Griggs County Sentinel Courier

Cooperstown's plat was filed in October of 1882, officially putting the town on the map.  Three months later the first edition of the Cooperstown Courier rolled off the press.

The Courier also did all it could to put Cooperstown on the map.  From the first copy January 26, 1883, it devoted a lot of space and ink to telling the world about the fertile soil and great opportunities of the region.  Ed Stair, the first owner-editor, sold the paper to F.H. Adams, who later sold to Percy Trubshaw, a Courier employee.

Meanwhile, in 1899, a rival newspaper, The Sentinel, was begun by Democrats in the area.  J.H. Sinclair was the first editor.  No copies or records of the earliest Sentinels survive, so information is sketchy; however, H.S. Rearick took over the paper in 1904.  In 1912, Rearick and his partners, O.A. Lee and Bill Schannach purchased the Courier and The Griggs County Sentinel - Courier came into being.  (Schannach lives in Leavenworth, Washington in 1982).

By 1919 the Nonpartisan League had become a strong political force in North Dakota and was in the process of buying newspapers.  Shares were sold in the Griggs County Farmers Press and they bought the paper and hired a young man with political inclinations, Gerald P. Nye, to run it.  Nye was appointed U.S. Senator in 1926 and stayed in the Senate until 1944.  Harry L. Thompson took over management of the paper when Senator Nye left for Washington and was editor most of the time until his death.  Kermit Overby, Bremen Johnson and Oswald Tufte were all associated with the paper in the thirties and forties.  Harry Thompson bought up the stock owned by farmers in the cooperative, and by the time of his death in 1948 was the owner of the paper.

Ken and Gerry Anderson ran the paper for Mrs. Thompson until the spring of 1949, when it was sold to Nora Frigaard and her sons, Gordon and Alan.  Alan Frigaard was editor until 1954, when he moved to Minnesota.  Gordon "Boosty" Frigaard took over the management at that time.  Nora Frigaard continued to be associated with the paper until her death in 1972.  Since that time Gordon Frigaard has been sole owner and manager.  He has been associated with the Cooperstown paper longer than any other person in the paper's history.  His wife, Eugenia (Duna) Frigaard has been working on the paper continuously since 1954, and is editor.  Daughter Lisa and sons Karl and Mark do occasional work for the paper.

At one time there were newspapers in Binford, Hannaford and Sutton.  Now only the Sentinel - Courier remains in Griggs County.

The changes in means of production are of equal importance with the changes in management.  In the early years, metal type was set by hand for each week's paper and put back into the type drawers by hand afterward.  Automation after 1910 meant typecasting machines, and hot-type technology.  The linotype machine clanked, jangled and spit out galley after galley of hot type.  In the seventies, offset printing came into its own and in a quiet revolution North Dakota's hundred weekly newspapers converted to the photographic process in less than a decade.  Photo-computers are used to set the copy, and the Sentinel - Courier presently is printed in New Rockford in the central plant of Prairie Press, owned by the five publishers who print their papers there.  G.J. Frigaard is president of Prairie Press.

The Sentinel - Courier is the oldest surviving business in Cooperstown.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 216

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