The Landmark begins 159th year of publication –


INCLUDING 124 ANNIVERSARIES AT DOWNTOWN PLATTE CITY

Another publication year.

The Platte County Landmark has now been continuously published for 159 years. The Landmark was founded in 1865, during the closing days of the Civil War. It is the oldest paper in Platte County. It is also older than Kansas City Star. Since its founding at the end of the Civil War, in 1865, The Landmark never missed a single week of publication.

Led by publishers who were unafraid, the newspaper’s debut edition hit the streets on Sept. 28, 1865, when the first Landmark was published at Weston with the motto “Remove not the ancient landmarks.” About six years later, The Landmark moved from Weston to Platte City, where it has since been published.

The Landmark opened in Platte City, Missouri in 1871. It then moved around the city to various downtown locations. In 1899 it settled in its current location at 252 Main Street.

Some History
The Landmark moved in to the building at 252 Main Street in March 1899. According to historical records, this building was constructed by Dr. G.W. Smith, as a pharmacy and post office. Verifying the post office history at this location, in 2017 on a dive into the building’s basement crawl space uncovered a section of post office boxes, with names of residents still attached on the back side of many of the boxes.

Later, a hardware store and grocery store occupied this building until the newspaper moved in.

The Landmark, in 1899 installed a large sheet-fed Babcock presses that were used until 1979. An gasoline engine powered the press initially until 1928 when an electrical motor was installed.

Max Jones, the former shop foreman of the previous owner, took over the management of the newspaper in 1916.

Max Jones became editor and publisher of The Landmark on January 1, 1918. Jones, who was 16 at the time of his apprenticeship, began working as a printer at The Landmark. Jones served as editor until his death in 1955.
The type had to be set by hand until 1923. A Linotype machine, purchased in May 1923 was installed. The Linotype machine allowed an operator to produce more type than five or six workers could by hand. The Landmark still has its Linotype in the window, which is visible to anyone passing by.

After Max Jones’ death in 1956, his widow, Lucile L. Jones, took over as editor and publisher, with Roland Giffee handling printing and press room duties. Mrs. Jones, in 1979, sold The Landmark newspaper to Dwayne Folley, the owner of two weeklies and a central print plant located in northeastern Kansas.

Foley had become familiar to Jones over the years. He was both a newspaperman as well as a pressman. Mrs. Jones would periodically ask him for help when the Babcock, Linotype or other Landmark machines broke down, or she needed more staff.

In the first edition under his ownership in November of 1979, Dwayne Foley switched The Landmark from the old hot lead (known as ‘letterpress’) style of printing to the offset method, the modern thing at the time.

Many of the older letterpress machines can be found at The Landmark today. These include the Linotype, typecase chests containing many drawers for handset type and a Babcock sheet fed press. In just two years, Landmark printer Roland Giffee sold two small job presses he used to print letterheads for Landmark, envelopes for Landmark, and flyers. The young letterpress printer in Kansas City refurbished them, and now they are back in use.

Dwayne, 50 years old, died suddenly in July 1980, just a few short months after he bought The Landmark. Ethel Mae Foley’s family and his widow continued to publish and own the newspaper. Clay McGinnis was the news editor at The Landmark between 1980 and 1993. He had previously worked as a veteran journalist for The Independence Examiner, Kansas City Area publications, and other Kansas City-area publications.

Ivan Foley, Dwayne Foley’s youngest son, is now in his 41st year at The Landmark, having started with reporting and managing duties in May of 1982. Foley took on the editor role after McGinnis’s death during heart surgery in 1992.

The Landmark made the leap into the world of computers a few months later, purchasing its first two desktop publishing machines in November 1993. The newspaper’s news and editorials began taking a more aggressive approach. Steadily throughout the next 15 years, The Landmark’s circulation grew to become the largest paid readership in the county, steadily building a statewide reputation for editorializing in strong fashion while informing and entertaining readers.

The Missouri Press Associations Better Newspaper Contest awarded many awards to the Missouri Press Association. Ivan Foley won the Tom and Pat Gish award for courage, integrity and tenacity in rural journalism. This was presented by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues of the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media.

THE LANDMARK BUILDING

Ivan Foley, his wife Linda and the Landmark building located at 252 Main Street, Platte City, were purchased by Ethel Mae Foley in 2002.

Ivan and Linda renovated 1869 Landmark’s exterior in 2008 to bring it back to its original appearance. Commercial Waterproofing of Parkville was hired to strip away paint that for years had covered the building’s original brick, tuckpointing the brick for a fresh look and adding water-repellant sealer.

Four new large arched-style windows were installed in the second floor to complete the project. JPI Glass Platte county installed the energy efficient aluminum windows.

The rehabilitation work was recognized by the City of Platte City, with Foleys being presented the first William Paxton Preservation Award for preserving Main Street’s architectural heritage. The award was given by Mayor Frank Offutt, and the Board of Aldermen of Platte City in March 2009.

ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY
The Landmark, a multi-media outlet for news, has incorporated video into its coverage in recent years.

The newspaper’s website at plattecountylandmark.com was revamped during the pandemic of 2020, debuting with its new look on May 1 of that year. With 252,000 impressions per month, it’s the most popular media site in the county. The Landmark’s website attracts national advertisers such as YouTubeTV, Nissan, Staples, Office Depot, Walgreens, and many more.

The Landmark has an occasional live video broadcast known as Landmark Live, hosted by Ivan Foley on the newspaper’s Facebook page. Landmark Live was launched in 2017 and is a humorous and informative show with Landmark staffers and special guests.

Cindy Rinehart is a graphic designer/office manager who has been with Landmark for 31 years.

Chris Kamler, a 12-year veteran columnist with The Rambling Moron, is also a contributor. Kamler is known as one of Kansas City’s most popular Twitter personalities. Guy Speckman’s entertaining Ponder the Thought is his fourth year as a Landmark columnist. Previously, he was the owner/publisher and editor of the Savannah Reporter – a weekly newspaper published in Savannah Missouri. Speckman co-hosts Landmark Live quite often.

Fred Felix from Platte City, who is in his third season as a distribution manager, runs delivery routes every week through southern Platte County.

Brad Carl, an ex-radio DJ and musician from the locality, is also a frequent Landmark Live host. Landmark Live is produced by an anonymous local techno-guru, Tech Man Schneider.

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