Grandview’s community newspaper marking it's 100th volume
A.G. Graham, founding publisher and Geo. A. Blakely, editor, amidst the printing presses of the original Exponent office. (cir. 1910)
The Exponent last original business on Main Street
By James Chaloner
Grandview is a community steeped in history, a chronicle that has been characterized by the local newspaper for over 99 years.
Over the past century the people, businesses and enterprises have changed, but one constant has remained, the hometown newspaper.
The inaugural edition of the Grandview Exponent rolled off the presses on March 7, 1901.
"The Exponent shall, beginning with its first number, endeavour to use its modest means and influence for the growth and development of town and district," wrote the first editor, J. P. Gilbert.
"Therefore, we ask of everyone of our people to help make the Exponent a true representation of themselves -- enterprising and progressive."
The expanding newspaper was a reflection of the town’s initial growth year. Subscriptions were increasing and advertising adorned the eight full pages of local and national news.
That first volume kept close tabs on economic and municipal developments. A creamery, flour mill, bridge over the Valley River, school expansion were local issues that took up many columns of type.
James Holman, a carriage and wagon manufacturer, was in the process of setting up a plant in Grandview. A dam was constructed on the Valley River, ˝ mile west of Grandview, to supply power for the machinery.
Chief Engineer Macleod of the CNR, in an announcement made in town, reported, "The Grandview Branch of the railroad would be extended to form the main line."
In the agricultural industry, Grandview's crop of 1900 is increased nearly fourfold -- says some municipal statistics.
"It is probable that 175,000 bushels or more will come nearer the total amount to be turned into ready money," said the report.
"This shows a very satisfactory increase over last season when 48,000 bushels were marketed."
The municipal clerk furnished the newspaper with these figures relative to the municipality:
Male inhabitants 572
Resident farmers 400
Acres under cult. 15,893
Assess. of mun. $128,720
Acres of wood land 1,025
By June of 1901, the Grandview Municipality came into existence and the election results of July 9th were published.
"Thus, the first council consisted of Reeve, Jno. Dalgleish; councillors Jas. Hatcher, Jas. McVey, Wm. Martin and Wm. J. Rawson," concluded the front page news story.
Graphic represents the legal sub-divisions of Grandview, each full square containing forty acres. The four centre squares show the extent of what is recognized as the original village. (cir. 1906)
In October of 1901 the local news column reported, "T. A. Burrows, M.P. was in town Monday night. Mr. Burrows has secured a large timber limit in the Duck Mountains, and it is the intention of his company to put in a large saw mill at this point."
The enterprise later proved to be a boom for the community in those younger days.
By the fall of 1901, waterworks and drainage were in the headlines. "It's a Go" the headline of the October 17 edition read.
"The plan is to construct a tank having a capacity of 200 barrels, and by using a windmill and gasoline engine force water through the town," explained John Sinnott in his report.
Grandview was the fourth community in Manitoba to offer this service, just behind Winnipeg, Portage La Prairie and Brandon.
Year number one was full of many interesting tid-bits.
The one-room school in Grandview started with 35 students on the roll.
A Grandview tin smith is reported making 50 sap pails.
"Grandview is well supplied this spring with choice maple syrup from the sap taken from trees in this district," continued the account.
Familiar names recorded in the locals; Orr, Mitchell, Challoner, Winfield, Swain, Hamilton, Paisley, Brinkman, Greer, Grasby, Barnett, McVey, Morran, Harkness, Grexton, Parrott, etc.
"Mr. and Mrs. W.G. Reynolds who had been guests of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Challoner for some time, left yesterday morning for their home in Chicago. Mrs. Reynolds is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Challoner," a social note read.
Manitoba was recorded as the largest province in Western Canada, population wise. It beat out British Columbia and the Territories, which included Saskatchewan and Alberta at that time.
The weather during the past four months (Dec., 1900 – Mar., 1901) in this district has been very agreeable.
