No more Pulliam Production Center

Dateline: Tue 10 Aug 2010

A blog reader writes:

"Has anyone noticed the removal of the name 'Pulliam' from the Production Center? I drove by and around it the other day and it is gone. Wiped clean. "

What goes?

Gannett goes. Or rather, the Pulliam name and history go; Gannett stays...As for the Pulliam Production Center, the name Pulliam is indeed gone from the Northwestside building where the Star and other Gannett pulications are  printed. Gone, but not forgotten.

According to the Indianapolis Star's archived webiste, and my own memory, the Pulliam Production Center was unveiled in July 2002. The newly-constructed building at 8278 N. Georgetown Road housed a $72-million state-of-the-art printing facility. State-of-the art is not tossed around lightly; the presses were purchased for a fortune and imported from Germany, and for a year or so, German pressmen were crawling all over the facility, instructing Hoosier workers in the operation of the new sophisticated technology.

This was a big deal, setting up those presses. It was a project begun before Gannett bought the Star in 2000, when the paper was still Pulliam-owned.

The printing presses that were in the bowels of the basement at 307 N. Penn, which is where the Star's offices/headquarters still are, were ancient, so new presses from Germany were purchased, and a buyer was found for the old machinery.

When the new presses were unveiled, everyone who was anyone was there: Gov. Frank O'Bannon (who was to die a year or so later); local politicians, community leaders, the usual blah-blah. Wine flowed and food was served. As I recall, only three lowly newsroom reporters/worker bees were invited -- all columnists. That would be sports columnist Bob Kravitz and the two-then metro/state columnists, John Strauss and myself.

Strauss rode his motorcycle to the shindig. He eventually left Gannett, sometime after I retired in 2006. He was  moved around like furniture, and eventually put into a slot as a rewrite man for the Star's website. Kravitz, of course, still remains.

The printing press party was in the early Gannett days, when some of us were stupidly bullish that Gannett would make some improvements but leave the integrity of newspapering alone.

So much for the Pulliam name, "gone with the wind."


Tell The Truth [Member] said:

This will probably shock you, given that I was no Pulliam fan. But I, too, lament the loss of the name on that beautiful facility.

I was at that party. It ranks among the most surreal I've ever attended. Lots of odd karma floating around.

Foretelling, eh?

2010-08-10 06:46:34

George Stuteville [unverified] said:

I was glad for The Star when it opened because I thought it ensured the survival of the paper. The previous month, I had already departed (and was practically deported) from the newsroom by then. I hate seeing the Pulliam's name removed. I still feel indebted to what they built. It was a huge part of my life.

2010-08-10 08:40:40

Rich Gotshall [unverified] said:

Not only do I remember the grand opening, I was the person who shared the honor of naming the building. I suggested Pulliam Production Center, but the final word was modified to Centre, as in Circle Centre mall. So I shared the honor with whoever it was that suggested "re".
I well remember the German technician "briefing" us at length about the new presses by starting with the history of printing from Gutenberg on.

2010-08-10 11:23:23

hendy [Member] said:

And when Rock Island was going, it was noxious to drive by there...

Pulliams come, Pulliams go.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.....

2010-08-10 14:04:29

VladTheImpaler [unverified] said:

Death to Gannett.

2010-08-10 17:19:29

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Excellent point, Hendy! I officed three blocks east of the refinery in the late 80s, for two years. The refinery's emissions ate two coats of paint off my car.

Earl Scheib ended up profitting from that stint.

2010-08-10 18:22:58

hendy [Member] said:

You wonder about what it does to lungs....

2010-08-10 20:19:13

me [unverified] said:

will this post.

2010-08-11 02:05:27

me [unverified] said:

Hey Ruth,
Whats up with all this fingerprinting to post...r u a private i for gannett...ha ha i knw better!!! wht happen to posting. Anyway...I to remember the day when star and news was an INdpls community newspaper!!! Oh well so goes neighborhood, community, goes city, us company, us news!!! As I have said ...tony hulman is rolling, so is eugene pulliam...I dont want to b at their party...but, i wish i was invited, stay for a cold pop...put my 2 cents in...well...maybe a thousand dollars now...and return to keep...keepin on keepin on!!! Keep us ole school informed ruth!!!

2010-08-11 02:16:44

Seneca [unverified] said:

"Center" to "Centre." So pretentious. I wonder how many Brits are changing "Centre" to "Center."

It still is noxious to drive by Rock Island.

". . . new boss, same as the old boss . . ."

Except greedier (if that is possible).

2010-08-11 08:28:37

Seneca [unverified] said:

Or "Crowne" to "Crown." Or "olde" to "old."

2010-08-11 08:37:06

Roberta X [unverified] said:

I remember when that building came online, eventually followed by yanking the old presses out of downtown. Though I was heartbroken to see the half-dismantled remains during an Official Visit (a newspaper ought to have presses shaking the building!), I was still pleased to see the new production Centre happen: it meant our local paper was going to still be around and still be local.


Does Gannet not understand the only unique thing a local newspaper has to offer is the "local" part? Why do I bother to ask?

2010-08-11 12:12:13

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

I often worked in the Star basement adjacent to the presses: I could walk through a door and be in the pressroom. And when those things began to roll, a great and important vibration shook the place. Watching the flying pasters at work (didn't you ever wonder how, when one roll of newsprint was running out, another was swung into action without losing the web?) was exciting.

2010-08-11 15:30:56

Bob Daugherty [unverified] said:

In my days at the Star, I can recall no sweeter sound than those oresses when they cranked up. A plate even flew off the press once smashing through the big window and into the classified department.

2010-08-21 14:01:14

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