By Jennifer Gallus
A breath of new life and purpose has been given to the Howard Lake Herald Journal building through a recent remodeling project that will once again allow it to provide a service to news-hungry patrons, but in a different way than its past.
Newspaper production outgrew the building’s walls five years ago, but it continued to serve as a correspondence drop-off site with a mail slot that is checked on a daily basis.
Because of recent remodeling, foot traffic is once again welcomed as the building is now available and open by appointment to community groups for use as a meeting space, and for those who would like to conduct historical research, according to Herald Journal Advertising Manager Chris Schultz.
With a fresh coat of paint, large work tables, new chairs, enlarged historical pictures, historical displays, and archived newspapers from not only Howard Lake, Waverly and Montrose, but also Winsted and Lester Prairie, the building is a haven for history buffs and those community groups that need a little extra space and/or privacy to meet.
Newspaper archives are bound by year and organized throughout the space.
“Protecting and preserving our area and community’s history is an important role of the newspaper,” Schultz said. “It’s not just the old stories that are important, but also the stories of people today that have a place in the newspaper, and are preserved and protected.”
Of course, with information readily available on the Internet today, records may be found online, but “Print is a lot more permanent, and that’s where the record actually is,” Schultz said.
“We’ve got archived newspapers for Howard Lake dating back to 1879, for Lester Prairie dating back to the 1890s, and Winsted’s date back to the 1960s,” Schultz explained.
Schultz also said that the newspaper is committed to preserving history and making sure that just as much importance is placed on documenting today’s news as preserving those older volumes of newspapers.
Contrary to what some of the large metro area daily newspapers are experiencing, the health of the Herald Journal “is tremendous,” Schultz said.
“We’re realistically at the highest percentage of reach that the newspaper has ever had. We have more readers now than we’ve ever had,” Schultz explained.
Along with its web site www.herald-journal.com, local blogs and forums, a community newspaper offers more intimacy and local news to its area readers and subscribers.
The Herald Journal building in Howard Lake has already been utilized by the Howard Lake Historical Society during its work on the recent publication of the new history book.
The building has also hosted Herald Journal staff meetings, training functions and interviews, and is ready for community groups, as well.
Those interested in making an appointment to either sift through the newspaper archives or schedule a group meeting in the space may call the Herald Journal at (320) 485-2535.
“The more it gets used the better,” Schultz said.