It's been 75 years
since The Virginia Mountaineer published the first edition of
what was billed then -- and is still billed now -- as "Buchanan
County's Family Newspaper."
What started out then as a small four-page weekly newspaper
to keep Buchanan County residents aware of the local goings on of
the community and as a vehicle for the publication of various legal
notices, has grown into an average 24-page weekly newspaper which in
75 years has chronicled the ups, the downs and the inbetweens of
Buchanan County and her residents.
Through floods, fires progress and scandals,
The Virginia Mountaineer
has been there to record the events for the now and for future
generations to see as well.
The Mountaineer actually began publication 75 years
ago today on May 22, 1922 when Hannibal A Compton combined forces
with Cecil C. Waldron to establish the newspaper.
time, only five editors beginning with Hannibal Compton, have served
Compton left as editor shortly after the
paper was started and Waldron took over.
Waldron remained in the
post until his death in 1945 at which time W.R. Waldron, Cecil's
son, took over and operated the paper until 1951 when the Waldron
family sold the paper.
T.J. Holland was the next editor when ownership changed and he
remained in that position until his death in 1971.
son of founding editor Hannibal Compton, took over the paper in 1972
and continues as its publisher and editor today.
The Mountaineer had at least two forerunners in
Buchanan County -- The Sandy Valley News, which was still in
existence at the time the paper started and The Messenger,
which published before the turn of the century and went out of
publication around the year 1900.
The Sandy Valley News quit
publishing in the late 1920's and the Mountaineer ended up purchasing most of that
"Most weekly newspapers of that day were affiliated with one
or the other of the two political parties," Lodge Compton says as he
recalls early newspaper history.
When the Mountaineer first started in 1922, the offices were
on the upstairs floor of the old bank building on Main Street, which
later was the home of Grundy Drug Co. for many years. It later moved
to the Waldron building, near the Slate Creek bridge. At that time,
it was where the old Morgan Theater building is now located.
The newspaper's third home was on lower Main in the vicinity
of Thomas Furniture.
The newspaper remained there until 1957 after
the flood of that year at which time the office was relocated to its
current home on East Main Street, next to Rife Chevrolet.
The Mountaineer has had little in the way of
competition from a rival newspaper during its 75-year existence.
In the late 1930's, The Buchanan Progress came into being and stayed until shortly
after World War II ended.
Just after World War II, The Grundy Star came into being when
Robert Blake, a West Virginia newspaperman set up the paper in
Grundy with local partners.
The paper later merged with the
Mountaineer and the Mountaineer name carried on.
In the early days, the newspaper was a four-page broadsheet
and featured predominantly legal notices, some limited news and
personal information as well as obituaries. By the late 1940's it
was an eight-page paper and that growth continued until today's
average 24-page, two section weekly paper.
Compton's affiliation with the newspaper began when he was a
At that time, the newspaper was in the old Thomas Furniture
building. The year was 1944.
"I started working there in the summer of 1944 at about the
age of 11,"Compton recalls. "I was a printer's