begins its 140th year of publication
by Ivan Foley
With this issue, The Landmark begins its
140th year of informing Platte County citizens.
The Landmark, located in Platte City, is the oldest
newspaper in Platte County and one of the oldest in
the state of Missouri. First issue of The Landmark went
to press less than six months after the assassination
of President Abraham Lincoln. It has been published
weekly without interruption since that time.
The first Landmark was published at Weston
on Sept. 28, 1865 with the motto "Remove not the
ancient landmarks." In its early days, The Landmark
espoused the cause of the Confederacy and consistently
promoted the Democratic party in politics.
Over the past 10-15 years, the newspaper
has broken from its earlier stance of only endorsing
candidates/policies of the Democratic party and is now
generally considered a politically conservative publication.
The Landmark has developed a statewide reputation for
editorializing in strong fashion. It is the only weekly
paper in the county to show a growth in paid circulation
each of the past several years.
In 2001, the newspaper unveiled its site
on the worldwide web at plattecountylandmark.com. The
site now gets more than 15,000 page views in a typical
week and features an interactive community forum where
opinions and thoughts can be posted by visitors to the
The newspaper consistently wins honors
in the Missouri Press Association's annual Better Newspaper
Contest. Photojournalist Bill Hankins provides periodic
essays that have won statewide awards. The newspaper
frequently makes local history a big part of the present,
an example being last fall's series about the local
adventures of notorious outlaws Bonnie and Clyde, written
by reporter Mark Vasto.
After beginning publication in Weston
in 1865, The Landmark moved to Platte City in 1871,
where it has since been published. The Reveille (another
Weston paper) was consolidated with The Landmark with
Maj. Thomas W. Park (father of the late Missouri Gov.
Guy B. Park) and J.L. McCluer as editors.
When the printing equipment was being
moved from Weston to Platte City, Kansas Redleggers,
a group on the opposite side of the newspaper on Civil
War issues, intercepted and dumped the presses into
After occupying several different locations
in its early days in Platte City, The Landmark moved
into its current location on Main Street in 1899. In
that same year, The Landmark installed a huge hand-fed
Babcock press that would be used until 1979. That press
is still found in the back of the office today. A gasoline
engine originally furnished the power to run the press
until an electric motor was installed in 1928.
Also still on display is a Linotype machine
from 1923. This typesetting "wonder" in its
day allowed the operator to set more type than could
ordinarily be produced by five or six men working by
In 1916, Max Jones, shop foreman, began
managing The Landmark and eventually bought the operation
in 1918. Jones served as editor and publisher until
his death in 1956. His widow, Lucile L. Jones, became
editor and publisher at that time. The paper began to
primarily focus on social news and community items.
In 1979, Mrs. Jones sold the newspaper
to Dwayne Foley, who owned several weekly papers. Foley
switched The Landmark from the old hot lead style of
printing to the offset method. Foley died just months
after his purchase and the paper continued to be owned
by his widow, Ethel Mae Foley, until 2002, when it was
purchased by their youngest son, Ivan, who had managed
the operation for many years.
After using Compugraphic typesetting equipment
since 1979, in 1993 The Landmark joined the computer
age with the installation of two IBM-compatible units.
Reflective of its growth over the past decade, today
the newspaper has five computer workstations and one
portable unit. It uses digital photography and features