"The thunder and lightning on Saturday evening caused some surprise to the townspeople, and hopes were expressed for an early spring, but disappointment awaited us in receiving the first blizzard of the season on Monday."
"March generally pays for a beautiful February," concluded the report.
The Editor's Chair
The editor of one exchange wrote that he and his wife disagree with each other materially.
"She sets things to the right and he writes things to set. She reads what others writes and he writes what others read. She keeps the devil out of the house to the best of her ability, while he retains him (printer’s devil) on all occasions and could not go to press without him. She knows more things than she writes and he writes more things than he knows."
On three occasions in the late issues of the Dauphin Press (under the heading G.V. Correspondent) have appeared squabbles to the effect that the Exponent has been too previous in starting a paper in Grandview.
Mail service for the nearest outside points from Grandview such as Tamarisk, Mountain Gap, Umatilla, Gilbert Plains and Howard is very unsatisfactory reports the Exponent.
"Mail is posted here on Friday for these points and takes five to seven days to reach destinations within a fifteen mile radius," writes the editor.
An editorial early in 1902 attacked the cost of maintaining patients in the Dauphin Regional Hospital.
"The percentage of receipts from patients is 46˝ per cent, so that the amount dispensed for charity is 52˝ per cent, or in other words, patients treated free," the editor noted.
"To put it more plainly the amount expended over and above receipts from patients was $1,401.56 as shown by the statement."
"I wish to further draw your attention to the cost per day keep, for each patient in the institution, $1.04˝, so that $1.00 per day does not pay the keep of a patient."
Holiday Edition 1901
Christmas day was marked by many forms of commemoration, reports the Exponent.
English church service was conducted in the morning at 11 a.m. by Rev. J. Anderson, B.A., when special Christmas worship was attended by a representative number of the different congregations.
In the afternoon at the skating rink, a good number enjoyed themselves in various forms of skimming round and round the allotment of ice. In the center of the rink the first game of curling in Grandview was progressing.
A number of residents found enjoyment with the gun at trap shooting in the afternoon.
In the evening a social musicale and dance was held at the hotel.
The entertainment and Christmas tree in connection with the Sabbath school was held in Sinnott’s hall on Christmas night.
Publishers in larger centers provided small town printers with an already prepared, four-page newspaper with portions left blank to fill with local news.
The information provided in these columns was of provincial, national and world interest.
On the world scene, the Canadian presence in the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) captured the audiences attention.
News from South Africa headlined the front page of the Exponent's second edition.
"The Boers failed in their determined attack upon Lichtenburg," it said.
In yet another front page edition, a letter from a Canadian soldier was published.
Another report was devoted to peace negotiations and the 7-day armistice at Pretoria, S.A.
"U.S. President McKinley Shot," read the September 12 front page headline.
In the following week the editor wrote, "Today is a day of mourning in the great American Republic, a day to which all Christian nations join in sympathy for the loss of a noble-minded and beloved leader."
On October 3, 1900, a town was born. Within one year of the town's inception, thirty business places and a number of residences stood proud on land that once grew oats. Alex Downie's homestead had been transformed into a vibrant, growing community, continued the press report.
Some of those first businesses and residences listed by the Exponent included -- the Deering warehouse; Northern elevator; Jas. Morison's store; J. S. Kinnee's Flour and Feed; Cummings & Black warehouse; Wm. Dickie's Bank; Low & Downie's blacksmith shop; J. J. Maher Furniture Store; Henry & Parr's horse harness and saddles; Jno. Sinnot, Lumber Yard; Barnett & Nevil, real estate and insurance; Himpett's Candies; Swain and Clark, dry goods; Chas. Clancy, contractor; A. Hume Draying; McClocklin & Company, clothing store; W.H. Bigham, general hardware; Gill Bros., dry goods; C. T. Eraut, hardware; Queen's Hotel, M. N. Tobin; Grandview Hotel , Jos. E. Argue; Heming's Drug Store; W. K. Hall, MD, Physician and Surgeon; Dr. Ross; Dr. G. W. Walker, Dentist; M. Hume, Samuel Mitchell, Jas. Joint, J. J. Maher residences.
