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Union Hotel in Flemington, N.J., named Historic Site in Journalism


Abbi Martzall, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 920-4791, amartzall@spj.org
Anna Gutierrez, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 920-4785, agutierrez@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists has named the Union Hotel in Flemington, New Jersey, as a Historic Site in Journalism.

The Trial of the 20th Century – the trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the kidnapping and murder of Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr. – took place in Flemington, New Jersey, in 1935. Some of the journalists covering this trial stayed at the Union Hotel, which stood across the street from the courthouse. The trial brought national media to the town for five weeks’ worth of coverage when “the media” were newspapermen and newspaperwomen.

“Being newspaper folk, they spent their free time in the bar at the back of the old hotel,” said Jane Primerano, SPJ Region 1 director. “Photos of the trial lined the walls of the old hotel while it was open and the echoes of their conversation still permeate the woodwork.”

Since 1942, SPJ has honored the people and places that have played important roles in the history of journalism through the Historic Sites program. Some honorees include: Freedom’s Journal, the first Black newspaper published in the United States, and The Wheeling Intelligencer, the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in West Virginia.

“The hotel is a symbol of the dedication of newspaper and radio reporters in the days when even New Jersey was the Wild West in many ways. It is truly a part of journalism history,” Primerano said.

A bronze plaque will be placed at the Union Hotel to distinguish it as a National Historic Site in Journalism. See a complete list of past winners here.

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