The Tribune Chronicle traces its roots back 200 years, but steelmaking goes back even further in time - and it's the one that launched the Mahoning Valley into one of the world's great manufacturing centers.
James and Daniel Heaton had a 10-year jump on the Trump of Fame, the Tribune Chronicle's forerunner that began publishing in 1812, by building in 1802 what's believed to be the first ironmaking furnace west of the Allegheny Mountains at Yellow Creek in Poland Township.
In 1809, James Heaton built the area's first blooming forge along Mosquito Creek in Niles, which he founded and named, where he made the first iron bar in Ohio.
In 1812, Heaton started building a charcoal blast furnace on the west bank of the Mosquito Creek, near the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad bridge over the creek east of the Central Park area in Niles.
His "Maria" furnace, named for his daughter, started an industry that led to giant steel mills for 25 miles along the Mahoning River through Trumbull and Mahoning counties.
Exactly 100 years after Heaton's achievement, the last of the giant mills began taking shape on Pine Avenue on Warren's south side.
The Warren Daily Tribune reported on July 23, 1912, "The actual work of constructing the Trumbull Steel Company's plant here was begun Monday when about fifty day laborers, under the direction of a number of foremen, commenced to clear the ground."
The newspaper continued that a "branch line from the Pennsylvania and Ohio Railroad has been laid to the tract and several carloads of material are already here.
"It is expected that within a few days, two hundred men will be at work on the grounds. The contractors intend to have the buildings ready for use in the early part of March."
The headline in the Aug. 20, 1913, Daily Tribune trumpeted, ''Trumbull Steel Co.'s New Plant Now Complete - Finest Mill in World, Say Steel Experts.''
Through its various owners - Republic Steel, LTV Corp., WCI Steel, Severstal Warren and now RG Steel - the mill was never the biggest or best known.
But it did something its Steel Valley competitors couldn't - survive. From more than 6,500 hourly workers to the current 1,100 hourly, plus 135 salaried, the mill often confounded the experts by making the changes necessary to stay in business.
Its future, however, is clouded by a slowing economy that has prompted layoffs and gradual shutdown, along with the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed May 31, that could lead to a sale.
Steel was only one pillar of the area's economy. The second was the auto industry, which stemmed from James Ward and William Doud Packard, founders of Packard Electric in Warren June 4, 1890.
It may seem hard to believe, given the company's eventual global success, but the Packards had to call on New York associates for financial backing because response from Warren businessmen was, as the Chronicle put it, ''meager,'' adding ''shame on the town. With the money in hand, the brothers broke ground in June 1892 on their first factory'' on what became known as Dana Street.
Begun as a light bulb manufacturer, the company began making automotive ignition cable in 1901, two years after James Packard launched the car that would become the world's standard for luxury automobiles, the Packard.
The company went on to become the global leading maker of electrical wiring harnesses for vehicles as part of General Motors Co., which acquired it in 1932 because GM leaders admired the quality of its automotive wiring.
Warren newspapers closely followed the company's growth, including the expansion from its home on Dana Street N.E., in Warren to the North River Road complex in 1954 and continuing through the 1960s. Packard eventually would employ about 15,000 hourly and salaried workers.
The area received its second automotive boost when General Motors Corp. chose Lordstown as the site for the world's most advanced vehicle assembly plant.
The first car - 1966 Chevrolet Impala - rolled off the assembly line at 8 a.m., with the Tribune Chronicle as the buyer.
The first car came about 19 months after "six earth-shattering dynamite blasts broke ground for the new 1.9 million square feet assembly plant," the Tribune Chronicle reported.
GM would add other facilities, including a van assembly plant and a metal stamping / fabricating operation, eventually pushing the work force to around 12,000.
Many other industrialists made Warren's name known around the world. Thirsty people across the globe saw the city's name on the drain of every Halsey-Taylor refrigerated water drinking fountain.
Raymond J. Wean won world fame for Wean Engineering's skill at making machinery and plants to roll and process steel. It employed about 7,000 companywide in 1972, with about 1,700 in the Mahoning Valley, before closing plants in the early 1980s and filing for bankruptcy in 1993.
The manufacturing boom drew the famous to the Warren area.
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney visited the city in February 1946 to attend a board of directors meeting for Denman Tire Corp.
The Tribune Chronicle reported Tunney stayed at the Warner Hotel and was "unrecognized by most."
In 1993, the man who first set walked on the moon set foot at Avalon Inn in Howland.
Neil Armstrong, who on July 20, 1969, became the first human being to walk on the moon, attended an annual shareholder meeting of RMI Titanium Co. as a board director.
Armstrong took his first flight at an airfield on on Parkman Road, near the plaza that includes the Kmart store, during his early years in Champion.
Warren's newspapers detailed the triumph and travails of steel in the Steel Valley.
A banner headline on June 22, 1937, screamed that Gov. Martin L. Davey was sending 4,800 state militiamen to the Mahoning Valley to keep peace during the Little Steel of 1937. The strike spurred organization of the United Steelworkers.
By 1939, war in Europe was creating voracious demand for American steel. A Sept. 28, 1939, banner headline cried, "City jubilant over new industry," telling readers about Copperweld Steel Co.'s announcement it would build a $2 million steel mill at the northernmost curve of the Mahoning River in Champion and Warren Township.
The announcement created an economic ripple effect in which East Ohio Gas said it would spend $50,000 to lay a natural gas main to the plant, while the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad said they would invest heavily to provide rail transportation.
A story discussed how city leaders were worried about a shortage of housing for the expected flood of workers.
The area enjoyed business growth that stemmed from high-paying manufacturing jobs. Perhaps most notable was development of the Eastwood Mall in 1969, one of the first and largest indoor shopping malls in the nation.
The Tribune Chronicle also covered one of the most life-changing events, not only for the Valley but for the nation, when Youngstown Sheet & Tube closed its Campbell Works on Sept. 19, 1977, a day known as Black Monday, immediately throwing more than 4.500 out of work and setting off a chain reaction of mill closings eventually cost an estimated 50,000 jobs.
The Tribune Chronicle now is busy reporting on what's been called the biggest economic development story since the steel industry began 100-plus years ago - development of the Utica Shale natural gas formation, something that could power the area's economy for decades.