Within six years the newspaper reported that Grandview was boasting a population of 6700, rural included.
"The town has some 40 businesses comprising of 7 large general stores, 2 large hardware stores, 3 excellent hotels, 2 furniture stores, 4 confectioners, bakery, jeweler, 3 flour and feed stores, tobacconist, 5 implement ware rooms, 2 butcher shops, billiard room, 2 law offices, 2 barbershops, shoemaker, 3 blacksmith shops, machine shop, woodworking shop, 2 harness shops, 2 drug stores, 3 stationery stores, painter, laundry, restaurant, 2 physicians, 2 veterinarians, 3 lumber yards, 2 liveries, pump factory, 2 grain crushing mills, 5 grain elevators, and 2 flat warehouses, having a capacity of over 180,000 bushels, a newspaper and job printing office, Church of England, Methodist church, Presbyterian church, a branch of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, the largest and most complete sawmill and planing mill in Manitoba, a cement block works, etc.," recounts the article.
On Saturday, the first day of December, 1, 1906, the corporate Village of Grandview came into existence.
The newly elected village council of Mayor, J.F. Orr and councillors Jas. Tait, H. Weidenhammer, Dr. Shortreed and A.G. Graham held their first meeting on Wednesday, the 4th day of January, 1907.
Those early years were a testimony to the tenacity and foresight of the pioneers who settled and developed this area.
In 1436 Gutenberg invented the printing technique of casting single lines to form continuous text.
The art of printing was a combination of hard work, determination, and skill in mastering the trade.
The early publishers of small town papers had to understand the mechanics of this process, as well as having the ability to write creatively.
This was no easy task. Work conditions were much less than favourable, usually in small offices cramped with the bulky printing presses that were manufactured in the late 1800's.
The copy was set by hand, letter for letter, word for word, line for line. Each individual letter of the alphabet was made of lead. Words were processed by picking one letter at a time to form the sentences. These lines were then locked into forms that made up the pages.
Newspaper was fed by hand into these monstrosities, printed, folded and labeled for the post office to distribute to the subscribers.
As time progressed and money allowed, many publishers purchased the faster, more efficient line casting machines to set the copy. The Linotype and Intertype became the standards of the industry.
The mechanization of printing in the 1800's has coincided with the movement towards universal education and the industrial revolution that ensued at the turn of the 20th century. The newspaper followed along that logical progression.
In 1905 a series of articles on Western Canadian Editors appeared in the Grandview Exponent. One item spoke of the profession of journalism in the west, those honoured members like James B. Graham who forged their way into the newspaper industry.
"He who with the courage of the pioneer loaded his Washington hand press on a Red River Cart, and trekked hundreds of miles across the far flung fenceless prairie to the then Territorial capital," read the story.
Many a publisher and editor have passed through these annals of the Exponent.
Mark them from those early beginnings -- A.G. Graham, founder; editors J.P. Gilbert and H.S. McKee, through Geo. A. Blakely, W.G. Reynolds and son; Adair and Co. to the last, but not least, Chaloner Publishers.
The final word from those bygone years goes to the pioneer who blazed the trail in the newspaper line in Grandview, the late Geo. A. Graham.
"Newspaper publishing, while a business enterprise, is a business enterprise of a peculiar character -- depending far more, under ordinary circumstances, upon the personality or individuality of its head for success than upon any other factor.
Then only too often, after a man arrives at the years of fifty or sixty his newspaper usefulness is gone.
For the long years he has put heart and soul and purpose into his paper he gets little if any thanks.
Should he happen to have been a faithful party slave he sometimes is rewarded (?) with a job in a customs house or post office.
Such is the path of journalism -- and it is strewn with the bleached bones of men of ability, men who might have died well-to-do in their old age in almost any other calling, but who, as the result of the undeniable fascination of the editorial chair, the types and presses, passed away in obscurity -- and oftentimes in poverty.
