Whatever other benefits daily publication of the Trib may have
conferred on the community, one is very tangible and—if you wanted to
rummage through the old boxes and file drawers piled in our
offices—conceivably even quantifiable: it’s given hundreds and hundreds of
Duneland kids their first job, as paper carriers.
Prior to Monday, April 3, 1961, you got your weekly Trib, published
on Wednesdays, in one of two ways: either you bought it at a local drug or
grocery store or you got it in the mail on Thursdays.
“A lot of men riding the train would get off in the Downtown, go buy a paper
at the drug store on Wednesday, and take it home,” current publisher—then
managing editor—Warren H. Canright remembers.
One of the basic ideas behind daily publication, though, was timely
reporting, which would have meant next to nothing if subscribers did not, in
fact, receive their newspapers on the day of publication. So a home
delivery operation was established by circulation manager George Bourne, the
brother of Canright’s wife, Betty. Weeks in advance of the inaugural daily
edition, Bourne painstakingly mapped the delivery routes, recruited the kids
who would walk them, and trained them.
The first 20 carriers (see any familiar names?):
•In Chesterton: David Clark, Roy Shepard, Jerry Flatz, John Kosmatka,
Charles Feete, Thomas Lee, Paul Hrapek, Dick Nelson, Robert Samands, Larry
Putchaven, Jim Kosmatka, Jack McBride.
•In Porter: Kenneth Johnson, Stephen Fuller.
•East Oakhill Road and Waverly Road: Bobby Weeks.
•Tremont North: Sam Arnold.
•Tremont South: Douglas Pell.
•Graham Woods: Kurt Dasse.
•Furnessville: Sally Bley.
•Portchester (now Burns Harbor): Donald Callaway.
What did the kids do with their route money? Tom Lee, one of the original
20, recalls. “I delivered papers through high school and the best thing I
could spend my money on was dates. My parents didn’t give me a dime. So I
spent my paper money on dates. And on BBs for my Daisy. A pack of BBs cost
25 cents and I’d buy packs of BBs for my Daisy.”
Current managing editor Dave Canright—who learned the business literally
from the pavement up—dropped his route money at State Park Drugs in the 100
block of Broadway. “Vanilla cokes at the soda fountain and comic books,
Sergeant Rock and a bunch of Superman that would be worth a
million dollars today if I hadn’t thrown them away. My parents wouldn’t let
me get comic books, so I’d buy one, read it while I was walking my route,
and then throw it away before I got home.”
Lee has one other specific memory. “My parents were quite happy when the
paper went daily. I remember them saying ‘Now we don’t have to wait a week
to see who passed away.’ Before I’d hear them say ‘Oh, darn, we missed that
funeral.’ So they were glad.”
You could also still buy the Trib at the store for 5 cents per copy
(a quarter a week, a buck per month), while the subscription rate “by
carrier boy” (or girl: Sally Bley in Furnessville) was the same: $1 per
If carrier service was available in your area, however, you could not
get a mail subscription, which the Trib now reserved for folks who
lived in the unincorporated rural areas (cost: $7 per year, $4 for six
months, $2.50 for three months). Those folks continued to receive their
daily Trib—as they’d received their weekly one—on the day after
As it happened, the Trib actually experienced an initial drop
in circulation after going daily, when the rural subscribers found day-after
mail delivery—five times a week—a little overwhelming. “They were all right
getting a weekly in the mail but they couldn’t cope mentally with getting a
daily in the mail the next day,” Canright says. “Eventually we went into
home delivery with the drivers, after one of the guys delivering bundles to
the carrier boys said ‘I can just as well deliver papers on my way.’ That
kind of eased us into the motor routes.”
For the record: there are now 46 walking delivery routes and nine motor
Some Blasts from
Plenty of other people, on the other hand, liked the daily format and put
their money where their mouths were: by buying ads congratulating the
Trib on its venture.
The Monday, April 3, 1961, edition carried good wishes from Vawter Food
Center at Eighth Street and Broadway; from Lowenstine’s in Valparaiso; a
full-page ad from Chesterton State Bank; and another from a host of Porter
businesses: Porter Carry Out, Porter Hardware, Porter Barber Shop Meltz’s
Inn, Collins Shell Service, Imhof Pharmacy, Vi’s Apparel Shop, Pillman’s
Spot Lite Food Store, Tilden’s Feed & Supply, First State Bank of Porter,
Seter, and Porter Lumber & Coal Company.
And in later editions there were congratulatory Voices of the People too:
from Aileen Trump of the League of Women Voters of Westchester Township and
Al Krieg of U.S. Steel Corporation.
But give the last word to Ione F. Harrington in her VOP on April 3:
“The roots of the Chesterton Tribune are deep in the heart of
Chesterton, Porter, and Westchester Township. Involved citizens, business,
industry, clubs, schools, and churches are deeply indebted to our paper for
its excellent reporting, its integrity, its loyalty and service to our
community through the years.
“‘Pride in one’s community is the greatest gift an individual or business
can contribute to that community.’ The Chesterton Tribune is
demonstrating that faith and pride by its decision.”