History of Fort Frances


Fort Frances has had a newspaper service for many years, the first being the Alberton Star, which was owned and operated by Mr. W.B. Little. This paper was first published every Tuesday and the annual subscription rate was $1.00. When the Dominion government changed in 1878 and work was stopped on the canal, Mr. Little placed his printing press, his type and his belongings in a canoe and set off for Rat Portage (Kenora) He was here less than two years.

The old Rainy Lake Herald, forerunner of the Fort Frances Times and Rainy Lake Herald, was the first Minnesota paper in International Falls. In fact it was the first newspaper in northern Minnesota. Mr. James Alexander Osborne purchased the paper at Rainy Lake City, a gold mining town on Black Bay of Rainy Lake, in January of 1896. When the Little American gold mine closed down Mr. Osborne barged his paper and plant in 1898 to the Village of Koochiching, now International Falls. Immigration officials would not permit him to live in Fort Frances and publish in International Falls so around 1900 he moved his plant piece by piece in a row boat to Fort Frances and renamed the paper the Fort Frances Times. The first site of the paper in Fort Frances was on First Street on land purchased from the Hudson’s Bay Company. When this building was struck by lightning on September 1, 1913, Osborne rebuilt on Scott Street where he published until 1917 when the Fort Frances Times Publishing Co. bought him out. The paper was moved to a site on Church Street in 1918 when it was taken over by Mr. W. H. Elliot. Mr. Elliot was elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1929, succeeding J.A.Mathieu. The Times, forced into bankruptcy, found Herbert Williams serving as editor pro tem.

On April 19, 1934, two experienced newspaperman from Yorkton, Saskatchewan, arrived in Fort Frances to take over the newspaper. R.H. Larson, an experienced advertising manager, assumed the title of managing editor, and J.A. Cumming, a skilled printing craftsman, became editor. The Daily Reminer arrived in the 1930’s and the Daily Bulletin of the Fort Frances Times was being published.

On March 23, 1963, Wednesday became the day of publication instead of Thursday, which had been the publishing day for 68 years. The change was made at the request of the advertisers as shopping habits were changing; Friday had replaced Saturday as the main shopping day for families.

In 1971, the Times began the new offset method of printing and on November 15, 1971, a change of ownership took place. Mr. Larson sold his share in the company to Robert A. Cumming who had succeeded his father as partner in the business. In September 1976, the Fort Frances Times moved back as neighbour to the original Times building which stood between the present building and Western Grocers.