Last month, editors held the final afternoon news meeting at One Herald Plaza. A few minutes later, some moving vans parked in front of the building, and employees and movers packed up what was left and said goodbye to the paper's home for exactly 50 years. A few staffers stopped long enough to grab a wrench and remove the city-owned Herald Plaza street sign. Last week, workers showed up and removed the "M" and the "H" from the sign that graced the front of the building for half a century. Sources tell me the cost of the operation was more than $20,000.
So in other words, if you were looking for a souvenir from the building, you're out of luck. It appears that the place has been picked cleaner than a Thanksgiving turkey. But, cheer up. There are still loads of other Herald keepsakes to be had on eBay, and they're not all that expensive.
At some point in the past year or two, Herald honchos quietly invited a company by the name of Rogers Photo Archive to digitize their photo files. In exchange, the Herald allowed the company to keep the original prints.
And, in the past few months -- to the horror of many longtime Herald staffers -- the photographs have been showing up on eBay.
All are one-of-a-kind originals, complete with crop marks and photographer's captions. Most of the prints are priced anywhere from $28.88. Some go for as much as $34.88. But, inexplicably a photograph of Herald legend Gene Miller can be had for less than $20.00. It's irreplaceable history at bargain basement prices.
To save you time in your search for some Herald memorabilia, we've spent the last few days browsing the Herald collection on eBay. And what follows are a few of our favorites.
1. The entire staff of the Miami Herald in 1912... including editor Frank B. Stoneman, fifth from left. Most newspapers would pull this aside and give it to a museum. But you can but it on eBay.
2. The year is 1953, and for some reason three uniformed airline "stewardesses" have shown up at the old Miami Herald newsroom on Miami Avenue. They're serving coffee and refreshments to three editors. One lucky guy also got a back rub.
3. The caption on this 1960 newsroom photo simply identifies this leggy lady as "Miss Flynn." Her first name and job title are lost to history.
4. Herald newsman Charles Whited has his mustache trimmed in the '60s... or is it the '70s? Why? Who knows?
5. I'm calling this one, "Bunch of White Dudes Sitting Around." It is, in fact, a photograph of the very first news meeting held at the Herald's new building in 1963.
6. After the Herald moved into its new building in 1963, the paper conducted regular daily tours of the place. One day some Catholic nuns showed up. Here they are looking at a typesetting machine called a Linotype.
7. The caption on this 1963 photo reads as follows: "Proofreaders check every word for errors." Yes, boys and girls, the Miami Herald once employed proofreaders.
8. Caption: "1964: Dottie Laughlin lost weight after participating in the Miami Herald Glamour Clinic."
9. The caption on this reads "1979 Miami Herald Employee Pat Sealey Cigarette Smoke"
I got curious after looking at this photo, so I checked the Herald archives. From 1995: Folks who were around Fort Lauderdale in the 1960s and '70s will surely remember former Herald reporter Pat Sealey. She retired in 1979 after 26 years with the paper here in Broward and moved to Wynnewood, Oklahoma. There she raised horses and cattle while writing for the tiny Wynnewood Gazette.
A heavy smoker throughout her life, Pat developed a bad case of emphysema over the years and was in pretty bad shape. But she's just undergone an experimental operation at Barnes Hospital at the Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis. Doctors removed the most damaged portion of her lungs, but left the rest of the lungs intact. All those years lifting bales of hay and shoveling horse, uh, well, made her strong enough to endure the pioneering surgery. Friends report she's doing just fine.
10. Legendary Herald photographer Battle Vaughan had an outfit for every news event. Here he is 1980, dressed to cover a fire. Battle's career at the Herald spanned more than 40 years. He's best known for shooting 105 Tropic magazine covers.
11. In May of 1984, Herald reporters Larry Bivins, Peter Hamm and Bill Rose were assigned to see who could get to work faster. Bivins took the brand-new Metrorail. His colleagues traveled by car and bus. There's a photo on eBay of the trio synchronizing their watches in the parking lot of Shorty's Barbecue. You can grab the photo commemorating this "Great Moment in Journalism History" for only $28.88!
12. Joann Biondi was a former flight attendant who worked for the Herald as a writer in the mid-80s. She had big '80s hair.
13. Are you a fan of retired Herald staff writer Marty Merzer? Lucky you. Here are just two of Marty's many moods -- smiling and bemused -- that are available on eBay to a lucky bidder.
14. In 1991, when the Herald's Sydney P. Freedberg won a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting, A photographer caught her celebrating with her editor, Gene Miller, himself a two-time Pulitzer winner. Miller died in 2005. I wonder what he'd say if he knew his paper was selling off its history, one image at a time.
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15. But, let's wrap this up with an image from 1996: "Shirtless man With Puppy." Ain't much more needs to be said about that.