Demise of Hamburg Sun is sad day for Southtowns
I was deeply saddened to hear Community Newspapers of WNY closed its doors, putting 200 people out of work after its relatively brief foray into the publications business. It is always sad when a business closes, but was doubly so because it closed Hamburg’s local newspaper, The Sun and Erie County Independent, dating back to 1875.
There had been much speculation as the company put little effort into the Hamburg paper over the past few years and instead seemed to be focused on using it as a template to create clone newspapers in a number of communities while ignoring the health and well-being of the original. Editors left after relatively brief terms.
Full disclosure: I love the Sun not only as a Hamburg resident, but also as one of its former editors as a 12-year employee of H&K Publications, which bought it from founder Dick Allen in the 1970s, keeping him on.
Allen started the Hamburg Sun in 1945, merging it with the Independent a few years later. He set the pattern for community journalism that would be followed for many years, covering the lives of the people of the Southtowns. As the third editor since 1945 and first woman, I enjoyed meeting diverse groups, reporting on town and school board meetings, informing the public about proposed commercial development and documenting the era with my words. I was conscious of serving as historical “weaver,” each article forming another stitch in the fabric of time.
We celebrated 50 years of the Sun and 120 years of the Independent in 1995 with a historical edition that compiled intriguing articles with datelines for each going back to their respective earliest days. Now the Sun’s presses have been stilled. My greatest wish is that this is a temporary bump in the road and that a new owner – perhaps The News? – will bring back The Hamburg Sun and Erie County Independent, restoring it to its rightful place as the window on the daily lives of the Southtowns. Until that time, remember, newspapers never truly die. They live in our hearts, but can also be found in Special Collections at the Buffalo and Erie County Library.
Eileen A. Hotho