A Kentucky New Era sign was installed Monday morning at 713 S. Main St., signaling that the newspaper’s staff will soon move into the downtown building.

The sign is a replica of the New Era’s front-page name plate in an Old English font that has been the local paper’s signature since it was established shortly after the Civil War. It includes a period at the end of the name, an old custom that was dropped by many newspapers decades ago but remained in the New Era out of affection for the tradition. The 18-inch-tall letters in the sign are white and have LED lights with a solar cell to automatically trigger illumination in the evening, said New Era publisher Brandon Cox.

There was never any doubt that he wanted the distinctive name plate on the building, he said. It is prominent against a fresh coat of black paint above new windows on the building’s front.

Twenty staff members who comprise the newsroom, business office, advertising and circulation are scheduled to move into the new offices on Dec. 20. They will leave behind the New Era’s facility on East Ninth Street near Skyline Drive, which had been the newspaper’s home since 1971.

“We’re excited,” said Cox, noting that the renovated storefront building at Eighth and Main is a mix of nostalgia and modern styling. 

An open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 17.

The move will put the New Era back in the downtown district where it was established in 1869 – and just around the corner from its last home downtown at Seventh and Bethel streets. 

The new offices are in a portion of the former J.C. Penney building and across the street from the Hopkinsville Municipal Center.

Hopkinsville businessman Hal McCoy purchased the building and signed an agreement last spring to build in offices for the newspaper. McCoy, who owns a number of commercial properties around the city and some historic buildings downtown, has said he will also put in offices for his business. The second and third floors are reportedly being considered for a residence. 

The building still has a loading dock at the rear, which made it one of the only properties downtown that could handle the delivery of the newspapers from a truck after an early-morning printing in Owensboro.

“Hal has really pulled out all the stops,” Cox said of the renovations. 

The New Era had been owned by the family of Taylor Wood Hayes, who was the publisher, up until November 2018, when it was sold to Paxton Media Group in Paducah. The sale of the New Era and several smaller papers was for the businesses but not the real estate. Hayes plans to sell the newspaper building and the former television station building next door. 

The 19,100-square-foot newspaper building is listed for $1,075,000 with real estate firm NAI-Clarksville’s president Wayne Wilkinson. The former television station is listed for $225,000. It has 6,400 square feet.

The New Era is published Tuesday through Saturday. Most mornings, it is available online shortly after midnight. Subscribers get the printed paper delivered in the afternoon mail on the same day.

Cox said a newspaper box will be set in front of the New Era’s new downtown office. Someone looking for the earliest available paper would likely find it there after a truck delivers the New Era to Hopkinsville between 2:30 and 3 a.m.

Jennifer P. Brown is a former New Era editor. She was employed by the newspaper from 1986 to 2016. She established Hoptown Chronicle in 2018. Reach her at editor@hoptownchronicle.org.

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