At a time of life when they should have been enjoying a well-earned rest they had become mere hacks -- and from the inside we can affirm that on all this earth there is nothing more pathetic than the worn-out newspaper man.
The editor is far from feeling that he has got within that circle -- but the day must come."
Family newspaper endures good times and bad
Chaloner Publishers marking 65th year
By James Chaloner
Like so many other pioneer names in this area, the Chaloners have been associated with the Grandview - Gilbert Plains area since the family first settled in the Umatilla district in 1899 and Gilbert Plains in the early 1900’s.
The family connection to the newspaper began in 1922 when William G. Reynolds published the Grandview Exponent. Along with his wife, Jennie, (nee Challoner) and their son, they ran the local paper for seven years.
Brothers W.G. (Garf) and T.L. (Tom) Chaloner published their first Exponent on March, 26, 1936, beginning a family heritage that has spanned over 64 continuous years in Grandview.
W.G. Chaloner, editor and publisher from 1936 to 1987. T.L. Chaloner, publisher from 1936 to 1939; C.E. (Charles) Chaloner, editor 1939 to 1944; I.V. (Ina) Chaloner, associate editor from 1964 to 1987; C.A. (Connie) Chaloner, editor, 1987 to 1990; J.T. (Jim) Chaloner, publisher and editor, 1987 to 1997; C.G. (Clayton) Chaloner publisher and editor, 1997 to present.
Over the years, the publishers and editors of the Exponent have exemplified the individuality of this community and the character of the people it serves.
"It is this feeling of unity that makes a community what it is rather than a mere group of human beings, and it is the office of the local paper to preserve that unity, nurture it and broaden its scope," wrote editor C.E. Chaloner in a 1941 editorial.
Surviving Hard Times
In October of 1938 a fire broke out in Weidenhammer’s Garage destroying four buildings including Mr. and Mrs. Robert Akers residence, the Post Office and the Exponent Office.
"Our readers will be interested to know that in getting the paper to the subscribers and the replacing of office equipment, the publishers travelled over three thousand miles by motor and rail, worked from twelve to eighteen hours every day, and some weeks used as many as four offices to complete the issue," writes the editor.
By the end of a fortnight the Exponent was publishing out of new quarters in the old Swift Canadian Warehouse, fully equipped with new machinery.
Prior to this disaster, numerous editorials regarding inadequate fire protection from the town had appeared.
In July of 1937, following one of the most serious fires in Grandview’s history, one that wiped out nearly half the buildings on the west side of Main, these comments appeared.
"What we would like to know is, are we going to continue to sit placidly by and permit the reoccurrence of a like disaster without some action being taken, by organizing a fire brigade with at least half adequate equipment to prevent it," wrote W.G. Chaloner in one scorching editorial.
Difficult times at the Exponent reflected those dirty thirties. Subscriptions sold for $1.00 per year and many a subscriber had to exchange chickens, eggs or produce to make a purchase.
The War Years
Charles E. Chaloner took over the editor’s chair at the time when World War II was about to break out. Publisher Thomas L. Chaloner enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1941.
Many reports in the 40’s were devoted to the war years. One editorial commented that democracy crashed the gates of Hitler’s diplomatic coercion with the weak-kneed Government of Yugoslavia.
"After twenty-four hours of rioting and bloodshed the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes overthrew the Government of Prince Paul and his colleagues, setting up a new government under a Boy King, with General Simovitch as Premier. It was a grand coup that converted the Slovaia-Axis Pact into a scrap of paper before the ink was dry," wrote C.E. Chaloner.
However, readers of the Exponent were taken back to those good old days by W.G. Chaloner, who reflected in one of his columns.
"Back in the ninety’s homesteaders trekked into what was known as the Gilbert Plains country via the Lake Audy and Russell trails. After the first settlers had began to build their sod-roofed shanties and break a few acres of virgin soil, these plains became divided into districts known as Glenlyon, Markham, Oaknook, Umatilla, Morranville, Ottawa and Tamarisk.
