Leeanna Ellis

Leeanna Ellis

It's been established in previous columns that I love history.

My love for the subject was fostered by my parents, who often chose historic locations for our family vacations each summer. There were visits to Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore, Gettysburg, Washington, D.C., and others.

But one doesn't have to travel to learn about history. There is history in our own backyard.

I've chronicled Washington County's history through stories on pioneer cemeteries, lost towns and early settlers.

Next month, readers will have an opportunity to learn about the history of two communities and this very newspaper as Blair, Arlington and the Washington County Pilot-Tribune and Enterprise mark their 150th anniversaries.

Enterprise Media Group staff has been working hard on three special sections, which will feature stories on the beginnings of Blair, Arlington and the newspaper; Blair's previous two mayors and its current mayor will reflect on the city; we'll look at some of the major events to make news in the last 150 years; and what students think Blair and Arlington will be like in the next 150 years.

We'll also feature First United Methodist Church which is also celebrating its 150th anniversary.

Sports Editor Grant Egger has been rifling through files and old newspapers to relieve Blair and Arlington's state championships and find those great sports moments of the last century and a half.

The first newspaper was established in Blair in May 1869 by L.F. Hilton, who is the great-great-great grandfather of Chris Rhoades, the sixth generation of the family to work in newspapers in Blair.

There have been plenty of changes in the newspaper industry since the first ink was slung to newsprint.

Readers can learn about what Publisher Mark Rhoades calls the industry's first word processor — the Linotype machine — and meet one of the last people in Blair to operate one.

Publisher Emeritus Ken Rhoades, who has worked in newspapers since he was just a boy, will share some of the major stories he remembers covering.

The special 150th celebration edition will be available in the Enterprise on June 7 and in the Arlington Citizen June 13.

Leeanna Ellis is the managing editor of the Washington County Pilot-Tribune and Enterprise and the Arlington Citizen.

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