Samuel LePage Raddon
On this site stood the office of The Park Record, Utah’s oldest weekly newspaper. It was owned and operated for 63 years by Samuel LePage “Dad” Raddon. A son of Henry George and Judith LePage Raddon, he was born in the Saint-Peter-Port, Isle of Guernsey, Great Britain, on May 13, 1858. Although the family later chose not to remain in the church, they were converts to the LDS faith and immigrated to Utah when Sam was ten years of age. Two years later he came a “printer’s devil” and was one of the earliest employees of the Salt Lake Tribune. There he learned the mechanics of newpapering and became a self-taught writer.
He moved to Park City in 1880 and for two years worked as a typesetter, then returned to the Tribune. In 1884 he again joined the Record staff, this time as editor and co-publisher, a title he held for 63 years. His 65 year association with one newspaper is a time span equaled by few, if any, western journalists.
The Record, under Sam Raddon, was the embodiment of “two-fisted journalism” in an early-west mining community. His goal was to produce the best paper possible, and so far as financial means permitted, he did so. Fiery editorials, addressing community needs and problems, often reflecting his own political leanings, earned him the respect of Park City residents as well as newspaper contemoraries. The paper was an example of classic journalism.
Historian J. Cecil Alter wrote of it, “Neither the sun, moon nor stars ever ran more smoothly than The Park Record…under Raddon’s management.
Sam outlived three competing newspapers, survived two major depressions and more than a few economic slumps in the mining industry which directly impacted the city’s economy. Even when a disastrous 1898 fire destroyed his plant along with much of the town, he never missed an issue, crediting “a little help from my friends” and the cost-free use of the Salt Lake Herald‘s production facilities. Financially, the fire was a major blow for the Record. Its recently occupied building and newly installed equipment were totally destroyed. For some time in its aftermath a tent was the paper’s office. Raddon was an influence for good in Park City and a key figure in contributing to and recording its rich history. In addition to leadership roles in civic, fraternal, and service organizations, he served as 1908 president of Utah Press Association. In 1948, less than a year after he tired and turned the paper over to his son, LePage, “Dad” Raddon died at the age of 89. In 1962, he was among the first journalists to be inducted into the Utah Newspaper Hall of Fame.