The Gainesville Daily Times' first issue came off a second hand flat-bed press in a former funeral home on a Sunday morning, Jan. 26, 1947. While there were doubts at times that first issue would make it, The Times' presses have never missed a run since.
The post-war years looked promising in Northeast Georgia, and founders Charles and Lessie Smithgall believed it was time for a daily newspaper based in Gainesville. Ray Hull was the first editor, and his main reporter was Sylvan Meyer, who soon became managing editor, then editor over two of the paper's most important decades.
The newspaper started with about 3,000 circulation, climbing to about 4,000 before the year was out. Today's circulation is 26,000.
The Gainesville Daily Times printed Sunday through Friday. A Saturday edition didn't begin until Jan. 23, 1988.
In 1952, The Daily Times moved from its 303 Washington St. home around the block to 308 W. Spring St. WGGA-AM, also founded by Smithgall, shared the building, known as the Press-Radio Center. That same year, a fire struck the composing room, but the paper still came out that day with help from printers around town.
By 1957, the daily paper had grown enough to require a more modern rotary press that increased capacity from eight pages to 32 pages per press run.
As computers came to the newspaper industry and offset printing technology improved, The Times began planning a new facility, acquiring property on North Green Street across from the post office.
A new offset press was installed in the new building and the first paper printed on it was April 27, 1970. The building was dedicated on July 4 of that year.
The newspaper was sold to Gannett Co. Inc. in 1981 and by the next year, Gannett has expanded the press to accommodate printing of USA Today for parts of the Southeast.
In 2004, The Times was acquired by Morris Multimedia Inc., a Georgia-based company that is one of the largest privately held media organizations in the United States. The company was founded by Charles H. Morris in Savannah, Georgia in 1970.
The "Gainesville" in the newspaper's name was dropped during the first decade to reflect its broader coverage area. "Daily" was dropped in 1972 to shorten the name simply to The Times.
The newspaper celebrated its 60th anniversary in January 2007.
Today, through both The Times and gainesvilletimes.com, the newspaper remains committed to the same ideals as those of its founders, Charles and Lessie Smithgall. The newspaper strives each day to provide quality coverage of the news of the day, with a particular focus on Northeast Georgia.
(This information came from a column by Johnny Vardeman in special section celebrating The Times' 50th anniversary in 1997. Vardeman is a former editor of The Times.)