The Waxahachie Daily Light has been a source of pride for Ellis County since 1867. That’s more than 150 years ago! It was a busy year in the U.S., too.
Ready-mixed paint and barbed wire were patented. President Andrew Johnson announced the Alaska purchase – the acquisition of Alaska from Russia.
The Daily Light stood firm throughout decades of changes in the country, the state and the town. As technology changed the way news is printed and consumed, the paper changed right along with it. An old printing press still lies dormant in the Daily Light office today. The publication has also run the gamut from one publishing company to the next.
There is one thing, however, that has remained constant since 1981 – the Daily Light started operating out of its newly built 12,500-square-foot building at 200 W. Marvin Ave. More than 700 people joined the staff and beloved publisher Chester Anglen on a Sunday afternoon to celebrate the grand opening.
But the Waxahachie Media Group will say farewell to its building soon, after it was recently sold. A new location has yet to be announced, and a search is underway with plans to stay in the city of Waxahachie.
Anglen’s daughter, Sherry Parton, was a high school student during those early years.
“I would come down on Saturday nights when my brother was still working back in the press, and I would help out because I was bored,” recalled Sherry as she flipped through an old but well-kept photo album showing pictures of the grand opening. “I would roll papers; I had a route. It was just fun.”
Parton contracts with the circulation department, today. She served as a business manager from 1999 to 2002.
Advertising and Operations Director Colten Crist has been leading the current team for almost a year. He is impressed by the decades worth of history behind the walls.
“I love to explore the infrastructure. Most of the community have never seen the tucked away lofts or forgotten offices in the back,” Crist expressed. “The history inside our building ... is very special. I have found beautiful paintings, forgotten memos, WWII page reprints…”
Out with the old
An article from the archives described the building as “spacious” and “modern.”
Thirty-eight years later, it is no longer modern, but the square footage hasn’t changed. That is one of the driving forces behind the decision to say goodbye to the building and find a new home for the 153-year-old paper that has stood the test of time.
“Let somebody come in and repurpose it and bring it back up to glory and let them enjoy it,” said Robin Fox, who has worked inside the building for 25 years. “Let’s give it with love and pass it on to another group who is going to love being here just as much as we love being here.”
“It's way too big for us now,” Fox added.
The Daily Light’s sister paper, Midlothian Mirror, came on board in more recent years, but it too will be making the journey to the next chapter, which begins within months as the building was recently sold to Keller Williams Realty.
“This building brings a lot of memories,” Parton admitted.
Crist promised to cherish those memories of years past as new ones are created. Above all, he said, the stories of Ellis County will continue to be told within our pages.
“Our industry is changing,” Crist explained. “Information and news consumption patterns are changing exponentially, and our plan is to connect our readers and the community with news and content on-demand in whatever format is best for them. That includes the traditional reader of our printed newspaper, our readers of our digital platforms and our social media followers. We will do this by never forgetting our past, believing our forefathers put freedom of the press and speech on the First Amendment for a reason.”