Capital Gazette newspapers in Annapolis trace their origins to 1727

The Capital Gazette offices in Annapolis, site of a shooting Thursday afternoon that left multiple people dead or injured, is home to a pair of newspapers, one among the oldest in the nation, the other serving Maryland’s capital city for 134 years.

The Maryland Gazette traces its origins back to 1727 in Annapolis, when it was founded by British journalist William Parks. Forty years later, Anne Catharine Green became the first female newspaper publisher in the country, according to a history on the Capital Gazette website.

The Gazette was the seventh newspaper established in what would become the United States. In July 1776, the Gazette was one of the first newspapers to publish the Declaration of Independence, although it appeared on page 2; then, as now, local news took precedence.

The Maryland Gazette, which merged with the Capital in 1919, was a weekly covering all of Anne Arundel County until 1955, when its focus was narrowed to northern Anne Arundel County. It became a twice-weekly publication in 1969.

The daily Capital was founded in Annapolis in 1884 by William Abbott, a former judge of the Anne Arundel County orphans court. Known for years (and still by many old-timers) as the Evening Capital, the paper was purchased by Philip Merrill in 1968; it dropped the “Evening” from its name in 1981.

Printed from offices at 213 West St. from 1959 until it moved to Capital Drive in 1987, the paper has long been known for its comprehensive coverage of anything Annapolis. Its editors were known to brag that any newcomer to the city would find their or their children’s names in the paper before long, often in stories about youth league teams or neighborhood associations.

Merrill owned the Capital Gazette from 1968 to 2007, a period during which the Capital’s circulation nearly tripled.

In December 1994, Capital Gazette launched one of the first newspaper websites in the United States, capitalonline.com. Since April 2012, all the company’s websites have been consolidated under capitalgazette.com.

Minority owners Landmark Communications became full owners of Capital Gazette in 2007, following Merrill’s death. Landmark sold the company to the Baltimore Sun Media Group in 2014. The papers moved into the current offices at 888 Bestgate Road that year.

Capital Gazette Communications LLC also publishes the weekly Bowie Blade-News, the weekly Crofton-West County Gazette and the quarterly Capital Style magazine.

ckaltenbach@baltsun.com

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