While several short-lived monthly publications pre-date the Record-Express, Lititz’s first official weekly newspaper was established on Sept. 14, 1877. On that date, the Litiz Record, owned and operated by John F. Buch, was born.
Four years later, The Weekly Express, originally a monthly pub called The Sunbeam, made its debut under the leadership of renowned prohibitionist and bicycle salesman John Zook. Zook later published one of Lititz’s most cherished history books, “Historical and Pictorial Lititz,” in 1905.
During the earliest days of the Lititz weekly, the original spelling of Lititz was used in the banner (Litiz). In 1880, the current spelling was installed by order of the U.S. Postmaster General, who preferred the English spelling and pronunciation.
The original publishers/editors, Buch and Zook, ran these newspapers for several decades. Shortly after new ownership took over, the two competing weeklies merged into the Lititz Record-Express in 1937.
On Aug. 15, 1945, the Record-Express announced the end of World War II with the largest headline (half a page) in the newspaper business. It read, “Peace! Thank God.” During this period, William Young owned the paper.
Former editor William Young was the face of Lititz news gathering when he published the Record Express during the 1940s and ’50s.
The last independent owner of the Record Express was Robert Campbell, who published the Lititz weekly from 1962 to 1987. The paper is now a key publication with Lancaster County Weeklies, part of Steinman Enterprises, which also operates Lancaster’s city papers.
The original subscription rate for the Litiz Record was $1.50 per annum. 134 years later, it remains a very affordable $13.50 per year.
In its long history, Lititz’s weekly newspaper has covered the assassination of President Garfield, the death of General John Augustus Sutter, the Agnes Flood of ’72, and noteworthy visits by Teddy Roosevelt III, Wilt Chamberlain and Muhammad Ali. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg; oh, by the way, both the Record and the Express reported the sinking of the Titanic on 4/14/12.