“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Waukesha in Waukesha County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

The Waukesha Freeman

The Waukesha Freeman Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Linda Hansen, 2010
1. The Waukesha Freeman Marker
Inscription.  The first issue of the Waukesha Freeman was published on March 29, 1859. The paper was founded by Martin Cullaton to provide a voice for the Abolitionist movement.

H.M. Youmans became owner, publisher and editor in 1874, continuing in those roles for 55 years.

In the 1880s, the Freeman became the first Waukesha business to have an elevator and a central telephone system. In 1920, the Freeman merged with the Herald and Dispatch to form the Waukesha Daily Freeman. In 1937, the Freeman moved into its 200 Park Place site.

The Freeman won acclaim in the 1950s for its fight for public access to local government and meetings. A decade later it set a precedent by winning a lawsuit that defined open records law in Wisconsin. In 1953, the paper published the first three-dimensional ad in newspaper history, with 3D glasses stapled to the papers.

The Youmans family sold the Freeman in 1979 to the Des Moines Register & Tribune Co., which sold the paper in 1983 to Thomson Newspapers, which sold it in 1997 to Conley Publishing.

The Freeman opened its present office at 801 N. Barstow St. on November 4,
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Erected 2010 by Waukesha County Historical Society. (Marker Number 34-19.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Communications. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1934.
Location. 43° 0.682′ N, 88° 13.734′ W. Marker is in Waukesha, Wisconsin, in Waukesha County. Marker is on Barstow Street north of South Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 801 North Barstow Street, Waukesha WI 53186, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Rotunda (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Waukesha Civic Theatre (WCT) (about 500 feet away); Courthouse Complex (about 600 feet away); American Legion Home (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cohn's Shoe Store (approx. 0.2 miles away); Waukesha City - Cutler Park (approx. ¼ mile away); Prehistoric Indian Mound (approx. ¼ mile away); Silurian Spring (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Waukesha.
Additional commentary.
1. History of the Waukesha Freeman
On March 29, 1859, The Waukesha Freeman was first published as a weekly newspaper with a subscription price of $1.50 a year or $1.00 in advance. Martin Cullaton moved his Watertown Transcript to Waukesha to begin
The Waukesha Freeman Building image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Linda Hansen, 2010
2. The Waukesha Freeman Building
publishing the Waukesha Freeman. The newspaper's ownership was passed on many times in its first 150 years. It was only six months before Cullaton sold out to L.B. Wright. At the beginning of the Civil War, the Freeman's slogan was "Free schools, Free homesteads, and universal Liberty." Beginning in 1871 and coninuing until 1900 a column was run about temperance with alcohol. By 1873 the paper was sold to Henry Mott Youmans who also became its editor. The newspaper also moved their operations many times including to a building at the Five Points, one on Grand Ave., one on South St., one on Barstow St., and finally to its current location at 801 N. Barstow St.

Telegraph reports began to appear in 1882 but not on the first page, which was always reserved for local news. The Waukesha Freeman was the first business in Waukesha to put in a central telephone system in 1882. On Nov. 1, 1920, the Freeman merged with the Waukesha Herald to become the Waukesha Daily Freeman.

Henry M. Youmans was with the newspaper for 60 years. His nephew Henry A. Youmans succeeded his uncle in 1930. In 1952 the newspaper was recommended for a Pulitzer Prize for its fight against secrecy in government. The first three-dimensional picture in newspaper history was published here and around the world in 1953 with 10,500 pairs of 3-D glasses to view the ad. Henry A. Youmans, Jr. was named publisher
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succeeding Mrs. Josephine Youmans-Thurwachter.

In 1972 the production process was switched from cold type to photocomposition machines. In 1978 the Des Moines Register and Tribune Co. purchased the newspaper from the Youman's family after they ran it for 110 years. Thomson Newspapers Inc. of Des Plaines, IL was the next to purchase the newspaper in 1983. In 1993 and 1994, the Freeman won the general excellence award from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association as the best in the state in its circulation size. The Conley Publishing Group purchased the newspaper in 1997 and continues as owner today.

In 2007 The Freeman won the first place general excellence award in the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Better Newspaper contest.
    — Submitted May 28, 2011, by Linda Hansen of Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on May 28, 2011, by Linda Hansen of Waukesha, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 2,184 times since then and 134 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 28, 2011, by Linda Hansen of Waukesha, Wisconsin. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 29, 2023