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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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Hanks Truck and Trailer Repair, LLC - 715-224-2210 - 526 S. Tomahawk Ave., Tomahawk, WI

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History Picture



Covering Area News Since 1887

The Tomahawk Leader celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1987, and thus can trace its start to before the community was formally a city.

The newspaper dates to the Tomahawk; first published in 1887. Incorporation of the city came in 1891.

But, the Tomahawk was not alone, finding competition from the start. Also starting publication in 1887 was the Tomahawk Blade, which lasted until 1896.

The Tomahawk was edited by John E. Shirk and published by William M. Shirk, and the Blade was edited and published by Jed W. Coon.

The year 1896 was a major one for Tomahawk newspapers. The Tomahawk Publishing Co., a subsidiary of the Tomahawk Land Co., purchased the Tomahawk and published it until 1912. In the same year, Coon sold the Blade to Charles Deming, publisher of the Tomahawk Leader ­ no longer the Blade.

The paper changed hands in the winter of 1897-88, with H.D. Bliefernicht becoming publisher and editor. Ownership passed from him to Ware and Lee in 1904.

When the Tomahawk and the Blade were competing, the Tomahawk was the dominate paper. When the Blade became the Leader, however, it rapidly gained power. In 1913, Robert G. Lee, owner of the Leader, bought out the Tomahawk. He operated the paper alone until 1915, when he sold it to Russell and Dozer. The following year, Russell acquired sole ownership and operated the business until January 1917, when Robert G. Lee again became the owner, with L.W. Osborne as manager.

L.W. (Willis) Osborne and his brother, L.M. (Lauren) Osborne, took over the paper in February 1917, and operated it for 38 years.

The Osbornes sold the newspaper to their editor and advertising manager, Kenneth J. Keenan, on July 1, 1955. He died in March 1979, and was succeeded by his widow, Clara G. Keenan.

Clara Keenan published the newspaper until April 1, 1982, when she sold it to the present owners, Larry and Kathy Tobin.




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315 W Wisconsin Ave - PO Box 345
Tomahawk, WI 54487 - Phone: (715) 453-2151