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established 1878 • fremont, mi

Still Serving, Still Trusted

The Times Indicator has served the area

since the 1870's

The TimesIndicator has been the chief historian for the Fremont and Newaygo County area for more than a century, surviving fires, floods, wars, economic hardship, and the Covid pandemic, alongside the people of the county.

The TimesIndicator traces its lineage to the 1870's and the turn of the century, when at least three weekly newspapers were published in the town that was then called Fremont Center. A 1966 historical review in the TimesIndicator called it the oldest business in Fremont.

According to newspaper files, the first Fremont Indicator was run off on a hand press by Civil War veteran Walter S. Platt in 1876. In the early 1890's, Platt sold the Indicator to John W. Eagon, who was already publishing the Fremont News. R.C. Eisley purchased the Fremont News-Indicator shortly after the turn of the century.

In 1911, Don VanderWerp and O.G. Cederquist established the Fremont Times, after purchasing a paper called the Fremont Review from Publisher Frank M. Ketchum. The partners took over the News-Indicator in November of that year and began publishing the Fremont Times-Indicator.

The newspaper has been published at the same address, 44 W. Main in downtown Fremont, since VanderWerp and Cederquist began publishing the Times there in 1911 and soon took over the News-Indicator.

In 1917, Cederquist sold his interest in the paper to VanderWerp, who published the paper until 1950. In 1943, the Newaygo County news was absorbed by the Times-Indicator, making Fremont a one-newspaper town.

Vidian L. Roe purchased the Fremont Times-Indicator from VanderWerp in 1950 and published the newspaper for 16 years, before he sold it to Robert and Phyllis Hostetler of Bay City in August of 1966.

The Hostetler family published the newspaper for 20 years, with Douglas Hostetler and his wife, Judy, taking over from his parents for the last five years, from 1981 through 1986.

The TimesIndicator became the county's only locally published newspaper in 1980, when it absorbed the Newaygo County Sun, a newspaper which had been formed by the merger of three other newspapers, the Newaygo Republican, the White Cloud Eagle and the Grant Independent.

Tony Komlanc, publisher of a weekly newspaper in Morrison, Illinois, purchased the Times-Indicator from Doug and Judy Hostetler in January of 1987. Richard Wheater, a Times-Indicator reporter for nearly four years, was appointed Editor and Publisher.

Research into nearly 12 decades of Times-Indicator files indicates that the newspaper has been published continuously, without missing a weekly issue, since at least 1878.

The record includes the June 27, 1957 issue of the newspaper, which was published on schedule despite a Sunday morning fire which gutted the Times-Indicator office. That week's issue was typeset and composed in White Cloud and printed in Reed City, thanks to the generous assistance of colleagues in the newspaper business.

More recently, in December of 1989, fire destroyed the video store adjacent to the Times-Indicator office. Firefighters managed to confine the flames to the video store, but smoke damage drove the newspaper staff down the street to an unfinished store that later became home to the J.C. Penney Store and Wyse Office Supply. Volunteers helped carry computers down the street so that the Times-Indicator could be published on time. The newspaper operated out of its temporary quarters for nearly three months, until the complete remodeling job was finished at the office.

The TimesIndicator has covered the community's big stories and the smaller but no less important events, news items ranging from the 1986 floods to the 1947 blizzard, and from church socials to several generations of births, deaths, weddings and anniversaries. The news files include moonshiners arrested in 1934 and underground marijuana cultivators uncovered in 1998.

The newspaper has also played an important role in the economy of the Newaygo County area. Local merchants advertised a "Great Slaughter of Shoes" (50 cents buys any shoe in the house regardless of cost, 1906 at Rutherford's Reliable Grocery House), fine men's suits ($3.75 at R. VanderWerp, 1914), the screening of "You'll Like My Mother" (starring Patty Duke) at the Oz in 1972, and the debut of the economical '59 Rambler at Heyboer Motors.

The history of Fremont and the surrounding communities are captured in the thousands of pages of newspaper files that have been preserved in bound volumes. Those volumes resided in the basement of the Times-Indicator office until the 1989 fire, when they were evacuated and entrusted to the Newaygo County Society of History and Genealogy. These historical volumes have also been duplicated and preserved on microfilm, which is available for viewing at the Fremont Area District Library.

A few examples of local newspaper history, including copies of the Times, the Indicator, the News-Indicator, the Newaygo County News, the White Cloud Eagle and the Grant Herald-Independent, are displayed in the front lobby of the TimesIndicator office at 44 W. Main in downtown Fremont.

Moving into the new century, the TimesIndicator is bigger and more widely read than ever. A growing number of readers continue to trust Newaygo County's Newspaper for reliable, accurate and interesting news and features, delivered every week with the same dedication and commitment that readers learned to trust in the 1800's.

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