A Northern Virginia Daily special anniversary section

Celebrating 75 years: Index of stories
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Did you know...

From Daily Staff Reports

Shenandoah Publishing House printed many items

E.E. Keister incorporated Shenandoah Publishing House in 1928.

Keister already had been printing numerous histories and other books, as well as the four newspapers he owned, which were:

  • The weekly Strasburg News, which he purchased in 1912.
  • The semi-weekly Woodstock Times, which he established in 1919 and later combined with the Edinburg Sentinel.
  • The semi-weekly Front Royal Record, established in 1920.
  • The weekly Marshall Chief Justice at Marshall in Fauquier County, established in 1928.
On Sept. 15, 1932, Keister published the first issue of The Northern Virginia Daily, which was a merger of his four weekly and semi-weekly newspapers. He hoped that, in publishing only one newspaper, he could rid his company of its weakest link -- the four smaller papers -- and he would be in a prime position to do business after the Depression ended.

SPH now publishes the Daily, its accompanying special inserts, the Shenandoah County Shopper and the Warren County Shopper, which appear once a mnth, and special sections.

It takes a lot of paper to print the Daily daily

Shenandoah Publishing House uses almost enough newsprint to circle the globe each year.

The circumference of the Earth at the equator is 24,901.55 miles, and SPH uses 21,500 miles of newsprint each year. The Northern Virginia Daily and its products use 13,000 miles of newsprint.

The newsprint is delivered in rolls, each weighing about 800 pounds.

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, the Daily's circulation average for the six-month period ending March 31 was 16,228.

Those numbers reflect steady growth over the newspaper's 75-year history.

According to the Daily's 25th anniversary edition, published on Sept. 14, 1957, the newspaper used 1,176 miles of newsprint (355 rolls) in 1956 to produce 2,772,000 individual copies of the daily product. That was about four times the amount used in 1934.

The newspaper's original subscription list included 4,000 names. The Daily printed 6,000 copies of its first edition in 1932.

By 1956, the circulation had grown to 8,341.

Longtime employee was one of first newsboys

When the first issue of The Northern Virginia Daily rolled off the press in 1932, Robert Funkhouser made sure it got to readers' doorsteps.

Funkhouser, now 87, of Strasburg, was 12 years old when the Daily was founded.

He says he heard about the opening for a newspaper delivery boy through his aunt, who knew the daily newspaper was starting and gave the staff his name.

Funkhouser, one of five paperboys, would come into the office each day at 6 a.m. and then would ride his bicycle around town for about an hour delivering the paper.

He says that he rode through the rain and the snow, sometimes pausing at the homes of good customers, who allowed him to come inside to warm up before he continued his ride. Delivering the newspaper was his before-school job for five years. In 1940, he began working in the mail room of Shenandoah Publishing House, and later he became a press operator.

Funkhouser left after 37 years as a pressman when Shenandoah Publishing House stopped printing books. He worked at a print shop in Stephens City until he retired at age 65.

What he remembers most about his time at the Daily is having many nice co-workers.

Keister's 'Church Page' foundation for service

The Keister Advertising Service Inc. was the medium for promoting and handling the "Support the Church" advertisement series in American and Canadian newspapers.

Through his travels, E.E. Keister learned what other newspapers were presenting as church pages and was unimpressed with their format and illustrations. He wanted to offer readers better illustrations and photographs -- and an inspiring message.

The first advertisement, "Faith Alone Can Guide," appeared in 12 newspapers and began on Aug. 5, 1944. By the end of 1945, the ad was running in 60 newspapers.

The church page eventually appeared weekly in more than 1,000 newspapers throughout the United States, Canada and several European countries and was responsible for increased church attendance throughout the country.

The Northern Virginia Daily still publishes the church page on Saturdays. The page is now produced by Keister-Williams Newspaper Services Inc.

Other interesting events happened on Sept. 15

The Northern Virginia Daily published its first issue on Sept. 15, 1932. What else happened on this date in history?

In 1857, William Howard Taft, later the 27th president of the United States, was born in Cincinnati.

In 1862, Confederate forces captured Harpers Ferry, Va., now a part of West Virginia.

In 1935, Nazi Germany adopted a new national flag with the swastika, and Nuremberg Laws deprived German Jews of citizenship.

In 1946, a swarm of gnats caused a Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs game to be postponed.

In 1949, "The Lone Ranger" premiered on ABC.

In 1978, Muhammad Ali beat Leon Spinks for the world heavyweight boxing title.

