Company published several newspapers
By Tucker Henderson
Names carry their own weight.
That being said, names are much more likely to carry a certain weight if they are connoted with an impactful person, business, or other community facet. One of the names around New York Mills with a long history and it’s own positive weight, even after over 20 years of not being in buisness, is Parta Printers.
Parta Printers was started as Northwestern Publishing Company by Carl Parta and Adolph Lundquist in 1932. It did business for almost 70 years, before being sold to the Forum Communications Company. Sometimes people will still hear the NY Mills Dispatch refered to as the “Herald” and the “Uutiset” is still a topic of discussion when reminicing of a childhood in New York Mills. Janet Tumberg recalls working for Parta Printers during her 36 years on staff.
“Gloria (Hepola) Setterholm was working at Parta Printers and when she and Roger got married, they moved, so she resigned from the paper,” said Tumberg. “We were typists in school together. She told Russ Parta that she knew a good typist. Russ came and knocked on my door and asked me if I wanted a job and that’s how I started.”
Tumberg remembered that she didn’t have to fill out a resume, she simply went to work for the Parta family. Given a book about linotype, she recalled that she never got around to reading it. She went straight to work and lived up to her reputation as an effective typist.
“I did all the news articles that came in,” said Tumberg. “Everything was handwritten in those days. News releases from county agents, the DNR. I remember setting a lot of type for them. Local stories, weddings, obituaries. I didn’t write them, somebody else brought them in. They were articles that came in that needed to be typed.”
Tumberg also recalls many of the people that she worked with over the years. Editors of the Herald included Russ and Mike Parta and editors of the Amerikan Uutiset were Edward Riippa and Topi Halonen. She remembers linotype operator Alma Lundquist, and press operators Wesley Pernula and Burt Wallgren. Dudley Fraki and Jakki Wehking worked on advertisements while she worked there.
She also remembers the office managers and receptionists, Florine Hoyhtya, Winnie Porkkonen, and Becky Becker. Kenny Rimpila, Leslie Wohlert, Kenny Wallgren, and Jim Wallgren all delivered papers around town. Mary Laurila helped out with publication work in the back as well as Lillian Kauppi who helped put the papers together when they were shipped out. All names that carried their own unique weight.
“When the Finnish paper was still here, they were set up right accross from where I set type. I was in the corner,” Tumberg said. “Alma Lundquist was still there when I started. They were printing the Amerikan Uutiset.”
Tumberg also remembered how a large part of their business was publications such as promotional work from Lunds and other English and Finnish publications from around the country.
“In those days we had the Heinola news, there was a lady from Butler, Leaf Lake had a correspondent. They would bring in their news. I typed all of those,” said Tumberg.
Highlights of working at the paper included big stories such as when the Governor came up to speak at the open house of the new Elder’s Home. Another was the famous drug bust on Rimpila’s farm north of town. Smaller news also had its place.
“When Mike took over, I told him that he was the one I got my grey hairs from,” Tumberg joked. “He would upgrade to a newer computer and I would think, ‘Oh, how am I ever going to learn this?’ I would lose a couple nights of sleep and then get used to it.
“We used to cut and paste the articles on the page,” she continued. “When they started pagination, then everything was done on a computer and I didn’t want to do that, so it was a good thing to retire. I retired on June 29 of 2000. Mike had my retirement party at the Pier on Ottertail Lake and at the party, he annouced that he sold the paper to Fargo, it it was a good time to get out. It was a great place to work. I never got up in the morning and didn’t want to go to work.”