Each month during its centennial year celebration, The Catholic Spirit will look back at how the newspaper covered news and personalities significant to Catholics both locally and nationally. This month, the focus is on our advertisers.
Advertisements for Warners’ Stellian in The Catholic Spirit here in 2011 echo back 100 years. Local businesses have always tried to attract the attention of Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis through the pages of their diocesan newspaper.
Back in 1911, when the old Catholic Bulletin was first published, L. Eisenmenger Meat Co. was marketing its “PURE SAUSAGES — 34 DIFFERENT KINDS.”
Walter Barrett was selling ROYAL OAK LOTS — “Best Lots in the City for the Money — Opposite Calvary Cemetery.” And Segerstrom Piano Mfg. Co. in Minneapolis was giving readers of the Catholic Bulletin a chance to win a $500 piano.
All were looking for customers among the readers of the very first issue of the Catholic Bulletin on Jan. 7, 1911.
Battery Stables in Minneapolis, managed by E.F. Sexton, offered livery, saddle and boarding for horses. Using the “target marketing” of the day, Battery’s ad noted, “Hearses and Carriages for Funerals a Specialty.”
And you could buy a five-passenger touring car for $1,400 from Ranger Auto in Minneapolis.
Among those early advertisers, readers of a certain age will remember long-time St. Paul firms like the Drake Marble & Tile Co., E.H. Lohmann (church and altar goods), and Rambler Motor Cars sold by the P.J. Downes Company on Sixth Street in St. Paul and Washington Avenue in Minneapolis.
By 1935, National Tea Co. was advertising four cakes of Palmolive soap for 18 cents in the Catholic Bulletin, and The Golden Rule (“Phone: Cedar 2800”), hoped Catholics would buy “New Spring Silks, Cottons and Woolens, Lingerie and Bedding . . . .”
St. Paul optometrist Frank A. Ubel was still advertising regularly, just as he had in 1911. His slogan was, “If your eyes rebel, see Ubel,” recalled his grandson, the pastor of St. Agnes in St. Paul, Father John Ubel.
There was advertising for the Bell Telephone System, Ellerbe Architects, Powers department store, Holm & Olson florists, Philco Radios you could buy on time — $1.50 a week! — at Boutels. The Emporium, Donaldson’s and Powers were among the department stores that advertised regularly; Dayton’s came in at Christmas.
Some of those 1935 advertisers are still supporting the Bulletin’s successor, The Catholic Spirit, including McGough construction company and O’Halloran & Murphy funeral home.
In the 1960s, with 50 years of publishing under its belt, the Catholic Bulletin carried advertising from Tony Muska Electric, St. Paul Book & Stationary and Northwestern National Bank, which touted its “weatherball” at the corner of Fifth and Robert in St. Paul.
McQuillan Bros. Plumbing and Heating was already advertising — and still is, bless their hearts — and so were Dey Bros. florists, Donnelly Stucco and “the new” Billman-Hunt Funeral Chapel. The Prom Center had teeny ads, and so did Minneapolis’ Murray’s Restaurant.
During its 75th year in 1986 the Catholic Bulletin saw lots of restaurants angling for business from Catholic faithful: The Cherokee Sirloin Room, Awada’s, Mama D’s, Parker House, Tinucci’s, even the five-star The Blue Horse.
They were joined by Palen Kimball, Heppner’s Auto Body, Duggan’s Comfort Footwear and Merit Chev.
Local businesses that put their names on their company titles were the rule, including Jerry Wind Quality Painting, Ray N. Welter Heating Co., R.J. Peterson & Sons Remodeling, and Moudry Apothecary Shop.
Although in 1996 the Catholic Bulletin became The Catholic Spirit, organizations like Catholic Aid Association (now Catholic United Financial), Catholic Near East Welfare Association and The Society for the Propagation of the Faith still advertised to share their stories with our readers.
Still wanting to keep the name of the business in front of the Catholic community were Catholic Eldercare, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Washburn-McReavy, Rose Burns Catering, Kessler and Maguire Funeral Home, Donald’s, Leo’s Chow Mein, and Hibernian Life.
Thankfully, many local business still value the opportunity The Catholic Spirit provides for a trusted way to connect with those they want as customers.
Today, as they put their company’s name in the top-of-mind of Catholic readers, advertisers like the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, St. Catherine University, St. Patrick’s Guild, Buca di Beppo, the Catholic Community Foundation, accountants Baune Dosen & Co., Gearty-Delmore, Cerenity Senior Care, Regina Medical Center, the St. Therese Homes, the Carondelet Foundation and so many more make it possible for The Catholic Spirit to keep readers in 85,000 homes across the Twin Cities area connected to their faith, connected to the archdiocese, and connected to the church around the world.
Bob Zyskowski is The Catholic Spirit’s associate publisher.