140-Year-Old Virginia Weekly Folds

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By: Joe Strupp

The Clarke Courier of Berryville, Va. — a 140-year-old weekly that was first published by a former Confederate Army officer — shut down Wednesday, according to the nearby Winchester Star. Both papers are owned by Winchester Evening Star Inc.

“A nine-month effort was made to save this financially struggling publication,” Thomas T. Byrd, president of the parent company, told the Star. “At this time, economic conditions in Clarke County do not allow The Clarke Courier to continue publishing.” The last edition was printed Wednesday.

Byrd said in the story that he bought The Courier from Leesburg-based Times Community Newspapers in August to save it. But he said that while the paper’s circulation in Clarke County had remained stable at about 1,900 for decades, its advertising revenues had been steadily declining.

“We could not generate enough ad dollars,” Courier Editor Cynthia Cather Burton said in the story. She added, “The Clarke Courier was the county?s longest continually operating business. Today is the end of an era.?

The first issue of The Courier was published Feb. 19, 1869, by former Confederate Army officer William N. Nelson. The paper continued uninterrupted through eight publishers. Arthur Arundel and the Times chain bought it in 1981.

In 1997, the name was changed to The Clarke Times-Courier, but the original name was brought back after Byrd bought it for an undisclosed amount, the story said.

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