All these districts still hold their annual picnic, some of them under a different name, but it is still held in the same district. From among those successful and happy events, Tamarisk Picnic has developed into one of the largest and most outstanding events of its kind in the northern part of the province."
Two years later, July of 1941, Tamarisk held its 50th Anniversary and Charles E. wrote -- "This year’s event will be a splendid opportunity for residents of the entire Grandview district to unite in paying tribute to its founders – Tamarisk picnic is our picnic – it is one of Grandview’s big annual events and its success is our success."
Many pioneers were recognized and took the spot light on the front pages of the Exponent as an obituary in 1941 illustrates.
"Richard Parrott was a veteran of the Riel Rebellion of 1885," emanated the eulogy. "In 1893 he took up a homestead in the Valley River district – and was engaged in freighting supplies to the old Sam Mitchell store, a few miles S.E. of that point."
Family of Friends
Staff have played an important role in producing this weekly sheet. Through thick and thin many a young, energetic apprentices have learned the ways of the weekly newspaper.
Bill Harrison recalls many fond memories working for Garf and Ina at the Exponent office located across from Mulligan garage. In 1943, at age 12, he began sweeping floors, make-up, presswork, casting stereos, composing ad layouts and setting copy on the Linotype.
"It was a pretty smooth time in my life," he exclaimed. "I’m sure you know from working with your mom and dad things went along smoothly from week to week – they didn’t get ruffled about things."
Back in the forties there was a merchant in town and during the war he would put in large ads, rambling along about this and that.
Bill remembers the week that the publishers were away and he was left alone to put the paper out. He took the paper to press and one of those ads got through on him.
"I didn’t notice and it slipped through on me," as Bill explained, "he had advertised Ladies’ Panties Half Off."
The seven years Bill worked at the Exponent left a lasting impression with him. "They were good to work for and we maintained a friendship the rest of our lives – that was a valuable friendship."
My Three Sons
By 1950 times were changing, the baby boomers were coming on strong and Garf and Ina’s sons were on the scene.
While Clayton and Franklin were learning the trade alongside their father, little Jimmy C. was looking on from a pile of papers near the presses.
It was a time to learn – hand-pick the type, feed the presses, set copy on the Intertype, and fold papers.
In spite of their parent’s rigorous training, these two hard working teenagers had their fun during those 50’s happy days.
"When we were teenagers, there was times when we wouldn’t get to work on time, especially after school," said Clayton, the eldest of the siblings. "We had to get to the ‘Swinging Tit’ after school to drink Coke … then we would never be on time."
"When I was nineteen, it was Christmas ’57, I caught the train at Grandview and went to Portage La Prairie to work at the newspaper there," said Clayton, embarking on a career that has led him to Deloraine, Swan River, Russell, and now full circle back to Grandview.
"Brother Frank spent 5 months at the Winnipeg Free Press working the night shift, before he cut his finger on the metal saw and left," said Clayton, explaining that the printing field had paved the way for Franklin’s career in the art of cosmetics and a life of travelling around the world.
When those fabulous 60’s arrived, flower children abounded, and at the Exponent Office many a young people had a chance to experience work at the newspaper.
Betty, Hazel and Elwood Sewell, as well as Bev Cairnes, all played their parts in helping out on paper day back then.
For Elwood Sewell, the year was 1963, two years after he began his apprenticeship under W.G. Chaloner.
A fire broke out in Peikoff’s Store next to the Exponent office one cold January night. The blaze wiped out the store and left a shell of the Exponent building -- a pile of rubble, equipment and supplies completely destroyed.
"I can remember just the amount of time cleaning up after that fire … all the type cases … soot in the type cases … I had to go through them all."
Although the Chaloners were easy to work for, the work load was very heavy, recalls Elwood. "I can remember whenever we did the voters list it was really hectic around there."
Many a family friend took their turn at helping out. Ada McVey in the late 50’s and Joan Steven in the early 60’s, all assisting with the publications.
Anne Molberg joined the team around the mid sixties, a working relationship that lasted for more than 10 years.
Her job encompassed everything from bindery to make-up, advertising to subscriptions. The work was enduring but the times were great explained Anne.
"We just worked all night or whatever was required to finish it, and we had a lot of laughs in between," she said, recalling many typos caught as proof reader.
"She (Ina) had this barn that Alex Taylor had advertised for sale that was fur lined, and I told her, BY GOSH that barn will go for a lot of money Ina if you don’t put F I R," laughed Anne.
In another article, a wedding write-up, she recounts, "They had this guy with a brown tuxedo that had satin lapels and a brown skirt instead of shirt."
Another time Ina had said to her, "Don’t worry about anything in those hockey write-ups, just make sure the right guy gets the scores."
And sure enough one slipped through on her. "Here it was in black print, he had rushed down and shot into the corner and it said he shit into the corner instead," said Anne, telling the story with an air of abashment.
In another incident, Anne recalls the publisher checking on things at the back of the printing press. The vibrations of the machine knocked something off a shelf down across his nose.
"He was back there, something went wrong and it hit him right on the nose," she explained.
"I’ll never forget that night, because blood was spurting out of his mouth," and Ina said with that sharp tongue of hers, "Oh Garf I hope you didn’t break your false teeth."
For Anne, working at the Exponent office was a pleasurable experience. "The camaraderie and it was fun," she said gleefully. "I enjoyed my time there, it was a good place to work."
The last letterpress edition of the Exponent came off the press on July 5, 1978 and the news-paper embarked on the modernization of it’s plant, purchasing computerized typesetters and changing over to an offset publication.
On March 30, 1983, nine miles down the road at Gilbert Plains, T.D. (Terry) Brown, editor and publisher of the Maple Leaf printed his final edition.
The next week the Maple Leaf and Exponent melded into one newspaper and were circulated to some 2000 subscribers in the communities of Grandview and Gilbert Plains.
Many a staff and family members have worked together at the Exponent office. Doug and Inez Chaloner, Carla and Kent Chaloner, Terry Brown, Grant MacIntyre, Marlene Britton, Peggy Jeffers, Todd Korol, Crystal Jorgenson, Craig McLean, Arleigh Barnett, Denise Manweiller, Tammy Gauthier and Gaylene Dutchyshen, just to mention a few.
Over the years, news correspondents have played an important role in the development of this small home-town paper.
Correspondents like Mrs. A. (Gram) Shoemaker, Mrs. Watson Crossley, Mrs. Wm Abercrombie, Mrs. M. Hume, Mrs. Wm. Harris, Mrs. M. Tisdale, Audrey Shoemaker, Sadie Somers, Lois Grexton, Evelyn Cords, Ollie Grasby, Anne Ericson, Ila Dunseath, Bev Lang, Gertrude Cords, Helen Neil and many more who have contributed to the character of this newspaper
Today you are greeted by the friendly, experienced staff of Sandra White, Joan Grexton and Kent Chaloner. They are setting type, building ads and designing pages on a desk top publishing system. In the reporters room, Emile Decosse, a publisher taught in the old ways, is scanning the news.
The Final Word
Back in the mid 60’s Emile Decosse operated a community newspaper at Somerset, Manitoba, the Lorne Gazette. As editor, he wrote the following appropriate piece in the leading edition that him and his brother Rene published.
"The first months of publication July-September, 1964, were rather wearisome ones. There was many a Tuesday and Wednesday night that this two-man operation stifled yawns and worked into the wee small hours of the morning to get an issue out on time. Came Thursday morning, four blood-shot eyes glowered at the (---) sun that seems to rise so much earlier on such occasions, but at least there was some satisfaction in knowing that another issue of the Gazette was in the mail."