The Journal Tribune is published evenings, Tuesday through Friday and Saturday morning at: 457 Alfred St., Biddeford, ME 04005
Our office: Route 111 east of the Maine Turnpike, Exit 32 ramp
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
History: The roots of the Journal Tribune date back to a pair of weekly political newpapers - the Union, founded in Saco in 1845, and the Eastern Journal, which was started in Biddeford a decade later. Over time, the papers combined into one, the Union and Eastern Journal, and operated under the ownership of Oliver Butler and his son John. In 1880, the paper was sold to Charles and William Prescott, two young men from North Berwick.
One of their first acts as owners was to change the name to the Biddeford Weekly Journal, and expand coverage to include most of York County. By 1883, Charles had bought out his brother and was operating the largest circulating paper in York County, with correspondents in nearly every town. It was then that Charles decided the time was right to convert to a daily paper and compete with the Daily Evening Times.
The first issue was published on Saturday evening, Jan. 5, 1884, in the Savings Bank Building on Main Street in downtown Biddeford. The paper was fairly typical for its time: A 4-page broadsheet, with six columns on a page and as much as a third of the page taken up by headlines. Charles gave away the 2,000 copies of that initial press run for free. The sale price, beginning with the second issue on Jan. 7, was two cents, comparable to the cost of a big daily from New York or Boston. The cost of a year's subscription was $5.
Records show that the first two subscribers were McKenney and Heard Hardware Store, then housed in the City building, and Col. L.H. Kendall. In 1891, Prescott packed up and moved operations to a larger space a few doors down on the Sweetser and Quimby Block. The newspaper would stay there until 1906, when it moved to its longtime home at 11 Adams Street, across from City Hall in downtown Biddeford. The building still bears its namesake, The Journal Building. It wasn't until 1975 that the Journal Tribune found adequate space to allow for parking and delivery trucks, in the center of Biddeford's growth area half a mile from the Maine Turnpike on Alfred Road. Prescott sold the paper in 1922, the first of a series of sales and purchases until 1997, when current owner Beacon Press, Inc. acquired the Journal Tribune.
Throughout all the ownership changes, moves, name changes and staffs, the Journal Tribune has stayed true to the statement made by Charles Prescott in the initial issue: To be a live, daily newspaper; which will act as a stimulus and ready help to its readers.