Press settles into new quarters — again
by Sam Matthews
Aug 01, 2014 | 2593 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The new location of the Tracy Press isn’t the first change of address. In 1898, when first established, the Press was located in back of the Odd Fellows Hall on Sixth Street. Later (in the photo), it was on the east side of Central Avenue, just north of the alley between Seventh and Eighth streets. Then, in 1918, publisher Henry Hull moved the Press to a new brick building on Seventh Street just west of Central (the site is now a vacant lot). The Press moved again in 1949 to A Street and in 1970 around the corner to West 10th.  Press file photo
The new location of the Tracy Press isn’t the first change of address. In 1898, when first established, the Press was located in back of the Odd Fellows Hall on Sixth Street. Later (in the photo), it was on the east side of Central Avenue, just north of the alley between Seventh and Eighth streets. Then, in 1918, publisher Henry Hull moved the Press to a new brick building on Seventh Street just west of Central (the site is now a vacant lot). The Press moved again in 1949 to A Street and in 1970 around the corner to West 10th. Press file photo
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After 65 years, the Press office is no longer at or near the corner of 10th and A streets and is now located in Suite 101 of the two-story building at 95 W. 11th St.

Those are the essential facts of the move of the newspaper’s office to new quarters. The move was completed Thursday.

But in the week-long process of packing up and moving out, and then attempting to settle into my new digs, countless memories have sprung into my mind about the building around which I centered much of my life for 57 years.

It’s easy to become overly sentimental about leaving the old building (there are actually four contiguous structures in the complex), and fortunately I haven’t tried do that and have adjusted better than I had expected.

But I do have memories of what 1024 A St. and 145 and 131 W. 10th St. have meant to me and my family.

The first of those, 1024 A St., was where the Press moved from a building on West Seventh Street in April 1949. It was a move coupled with larger quarters, a new typesetting machine and new printing press — developments that offered prospects of a new era for the Press.

Tragically, my dad, Harvey Matthews, did not live to see those prospects became a reality. He died of a massive heart attack on the morning that was to be the grand opening of the new building, which had been built by contractor Ben Engstrand and was owned by his brother, Harold.

The fact that my mother, Laura Matthews, stepped up to take the reins of the Press was a brave and gutsy thing to do for a woman who had been a high school history teacher.

Her fortitude allowed me and my brother, Tom, to complete college and military service before joining her in 1957.

Another major milestone came in 1970, when the new two-story building was completed at 145 W. 10th St. My brother and I had talked over the new building at the outset, but it was he who made the whole project possible — working with bankers for financing, architects for design and building contractors for construction.

We had plenty of room for offices and the offset printing operations in that two-story building, coupled with the building facing A Street. My office moved from upstairs to downstairs and then back to the second floor in those years.

It was two years ago, after the Press had been sold to new owners, that 131 W. 10th St. came into the picture. When the printing had been outsourced to a local printing firm, we didn’t need the space of the two-story part of the complex and moved next door, where originally G.I. and Linda Jones had operated Tracy Printers.

And now we’re out of the Press complex altogether and into the two-story building across 11th Street from the Tracy Inn. The new office is smaller than the old one and without a warehouse to store bound copies of the Press and files, but it is well designed with space for offices and partitioned desks, providing more efficient use of rented space.

Will Fleet, our publisher, did a good job of planning occupancy of the new office so that various functions are functionally located together. I have my own office, which right now is filled with file cabinets and boxes. I’m beginning to unpack, but I have some more sorting out to decide what is essential and what is not. It will take a couple of weeks to do that and find out where things are.

Files of film negatives, which we no longer use in the age of digital photography, have been donated to the Tracy Historical Museum, which values their historical significance. Bound copies of the Press beginning in 1909, photos and reports and documents have been moved into the new quarters.

Recalling buildings that have housed the Press is important, certainly. But more important are the memories of those who worked at the Press over the years and — especially in my case — put out the paper, often late at night after City Council and school board meetings or late-breaking news.

Today in our new offices, we’re doing much of the same thing — putting out the Press as best we can with news and advertising for all of the Tracy area. That hasn’t changed a bit.

• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by email at shm@tracypress.com.

 
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