Mr. J. K. Vardaman has started a new paper in Greenwood called The Commonwealth. The office is on Front Street, next to the Selliger building. The paper will be a weekly and published Thursday.
From The Delta Flag, December 18, 1896
The COMMONWEALTH has bought from Mr. T. R. Austin the two story brick building, No. 207 Market Street, next door east of Herbert Tull Co. store and will move into same about the 15th or 20th of the present month where we will be permanently at home to our friends and the public generally. Our new quarters will be much better adapted for transacting the rapidly increasing business of the COMMONWEALTH and we shall make such improvements on the paper from time to time as the business of the office justifies. In the meantime, we hope to merit the continued good will and patronage of the public.
From The Commonwealth, January 10, 1908
The Greenwood Commonwealth is housed in a new handsome home, its enterprising editor Mr. J. L. Gillespie, having recently bought a two-story brick building for that purpose. Mr. Gillespie is one of the most successful newspapermen in the State, and he is a hustler, too, and deserves the success which his enterprise and public spirit has given him. -Sardis Reporter
From The Commonwealth, February 14, 1908
Last Sunday morning just before the hour of noon and while our good people were assembled at the various churches of worship, the fire whistle announced that there was a fire in the heart of the city. Few left the services to see about the fire but the mind of those who remained were for the present far from the theme which the preacher was discussing.
The fire proved to be the Commonwealth office on Market Street and had gained considerable headway when discovered. The whole front of the building was afire and burning furiously when the fire department arrived. Its headway was quickly checked but considerable difficulty was experienced in extinguishing the flames in the cracks and crevices of the ceiling and stock.
The stock of stationery was practically a complete loss but the damage to the presses, type, etc., is hard to estimate. The principal damage done to them being done by the water with which the entire shop was drenched.
We understand that the loss is well covered by insurance as far as insurance usually goes in such matters, which never recompenses one for everything lost by fire.
While all work in their own office has been suspended during the week awaiting the adjustment of the fire loss, temporary headquarters were established next door and all urgent work has been done and the Commonwealth will appear this week and will not lose an issue.
The origin of the fire is not known and remains a mystery. Gordon and Mike had both been in the office that morning just prior to the fire but no one else. Gordon was the first to leave, going to the depot to catch the train to Berclair where he went to spend Sunday and Mike left about 15 minutes later and about twenty minutes before the fire. Neither are cigarette smokers, so of the many ills that can be laid at that door, you will have to except this fire. It started in the front office near the stock shelves and its origin is mere speculation.
From The Greenwood Enterprise, January 21, 1910
Last Sunday about noon the fire alarm was turned in from district two, it being discovered that the COMMONWEALTH office and plant was in flames. The fire department its usual quick run and was soon at the scene of the conflagration. The whole front of the building was a mass of flames and smoke, which was quite an impediment to the quick work that the department generally does. Before their arrival, several passersby had broken the windows and the glass in the front door which caused a draught that precipitated the flames. However, the company did excellent work and soon had the fire smothered. About one o'clock the fire was completely out, leaving the office in quite a damaged condition.
The origin of the fire is unknown. Before leaving on the eleven o'clock train for Berclair, James Gordon Gillespie, the junior editor, and Michael Busam were in the office opening the Sunday mail. Mr. Busam left the office about 11:15 o'clock and was down to the Southern train when Mr. Gillespie left. As soon as Mr. Gillespie arrived at Berclair, he was kindly informed by the Cumberland operators that his office was afire and was being burned down. He caught the next rain for Greenwood and arrived at 2:45 to find the office in a ruined condition.
It seems that the fire began just under the telephone against the large stock case. The front half of the office was totally destroyed, all the sock and fixtures. The heat of the flames burned the rollers from the presses in the office and caused considerable corrosion of the type, which leaves same of very little value. Several large and costly jobs , ready for delivery, were destroyed by the flames. Mr. Kitchell, proprietor of the Delta Machine Works, estimates the damage to the presses and other machinery in the office to be between $350 and $450. The ceiling and walls, and the entire front of the building will have to be rebuilt. Summing the total loss, it will aggregate between $3,000 and $4,000, which was partially covered by insurance.
Upon the kindness of the Daily Chronicle and Enterprise we were at once offered the use of their type and presses, which evidences the kindly feelings that always exist between the Commonwealth and its contemporaries. Dr. Lee Arterbury, the hustling real estate man of Addition fame, has kindly given us one of his handsomely appointed offices for temporary use, where we can be found until we can remove into our old home.
Hon. J. L. Gillespie, senior editor and State Land Commissioner of Mississippi, arrived in Greenwood Sunday evening last to estimate the loss caused by the fire. He returned to Jackson Tuesday morning, but was again called to the city Wednesday by a meeting of the insurance adjusters.
So soon as the improvements can be made and we can remove into our new home, we will be better fitted than ever to give our readers a live newspaper and to turn out even classier stationery than ever before.
From The Commonwealth, January 21, 1910
The Daily Commonwealth will on September 1st 1920, move into its large building, No. 209 West Market Street, now occupied by the H. D. Walker Auto Company, where more commodious quarters will be afforded in handling the different departments of our newspaper and job printing business.
The new home of the paper is 30x100 feet, giving ample room in which to furnish our patrons a larger and better newspaper and give proper attention to all classes of job printing.
The necessary additional machinery will be added to our present plant to make it one of the most up-to-date printing establishments in the State, and in the meantime we shall continue to give the public the best service possible in our limited quarters until we move into our larger building, Sept. 1st, when the service will be much improved.
The entire present Commonwealth Building has been leased for a term of years to The Delta Insurance & Realty Agency, and that progressive company will move into same on Sept. 1st.
Mr. Shelby S. Steele, President of the Agency, will have the building, upstairs and down, thoroughly remodeled and furnished throughout in a manner that will make it one of the most modern and up-to- date insurance and realty offices in Mississippi.
From The Commonwealth, April 28, 1920