griffith sold his interest in The Herald to Walt Fernau, a longtime printer for the firm. Griffith entered politics and is presently completing his 16th year in Wyoming state government, presently serving as state auditor.

The Lusk Herald entered a new era on Feb. 12, 1976 when it was produced by the now conventional offset method. The Mieble flatbed press that served the Herald for 35 years after being moved to Lusk from Rock Springs was junked.

Bardo sold his half interest in The Herald to Robert and Pat Eikenberry on Sept. 1, 1978. The paper was then sold to Mike and Pat Lindsey of Torrington on June 1, 1983 and the printing shop and office products store were separated from the newspaper.

The Eikenberrys purchased Fernau's interest in the office products and printing business two years later and still maintain the business across the street from the Herald in downtown Lusk. The Herald operated in the Ranger Building, separate from the printing shop, two years prior to the sale to Lindsey.

Sale of The Herald ended a 47-year association with the newspaper for Walt Fernau who still assists the Eikenberry's at Lusk Office Products and Printing.

Lanelle Krueger was hired as editor and general manager with her husband Tom serving as advertising manager. (see note below)

With the Hurly's departure for Oregon in early 1986, Keith Cerny, a Nebraska native, took over as editor and general manager of The Lusk Herald. Other present staff members include Wade Kraft, advertising manager, and Anita Abel, office manager.

The Lusk Herald is presently located in a modern office building immediately adjacent to First Wyoming Bank. Computer typesetting equipment is used to produce the weekly editions and serve Lusk with a hometown, community newspaper.

Note: Lanelle Krueger served as editor from June 1, 1983 in alignment with the sale to the Lindsey's, through May, 1985. Tom and Jamie Phair Hurley followed Lanelle, with Jamie as Editor and General Manager, and Tom as Advertising Manager.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Bardo, Gerald (12/10/1908 - 06/09/2002) View Record
Obituary Olinger, Ralph (05/20/1885 - 02/06/1965) View Record
Obituary Vogel, Ada (12/22/1917 - 03/11/1986) View Record
Obituary Agnew, Martin (03/04/1882 - 07/27/1929) View Record