Editor’s Note: This is the 311th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — Joseph Harvey Long (1863-1958) learned the newspaper business in Wheeling. Hearing that a paper was for sale in Huntington, Long investigated and in 1893 purchased the Herald. The match between the Herald and its new owner was an odd one. Newspapers of that era were intensely political.
Long was a lifelong Democrat. The Herald was a Republican paper. So he soon sold it and acquired the Advertiser, a paper whose politics matched his own.
In 1900, Long purchased property in the 900 block of 4th Avenue, where the Keith-Albee Theatre now stands, and built there what was then the state’s most modern newspaper plant.
Later The Herald merged with the Dispatch to become The Herald-Dispatch. For a number of years, Long’s afternoon Advertiser slugged it out with the morning Herald-Dispatch, owned by Dave Gideon.
In 1924, Col. Long (the title was strictly honorary) bought the northwest corner of 5th Avenue and 10th Street and erected a new building for his paper.
Not be outdone, The Herald-Dispatch built a new home just a few doors down. Shortly thereafter, the two newspapers declared a truce and merged as the Huntington Publishing Co., with Long as chairman and Gideon as president.
The Herald-Dispatch abandoned its new building and moved into the Advertiser building. The papers’ mechanical and business operations were combined while the two news staffs remained separate and highly competitive.
And that’s the way things continued for decades — until 1972 when the Gannett Co., one of the nation’s largest newspaper groups, purchased Huntington’s newspapers. Initially Gannett continued to publish both the morning Herald-Dispatch and the afternoon Advertiser.
But afternoon newspapers across the nation were folding, victims of sagging circulations and faltering ad revenues. And on Aug. 24, 1979, the Advertiser published its final edition, joining the ranks of defunct afternoon papers.