As the town grew, so did the newspaper. Pictured to the right
one of the oldest known photographs of Main Street Chokio, taken circa
1900 of the west side of Main Street (looking north). The businesses
have been identified (From left): A residence that was later moved from
Main Street; Pederson Hardware Co.; a millinery shop; unidentified
business place; E.G. Miller's Harness shop. Across the street in the
next block were the Chokio Hotel, Bartlett and Burt's General Store, a
hardware store, a bank, McNally's store, and a few more
The house in the distance (upper right)
is believed to be the first location of the Chokio Times. Charles
McAllen, publisher and editor, lived there and printed the first
newspapers in one of its back rooms.
114 years and still publishing
by Kay Grossman
The Chokio Review celebrated its 114th anniversary on February 17, 2011.
The first Chokio Review (originally named the Chokio Times) went to
press on Wednesday, February 17, 1897, and since that time has served
this community with a weekly edition, without interruption of
This newspaper has
been called by several names. It has been published in many
locations. It has had many editors and publishers.
for a newspaper to show its age because each weekly issue is a new
birth. Each issue will be different from the previous. That’s the
nature of the beast. A newspaper changes with the times. The
newspaper lives and dies with its community.
years of continuous publication says something about the staying power
of small towns – of this small town. Newspapers mirror their
communities. As the town continues, so does its newspaper week
after week, telling the town about itself.
been times we didn’t like what we read about ourselves. And there
are other times when we celebrated our accomplishments, reveling in
community is vested in its newspaper. Even though it is privately
owned, a newspaper is one of the few private businesses in which local
people feel they have ownership. When that occurs, a newspaper is
and longevity of this newspaper can be attributed to many reasons
– advertisers continuing to promote and market their products
within the newspaper, which keeps a newspaper financially healthy; and
dedicated staff who work odd hours to prepare each weekly issue, to name
a few. Perhaps the most defining reason, though, is that its
readers are still interested.
subscribers look to the Chokio Review for their news about local
events. Did the school board hire the new teacher? Will the
city council raise the water rates? What will the county board do
about a regional jail? Which students were named to the honor
roll? Where’s Mary?
only in your local newspaper where you will find the answers to these
questions. The Chokio Review has been answering these questions
for 114 years. Here’s to another 114!
Past publishers and editors
of the Chokio Review should be recognized for carrying on a community
tradition – the weekly publication of Chokio’s newspaper.
years, the Chokio Review’s publishers and editors have been the
recorders for the community, filling the many pages of the volumes they
printed with the prosperity and decline, triumphs and disappointments,
births and deaths, the joys and sorrows and everyday life of the area
Ann Dorweiler wrote in her 1973 Chokio Community History:
“The editors of our Chokio
papers are among the unsung heroes of the pioneers. I did not
realize the full impact of their contribution until the past year, as I
read hundreds of old Chokio Reviews.
of writing varies. The early editors used little punctuation,
sometimes beginning a full column with a capital letter and ending with
the period. Some words used I have not been able to find in
present day dictionaries. Regardless of style, they were an
educational facility in our community and its development.
“They created an
intelligent, informed and thinking media for the people through the
years. They contributed to the cultural, economic, and political
life of the community.
“They were our ‘Booster’ for the Old Home Town.”
The founder of
the Chokio newspaper was Charles McAllen. He began his paper, the
Chokio Times, in a back room of his home on February 17,
1897. In later years, the name of the newspaper was changed
to the Stevens County Review and owned in order by Charles Seely, 1902;
R.A. Johnson, 1904; and J.J. Maloney and E.A. Lee in 1907.
Townsend bought the newspaper in 1910 and changed the name to The Chokio
Review. Following Mr. Townsend as owners were: A.L. Bragg, 1915;
F.A. Shipman, 1919; J. Leonard Manire, 1926; John Bollinger, 1928;
George Townsend, 1930; Floyd and Bill Goulet, 1944; Gary and Jane Riba,
1966; Dean Brenner, 1968; Owen and Michele Heiberg, 1972; Nick
owners were also the editors until 1968. Editors of The Chokio
Review since then were: Joan McNally, 1968-1971; Charlene Grabil, 1971;
Joan McNally, 1973-1978; Marion Amberg, 1978; Kay Grossman,
1979-1992; Tammy Dierks, 1992-1994; Rhonda Asmus, 1994-2001; Nancy
Woodke, 2001-2005; Nick Ripperger, 2005-2006; and Kay Grossman, 2006- .