Nadig Newspapers celebrates its carriers, 75th anniversary

Former Chicago firefighter Steve Neidenbach is one of the more than 5,000 neighborhood children who have delivered Chicago’s Northwest Side Press, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary.

"It gave me a sense of work ethic," Neidenbach said of the carrier job that he had 50 years ago.  He grew up in Jefferson Park and had a carrier route near Beaubien School, 5025 N. Laramie Ave.

Neidenbach recalls that when he made his monthly collections, the cost was around 35 cents for the newspapers and that many customers gave him 50 cents, letting him keep the change.

"There was a couple of them who gave me five bucks," he said of the higher tips at Christmas.

While growing up, Neidenbach also worked at the Jefferson Park Masonic Temple, 5418 W. Gale St., where he set pins for the two-lane bowling alley that was once located there, and he also worked at Peter’s Eggs, which was located near Milwaukee and Austin avenues. He now resides in Gladstone Park and owns two local businesses, Abode Gutter Cleaning and S & J Snowplowing.

Another former carrier, Michael Patrick Thornton, is the co-founder of the critically acclaimed Gift Theater, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. He delivered the Press while he was in sixth through eighth grade in the early 1990s, and his route was just east of the Higgins-Foster intersection and included the former Roselli’s Restaurant, 6166 W. Higgins Ave.

Thornton recalled that he had a crush on a girl who lived along the route but that another house gave him an uneasy feeling because the owner had a collection of sculptures covered with blood. “It was terrifying,” he said. “It was artwork that he had bought.”

In addition, Taft High School principal Mark Grishaber said that as a child he delivered the Press, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. He said that his Press route was in Norwood Park, and he earned $11 a month.

Nadig Newspapers’ co-publisher Glenn Nadig was hired in 1958 to design a child carrier newspaper delivery system for the then-Jefferson Park Press, now the Northwest Side Press. Glenn and his wife Bette Nadig later purchased the newspaper.

Over the years many of the newspaper’s advertisers and community members interviewed for news stories have commented on how their first job was delivering the Press. Carriers are paid a salary and a commission on their collections – plus those generous tips from readers.

For children who are interested in a carrier position, parents are asked to call Nadig Newspapers’ Circulation Department at 773-286-6100 between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. weekdays.