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City and county dignitaries joined The Wilson Times staff on Wednesday to dedicate a Wilson County historical marker near the site of the newspaper’s original downtown Wilson home.
The Goldsboro Street marker commemorates now-demolished buildings that housed the Wilson Daily Times, most recently the Gold Professional Building, until its move to Downing Street in 1983.
“The Wilson Times is important to everybody who lives in Wilson County,” said Rob Boyette, county Board of Commissioners chairman. “It is a landmark in our county, and it has been so for a long time. It’s how we find out what’s going on and what’s important and how we can help make this county the best that it can possibly be.”
Wilson Times Co. Chairman and CEO Morgan Dickerman, the newspaper’s fifth-generation family owner, stressed the Times’ role in preserving local history. The Times traces its roots to Zion’s Landmark, a Primitive Baptist publication founded by Elder P.D. Gold in 1867. His son, John Gold, started the paper more than 122 years ago.
“We — and I’m speaking to everybody who works with me at the newspaper — should be proud of our legacy being the local news source since 1896,” Dickerman said. “We should be proud of ourselves because I know that the people who have walked before us are proud of y’all also.”
Dickerman noted that Times President and Publisher Keven Zepezauer is only the second person to lead the newspaper in a century and a quarter who is not a Gold family member or descendant.
After 34 years on Downing Street, the Times returned to Wilson’s historic downtown district with its move to 126 Nash St. in June 2017.
“Downtown Wilson is changing, and today I guess you could say The Wilson Times is a legacy in our community,” said Wilson Mayor Bruce Rose, who attended a brief ceremony for the historical marker’s unveiling. “I’m happy to see this. I think it’s well-deserved for our downtown.”
The Wilson County Historical Association installed the marker on the lawn beside the county administrative building annex directly across from the Wilson Police Department. The Times became the first business to participate in the association’s commercial marker program, which recognizes any local business that has operated continuously for at least 100 years.
“We are very pleased today to be able to dedicate this marker to The Wilson Times — since 1896, our community institution,” said Perry Morrison, historical association president. “In fact, it may be the only thing that’s been constant in this town since 1896.”
The Times also has two state historical markers — one near the site of Elder P.D. Gold’s home and one dedicated to Elizabeth Gold Swindell, the Times publisher and editor who became the North Carolina Press Association’s first female president.