Register & Bee heading to a new home a few blocks away

The Danville Register & Bee is moving to a new home — the fourth time in the newspaper’s 140-year history — and will be closer to the heart of the growing and vibrant River District.

But before the move happens, there will be a remote detour that’ll last through mid-February.

In October, RB Heights closed on the purchase of the Register & Bee facility, which includes the main office space and adjacent former press facility on Monument Street.

Friday will mark the final day the newspaper office at 700 Monument St. will be open to the public. Employees will be working from home while the new office space at 523 Lynn St. is completed.

“We are excited for the new office with a fresh new look,” Register & Bee General Manager Wendi Craig said.

Craig said it’ll be easier for customers to find the newspaper since the Lynn Street location right in the “heart of the River District.”

Employees are expected to move into the new location by mid-February, once updates are completed and the computer network is established. The newspaper will announce when business transactions will start at the Lynn Street facility for the public.

The new owner of the Register & Bee building hasn’t decided what will come of the structure that was opened in 1980. When coming up with the design for the two-story structure, Publisher E. Stuart James Grant wanted the Monument Street home to mirror the look of other buildings in the Tobacco Warehouse District.

The construction was considered somewhat of a record for the time. The decision to build was made in early 1979 and concrete started pouring in June. By Feb. 10, 1980, it was fully occupied.

Charles Perkins, the facilities director with Rivermont Capital — a firm associated with RB Heights — said the overall condition of the newspaper buildings and the proximity to the River District were factors that sparked the purchase.

The last time the newspapers — Danville Register in the morning and The Bee in the afternoon — moved was in February 1980. That transition — a literal “monumental” move in itself — consisted of an execution of a carefully orchestrated plan that was months in the making.

It was Feb. 9, 1980 — a Saturday — when it all started to happen, according to a newspaper account. Mother Nature decided to add some extra excitement by dumping about 5 inches of snow on the city by the next morning.

The blanket of white stuff did little to impact the transfer of nearly 60 tons of equipment needed to produce the two newspapers. After the Danville Register was put to bed — that’s newspaper folk talk meaning everything for the edition was finished — the move commenced.

Shuffling other departments, like advertising, business and circulation, was the easy part, records show. It was simply a matter of loading up desks, typewriters and storage boxes.

Moving the newsroom and composition departments was a much more complicated affair. While state-of-the-art at the time, those departments had dozens of highly complicated electronic equipment.

One wrong move could spell disaster.

But all of that equipment came back online and worked just as it did at the Patton Street facility. The newspapers continued to print without missing a beat (or a line of type, as the 1980 story said.)

Now-a-days, everything is produced via computers, eliminating the myriad headaches movers faced more than four decades ago.

After decades sitting idle, the former Register Publishing’s building on Patton Street transformed a boutique hotel opened in 2020 that still spotlights some of the newspaper’s history. In October, former journalists from the two newspapers reunited there for a weekend walking down memory lane.

Article by Charles Wilborn | Register & Bee