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Ninety-nine years ago today, Dec. 13, 1917, William T. Evjue published the first edition of The Capital Times.

He promised Madison a paper that "is the organ of no man, no faction, no party."

It was a tough few years in the beginning. Not all that unlike today, the country was divided and people were suspicious of those who were considered different. The country had just gone to war and those who disagreed with it were held up to ridicule and, in some cases, assaulted.

The war was already under way when the first edition hit the streets, and in that first edition Evjue proclaimed that the paper would back our troops. But it was known that the young newspaperman had been an ally of Robert M. "Fighting Bob" La Follette in his opposition to the U.S. entering the European war. And because of that and a false claim that German money was financing the new paper (fake news back in the early 1900s?), the Madison Chamber of Commerce organized a boycott against advertising in the paper.

But Evjue persevered through those dark, early days and his paper has now been in continuous operation for 99 years, covering Madison and Wisconsin and keeping alive his vision that government belongs to the people, not the special interests.

Tomorrow we begin the first day of our 100th year. We will be marking that anniversary with many special events and features over the next 12 months. 

We hope you'll join us to help celebrate this special year.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com and on Twitter @DaveZweifel

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

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