History of Vicksburg Commercial Newspaper

A fully-operating letterpress print shop celebrating the long history of the Vicksburg Commercial newspaper.

HISTORY:  The Vicksburg Commercial, once published as the Vicksburg Semi-Weekly Commercial as the South County Commercial-Express, was established in 1879.

Though one of the oldest continuously published weekly newspapers in the state, its name and ownership has changed many times over the years.

Mr. Thornton and Mr. Cross established the paper in rooms over a store on Main Street. Thornton soon sold out to Cross, who at the time was also publishing the Wakeshma Sentinel.

John B. Penfield purchased the newspaper in 1881 and sold it to Charles Baldwin in 1884.

Mr. Penfield again became the owner in 1892. After his death in 1917, his daughter, Elise, operated it until her death in 1919. John L. Penfield served as publisher until his death in 1931, after which time his widow, Vera Anderson Penfield, operated the newspaper until selling it to Meredith and Bernice Clark in 1947.

In 1972, the Clark’s purchased the Schoolcraft Express, and eventually the name was changed to the Commercial-Express.

The Clarks sold out to West Michigan Publishers in 1977, which was succeeded by Vicksburg Publications in 1979. Michigan Women’s Times, Inc. in 1994, and Patriot Publications in 1996.

The Kalamazoo Gazette purchased the paper in 2000, and continued to publish it under the name, South County Commercial-Express until they closed it in 2011.

THE BUILDING:  The building is new construction and serves as one of the few operating letterpress museums in the state. The equipment is demonstrated for the public during special events in the Historic Village.