Historic Society Properties > Our Manheim Newspaper Collection

Much of the history of Manheim from 1841 to the present time was written from week to week in our Manheim Newspaper. Jacob Stauffer, the son of Samuel C. Stauffer, an old Manheim clock-maker, set up the first printing press in Manheim in 1830. He may have printed the first newspaper. He was also a storekeeper, apothecary, naturalist and artist and likely made some of the first pictures of Manheim in his early sketches of Stiegel's Mansion and the original Zion Lutheran Church. In later Manheim papers he also wrote colorful reminiscent articles on old Manheim history and customs.

The Manheim Historical Society is proud to be the only known holder of this precious segment of Manheim history, mostly in bound yearly sets, the collection starts on September 17, 1841 with the very first newspaper in Manheim - The Sun - and ends with the final edition of Stiegel News on 28 December, 1978. Over one hundred and thirty years of local events, as well as U.S. and World History as it affected Manheim. This includes an extensive collection of Civil War news items. The collection is fragile and steps are being taken to preserve the copies on micro-film so that they are preserved for future generations.

The printing industry was begun in Manheim by Jacob Stauffer in 1830 and it is thought that he published the first periodic newspaper in town. But his operation was short lived and he soon moved his shop and business to Mount Joy. The real printing history of Manheim was started in 1838 by John M. Ensminger who is considered to be the Father of Manheim Journalism. When he was only 16 years of age he cut his own wood type with a rare skill, fashioning the blocks of wood into all letters of the alphabet and the cuts he carved from wood and lead. If an advertiser wanted to illustrate a cow, Ensminger drew it with his pen knife on the wood and then carved it out in the cut.

In 1838 John M. Ensminger started his printing business on Market Square with a pound of type given him by a friend, after he had served as an apprentice in a Lancaster printing office, and on Friday, September 17, 1841 issued the first Manheim newspaper on record -- "The Sun" -- a small single sheet -- 8 by 13 inches in size. Subscription was 50 cents a year. The Sun was succeeded by the Weekly Planet and Rapho Banner on January 6, 1846, from which the present Manheim newspapers evolved. This was a little larger in size and had two sheets and was published at 75 cents a year. The office was in High Street (Market Square). In succeeding years its size was enlarged to 13 by 19 inches and there were elaborate headings of an eagle and scrolls, a world globe in the center and the like. On June 11, 1848 the name was changed to the Manheim Weekly Planet and Rapho Banner.

D. Bard Rock joined Ensminger in the business with the issue of May 15, 1849 and again the name was changed to the Manheim Planet and Banner. December 6, 1849 the partnership was dissolved and Rock took over the publishing of the paper, changing the name June 20, 1850 to the Manheim Whig Sentinel and Lancaster County Advertiser. A year later this was cut down to the Manheim Whig Sentinel with a large heading of a soldier standing in front of a line of tents. The publishing was now being done on North Prussian Street, (North Main Street) the 3rd door above Deegs' Globe Hotel and the circulation was 600 copies.

In 1852, John M. Ensminger again bought the business and continued publishing the Sentinel up to his death in 1899. The paper finally becoming known as the Manheim Sentinel. The office was then on South Prussian Street about across from the present Post Office. During this time a favorite columnist was known as "Our Mosey".

January 1, 1901, Ensminger's son, Wein took over the business and edited the Sentinel from 1904 to 1914. Harry E. Trout purchased the paper and printing business in 1914 and in 1923 the office was moved to North Main Street. Trout managed the paper and printing business until his death in 1947. In November, 1947 it was bought by Walter C. Miller of Lancaster. Mabel R. Koch, a descendant of the Ensmingers and with the company for many years, became the Editor and wrote the famous Cora Grumbling "Komik Korner" Pennsylvania Dutch Column.

George W. Miller, the son of Walter C. Miller, bought the establishment in May 1962 and continued publishing the Sentinel in an unfortunately less successful way to the point where the paper was little but advertisements and filler type material. Publication was finally ended early in January, 1969, and the printing company went out of business.

Previous to this, on October 20, 1952, Maurice Sanko had started the M & M Printing Company in a basement at 227 East High Street. In 1954, he added to it by buying out Clinton Ulrich's Printing business and moved into larger quarters in a building on North Penn Street. In 1956, Charles Edwards came into the business as did Lewis Fomoff, Jr. in 1957. Sanko and Fomoff bought Mr. Edwards' share of the business in 1964 and on July 1, 1965, the business was moved to its present location at 217 South Main Street and the name was changed to Stiegel Printing.

Besides the printing work, they started publishing a new weekly newspaper for Manheim to once again provide the town with the means of communication so badly needed. The first issue of Stiegel News appeared November 1, 1967 and it was fumished free from then until the issue of June 14th, 1968 when paid subscriptions were started. The first paid circulations were 300 papers. In February 1976 this had increased to an average of 3,100 papers a week. Maurice L. Sanko and Lewis Fomoff, Jr. were the publishers.

Stiegel News averaged about 25 pages an issue over the year. It's circulation covered 82% of Manheim Borough. Six papers were sent to foreign countries and 385 were sent throughout the United States, with copies reaching almost every state in the Country. Actually this was the carrying on of the old Manheim Sentinel and many people still thought and talked of it as "The Sentinel". On December 28, 1978 the Stiegel News printed its final edition.

(Information obtained from "Manheim Bicentennial 1962" and "Historical Manheim 1762-1976" and updated 1998)