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So long, Isabella Street; hello, Caroline Street

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I stood in our Ogdensburg office Friday and looked around at the expansive emptiness. All the furniture had been removed. No phones rang. No computers beeped. No visitors came. It was, for the first time I can remember, and perhaps for the first time ever, silent in the newsroom.

For those who have not heard, we are moving. As of Monday, we will occupy the back space of the Dillingham Jones and Cissel Insurance Agency building at the corner of Ford and Caroline streets.

It’s a good move for us in many ways. We will be much more visible than we were previously. We will be right next door to City Hall, which can only help our city government coverage. We plan to have our sign on Ford Street once we get settled. It’s a great, high-traffic spot for a local business.

Our previous location simply no longer met our needs. With the business office and composing department moved to Canton a few years ago, and the press operations moved to Massena more than a decade ago, we were in a space that was far too large. The location also did not offer the foot traffic and visibility we wanted.

That being said, it will be a period of adjustment for us after our newspaper has been in the same spot for a century. We are moving, but it is not without its sentimental pangs.

The building has very much been the place where our local memory resides. It’s the place where the noteworthy moments of all of our lives — good and bad — were recorded and preserved.

And the people who have walked through the newsroom at any point in its history have encompassed, quite literally, all walks of life.

Just in the 13 years I have been there, there have been more high-profile political figures through those doors than I can count. U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., held a press event there and invited a host of dignitaries when I was two weeks on the job.

The infamous former governor Eliot Spitzer, before he announced he was running for governor, held an intimate meet-and-greet with our staff in our newsroom. He coyly ducked pressure from our retired Editor-Publisher Chuck Kelly to announce he had set sights on the Governor’s Mansion.

State and federal cabinet chiefs, actors, musicians, industry movers and shakers, and a whole cast of colorful local characters have frequented its walls over the years, well before my time and during it.

Secrets have been shared and kept within its confines. People have bared their humanity in that office in hopes that putting it on display in our pages would speed rescue to them or help educate others to avoid their fate. Notices of birth and death were crafted. Struggles between life and death were chronicled. Achievements and failures were recorded. The life of our community was preserved so that future generations can know what happened here.

We take those memories with us to our new beginning, and although we are all excited about our new office, we will feel bittersweet about turning the page to start the next chapter of The Journal and Advance-News’s lives.

We hope the next business to occupy our former space appreciates the history that has been made and recorded within its walls, and the life of the community that will remain coursing through its historic foundation long after we are gone.

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