The Manteca Bulletin is moving.
After 68 years at 531 East Yosemite Avenue, we’re moving out.
The building didn’t come with the paper when Hank and Kelly Vander Veen bought the Bulletin in late 2020.
The Bulletin had been renting it from Morris Newspaper Corp. who owned the paper since 1973.
Earlier this year they sold the building to the Central Valley Association of Realtors.
It was originally built more than a century ago. It was once known as the Keppel Building.
There was a livery stable on the western half and a hardware store on the eastern half when its doors first opened.
Adjacent to the western wall where there is a church parking lot was a blacksmith shop.
Times have changed.
It was the third office for the Bulletin that start in 1908 as the Irrigation Bulletin in Ripon and followed the South San Joaquin Irrigation District when they moved their headquarters from Ripon to Manteca in May of 1912.
The first location was at 309 West Yosemite.
Today’s it is a vacant space with a wall left standing.
The Bulletin stayed there until a three-year stint when it moved to the former SSJID headquarters on the 200 block of North Main.
The SSJID had moved to its current location on East Highway 120.
That location was next to the FESM Hall. Some may remember it as Larimore’s Restaurant in later years. People in the future who enter it will know it as Brethren Brewing Co.
After that, the Bulletin in 1954 moved to 531 East Yosemite. The press was in the original back half of the building. An add-on housed circulation.
The press room today is on Button Avenue.
The Bulletin’s office when this Monday rolls around will be on the second floor of the Hensley Building on the northwest corner of Union Road and Center Street.
Leaving 531 East Yosemite is no big deal.
After all, it’s just a building.
It’s where I met Dale Johnson for the first time.
He was trying to drum up support for an 8-year-old boy who had leukemia and was in need of blood.
The story was sad enough, but the photo of the boy hugging his dog was a tear jerker.
There were 258 donors that showed up for the blood drive.
It is where Ken Hafer laid out his case for a Manteca museum that he wanted to share with the community on the front page of the Bulletin.
It is where a couple married for 60 years I had done a story on at their small farm just off Woodward Avenue in 1991 dropped by with a thank-you basket of fruit they had grown.
It is where I had the pleasure and honor of meeting and sharing the stories of countless people from Eagle Scout candidates to those organizing fundraisers and community events over the years.
It’s just a building.
It is where I met Marion Elliott for the first time.
He was the Lincoln School principal and planning commissioner at the time. He was also the quintessential Mantecan. He moved here, adopted Manteca as his hometown, and set about making it better by devoting years to community efforts such as the Manteca Babe Ruth.
Marion is the gentleman who — to this day — is responsible for the Manteca and sports history columns in the paper.
It is where I’ve worked with — and still work with — some incredible people such as Kay Garcia who is the production manager. I’m second fiddle when it comes to history with the Bulletin. Kay started in April 1990. I’m a Johnny-come-lately as I’ve only been at the Bulletin since February 1991.
It is where I met Marge Craig.
A co-worker for years who was the Bulletin’s classified manager. She was true class act with a heart and strong faith.
She gave up the New York City Fifth Avenue lifestyle where she was a model and an accomplished piano teacher to answer the call with her husband Joe to help start a church in Manteca.
When she first got here, she thought it was a hell hole. Eventually she realized the hell hole was heaven.
She did so by walking into the newspaper asking for a job. Her assumption was if she wanted to get to know a town and its people, the best way to do so was to work for a newspaper.
She loved Manteca and she loved the Bulletin.
It’s just a building.
It is where the Bulletin was able to get photos of the fire department’s first aerial truck that was pressed into service on its inaugural fire — one that heavily damaged the Bulletin building.
It was on a corner back when Manteca was less than 40,000 residents but had two local newspapers — the Bulletin and Manteca News — and three blocks away from a stretch of Center Street that housed offices of the Tri Valley Herald, Modesto Bee, and Stockton Record that were also competing for readership.
It is where reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and even the New York Times stopped by for interviews while covering an anti-trust trial between the Manteca Bulletin and Manteca News that went on for months in the 1980s and is still the longest civil trial ever in San Joaquin County history.
It’s just a building.
It's where I walked in for a job interview 31 years and 9 months ago.
It’s where I spent my first New Year’s Eve and long into New Year’s Day in Manteca. It was after someone had taken a newspaper rack in front of the Bulletin and threw it through a large plate glass window.
I got to sleep there overnight bundled up against the cold inside the office because we couldn’t find anyone to board it up in the middle of the holiday.
The same thing happened the following New Year’s Eve except a photographer we had at the time volunteered to hunker down for the night in a sleeping bag.
Needless to say, I was able to convince the publisher at the time after the second New Year’s Eve of having the newspaper box thrown through the window incident to chain the rack to the wall to avoid a three-peat.
It is where I was surprised by a lady I didn’t know all that well at the time with a present during a chamber mixer the Bulletin hosted that happened to fall on my birthday. We were married 14 weeks later. It was the best birthday I’ve ever had.
Not bad for it being just a building.
This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org