It may have been known as "the gay 90s," but the last decade of the 19th century was far from carefree for many Americans. A major financial panic occurred in 1893 and the nation's economy was in transition.
But new clothing styles, new forms of recreation, a new style of music and yes, changing morals gave the decade its name.
There was something else new. It was the Wheeling News, forerunner of today's Wheeling News-Register, published first on Sept. 22, 1890.
Today, we celebrate the newspaper's 123rd birthday, looking to the future with much the same philosophy our founder, H.C. Ogden, had in the beginning. He believed firmly that the newspaper should be a strong force for the public good. Dedication to the best possible news coverage of our area, our states, our nation and the world was one pillar of the platform on which Ogden built the newspaper.
Courageous, independent editorial leadership also was part of Ogden's plan. He believed in taking positions intended to be best for the people of our area, regardless of party politics and special interests.
For nearly a century and a quarter, that formula has served our readers, our communities and our states well.
Our reporting of local news is unparalleled, making use of a force of journalists larger and stronger than all other media outlets combined. While others merely touch the surface, our reporters and editors dig beneath it to keep readers truly informed.
Our editorial pages continue to reject unthinking allegiance to either Democrat or Republican parties or politicians. Our stances sometimes may be considered conservative and sometimes may be viewed as liberal - but they always reflect our allegiance to the people of West Virginia and Ohio.
That is more than just a policy. It is a feeling of loyalty because we live here, too. We want only the best for our neighbors, friends, co-workers and families. We want bright futures for our children and grandchildren.
In some ways the 1890s were very different from today. People were singing songs such as "In the Good Old Summertime" and "The Band Played On." Horse-drawn wagons and steam locomotives provided transportation. Telephones were new. Illumination was by gaslight and kerosene lantern.
Much has changed, even at the newspaper. The appearance of our printed product is different. A website and news delivery to smartphones have been added.
But one thing has not changed. Our dedication to serving our readers remains firm, as H.C. Ogden intended in 1890.
In a rapidly changing world, that is cause for celebration. We hope you will join us, then, in wishing ourselves "Happy Birthday" as we renew our commitment to you.