Freedom Center: The end of an era in Chicago newspaper publishing

June marked the closure of the Freedom Center, the plant that printed almost every newspaper in Chicago, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, and even the local edition of the New York Times.

First opened in 1982, the riverfront facility at Chicago and Halsted is being demolished to make way for Bally’s Casino. 200 people are being laid off, some of whom were wonderfully profiled by Robert Channick and Vincent Alban in the Chicago Tribune.

To commemorate the end of an era in Chicago publishing, we’re highlighting three videos that take you inside the places where news was printed and distributed in Chicago.

It’s a Living: Paper Wagon

This 1976 tape, produced by Bart Friedman and Nancy Cain under the auspices of Videopolis, provides a window into the workplace and culture of the people who got us our news every day: the workers at the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Station.

This video by Bill Stamets captures the printing of the first Chicago Sun Times edition of the millennium, January 1, 2000. The site at 401 N Wabash was demolished in 2004 and later replaced by Trump Tower.


In this video, the Chicago Sun-Times prints the edition announcing the death of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1976, and we also see the news reported by WTTW’s John Callaway.



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