In 1981, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Sandra Day O'Connor as the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1981, the John Bull become the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world, having operated for the first time in New Jersey on the same date in 1831.

Many have celebrated anniversaries in 2007

The Northern Virginia Daily is not alone in celebrating a significant anniversary in 2007.

Also marking 75 years this year are the Virginia State Police and the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival's Firefighter's Parade in Winchester. The parade is the largest and one of the oldest annual firefighters' parades in the world, according to www.thebloom.com.

May marked the 80th anniversary of the Apple Blossom Festival itself.

Also, Wilkins Shoe Center in Winchester turns 60 this year.

In August, Shenandoah County hosted its 90th county fair.

First Bank and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Winchester-Frederick County both celebrate their 100th anniversaries this year.

Meanwhile, Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America, marked 400 years since its founding.

Daily strives to be friend of the environment

The Northern Virginia Daily strives to be an environmentally friendly business, recycling almost everything it uses.

The paper on which the Daily is published is 100-percent recycled, according to Harry Long, operations manager for the newspaper.

All of the ink used in production is soy-based -- made from soy bean oil -- and is better for the environment than petroleum-based inks.

The film used in the pre-press area formerly contained silver, but all of the silver has been reclaimed and removed from the premises. Now all film and film plates are recycled.

The Daily recently purchased a pH neutralizer, which ensures that the water is at the proper pH level.

Also, all fluorescent light bulbs are taken away and incinerated.

The Daily takes such precautions to help protect the environment and to avoid problems with the Environmental Protection Agency. Because of the Daily's efforts, the EPA has never needed to visit the business to conduct an investigation.

Daily actively participates in numerous area events

The Northern Virginia Daily sponsors numerous programs in the community throughout the year.

The Daily is preparing for the ninth annual Magic of Reading Holiday Book Drive, which starts in November. New children's books are donated by area schools, scouting groups and individuals wishing to donate. The Daily then distributes the books to local charitable organizations, which give them to the area's neediest children as holiday gifts.

The newspaper also sponsors the annual Daily Classic Holiday Boys and Girls Basketball Tournament in late December. The event had a brief stint in the late 1980s and was resumed about five years ago.

This summer, the Daily is the media sponsor for the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs. In the past, the Daily has sponsored the free military band concert at the festival.

The Daily also co-sponsors the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival's First Bank Queen's Dinner with First Bank, and as part of the Newspaper In Education program, the Daily sponsors a school supplies drive.

Daily employees donate to the United Way each year, and the newspaper offers tours of the facility to schools and private groups by appointment.

Daily made appearance on David Letterman show

In May 2003, The Northern Virginia Daily earned a little star power when an issue made a cameo appearance on the "Late Show With David Letterman."

During a Monday night episode, Letterman held up the front page of a Saturday issue that showed sidekick and CBS Orchestra leader Paul Shaffer crowning Katherine Elizabeth Short as Queen Shenandoah LXXVI at the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester.

Festival President Kay Bolliger told the Daily at the time that Short came up with the idea to try to get Shaffer to mention his visit to the festival, and she called him and he agreed to do it. Bolliger then contacted the Daily's Winchester office to ask if someone could e-mail the front-page picture to CBS.

A Daily staff member, Charles Pannunzio, mailed the newspaper from Richmond on a Saturday morning, and it arrived at the Ed Sullivan Theater just moments before the next Monday's 5:30 p.m. taping, the Daily reported.

Shaffer had come to crown Short as a fill-in for her father, actor-comedian Martin Short.

Bureau secretary has been in post 54 years

Patsy Allamong, The Northern Virginia Daily's longest-serving employee, has worked in the newspaper's Winchester bureau for more than 50 years.

"I was hired to take care of the office," she says, but at times also sold advertising and wrote a social column.

"We didn't have the volume of business that we have now," she said. At the time, there was only one Winchester reporter, and she worked at night.

Now Allamong answers phones at the bureau, takes messages and writes up what is going on in the Winchester area.

"I've seen a lot of changes," she says, "technology, you know, being the biggest."

Last year, Patsy was one of the first 12 people, and the only woman, inducted into the Virginia Press Association's "Golden 50 Club." The club honors newspaper employees who have worked in the business for at least 50 years. The June 10, 2006, ceremony was part of the 125th Anniversary Celebration of the Virginia Press Association.

"It is just something else," she says of the experience. "I represented not only the Daily, but I represented the women."

"I have a lot of memories, good memories," she says of her career at the Daily. "I'm a people person ... I've met so many people, and ... I've just enjoyed working with all of them."

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