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The Frankfort Roundabout (Frankfort, Kentucky)
The Frankfort Roundabout, which developed from Claude Buckley's Weekly Roundabout, was one of many newspapers covering the city of Frankfort, Kentucky's state capital, and the surrounding area during the early 20th century. Frankfort Roundabout editor George A. Lewis began his career as co-editor of the Weekly Roundabout, which he purchased from Buckley in 1882. Lewis changed the publication's name in order to associate it more closely with the city of Frankfort. Like its predecessor, the Frankfort Roundabout remained a community- oriented publication and continued to print the familiar masthead, "Devoted to Local and Society News."
As it claimed, the Roundabout appropriately focused on serving the citizens of Franklin County. In addition to the agricultural reports, personal news, and serial literature typically published by turn-of-the-century newspapers, the Frankfort Roundabout included information about the daily occurrences in Frankfort and surrounding locales. "Officer James Brown caught a catfish on a trotline, near the Hermitage Distillery, on Thursday, which weighed 95 pounds. It is a 'regular darling'," one June 1905 article reads. The paper also chronicled important events in Frankfort's history. Reports on Frankfort's Centennial Celebration of 1886 received front-page coverage for months preceding the October event. When the cornerstone of the new capital building was laid in June 1906, the paper's content was dominated by the event.
The Roundabout also published an array of original material. "Corner Chat," a popular monthly column, allowed the citizens of Frankfort an opportunity to voice their opinions on current events. In 1893, one individual offered advice for a politician charged with plagiarism: "[I would] make my defense to the judges and say: Gentlemen, I am not guilty of the charge." Editor George A. Lewis also presented fresh copy, commenting vehemently on issues regarding the welfare of Frankfort. In a 1903 column referencing the need for a county kindergarten school, Lewis wrote, "It is a matter of patriotism and as such should receive your earnest consideration."
The Frankfort Roundabout’s devotion to its readers was no coincidence; it reflected the devotion of its editor. During the nearly 30 years of its publication, Lewis was the sole editor, a continuity of leadership uncommon among papers published in the early 1900s. Lewis remained at the helm of the paper until one month before its termination. In January 1908 Lewis sold the Roundabout to Hubert Vreeland, owner of the powerful State Journal and the Frankfort Printing Company. Soon afterward, the new owner decided to end the publication. During its time, the Roundabout remained "ever ready to stand for the right to ask every and all questions where the best interests of the city were involved,” Vreeland wrote in the final issue of February 29, 1908, paying homage to a paper which, for 26 years, succeeded in cultivating a sense of community in the political heart of Kentucky.
Provided by: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY