A love for the City of Hamilton and a desire to share all the positive stories happening in town led Trace Fowler and one of his childhood best friends, Shaun Spurlock, to start a magazine that highlights the positives of the city.
“The Hamiltonian” features everything from local sports stars and inspiring teachers to booming businesses and the city’s rich history. Recently, the Journal-News created a content-sharing partnership with the magazine.
Fowler, president and co-founder of “The Hamiltonian” magazine is a Hamilton native. He was born and raised in Hamilton and graduated from Hamilton High School in 2007. Fowler started the publication with Spurlock, longtime friend and co-founder, who was also brought up Hamilton. He and Fowler graduated from Hamilton High School the same year.
Since the first issue was published in January of 2018, “The Hamiltonian” has featured content about the City of Hamilton.
Fowler lettered for Hamilton Big Blue two years in basketball, and in baseball. He also played baseball in college and graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management from Urbana University. Fowler lives in Hamilton with his wife, Jordan, and their three children, Cam, Greyson and Reese. The family enjoys spending quality time together and they continue to be active in sports.
We talked with Fowler in a Q&A to find out more about his work and what he plans to share at the Fitton Center on Wednesday.
Q: Tell us a about the publication and why you wanted to start The Hamiltonian?
Trace Fowler: I was born and raised in Hamilton, and I lived away for a little bit of time. I came back, and then from there, I garnered an interest in the revitalization of the city. It seemed like there was a lot of positive momentum, and I felt like there was an opportunity to help in some capacity … Shaun and I both felt like there was an opportunity to form a publication that would be consistent and have clear messaging for the positive things that were going on in our community and that’s the framework of how we started. From there, basically, that idea turned into a reality through starting the process of what we wanted the publication to be, and going out, and finding local businesses that wanted to support that vision.
Q: How has the community received the publication?
A: At the beginning, I don’t know if there were any expectations. So, when you come into something without expectations, you don’t feel like there’s burden placed on you, and whether or not you’re meeting certain metrics. And for us, the goal was pretty simple in trying to find people that were interested in the vision we had, which was to create a positive culture around Hamilton. I would say that we both felt like it was a bit more successful than we perceived at the beginning. I think at the very onset, I don’t know that we looked at it as a full-time business, but it evolved to that once we started getting a lot of positive feedback. As it moved forward, the publication has gotten more pages. Obviously, I’m biased, but I like to think it’s gotten bigger and better. If nothing else, the obscurity of the publication is slowly wearing off. There are more and more people that know about it and subscribe to it, and there are more people who want to support what we’ve done. Like anything else, it was hard work throughout the entire process, but it’s been rewarding.
Q: Do you have a background in journalism, or business?
A: No, not really. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I had attempted to start businesses prior, I had some successes and failures, but the main reason was that I felt like there was a need for Hamilton to be given the opportunity to be in the spotlight that was a consistent positive message. I’m from Hamilton, and like I said, I had moved out of town, and oftentimes, Hamilton seemed to have a negative connotation with it, at that time, and that bugged me. I was proud to be from Hamilton. I think for a long time, it felt like the messaging of what Hamilton was, wasn’t true. Sure, there was boarded up windows, there was abandoned buildings, but behind that boarded up window and behind the abandoned building was a story. There was a reason for it, and it wasn’t based upon malpractice, or laziness … There were a lot of people that were trying to transition Hamilton from what it was from an industry standpoint to what it can be. The city leadership, Brandon Saurber, his whole team, and obviously, Joshua Smith, have done a lot, and deserve credit for that. I think the people of Hamilton and the pride that they have, have a lot to do with the revitalization as well.
Q: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned so far from doing this?
A: I think it’s that if you’re passionate about something, and you care about something, that you can truly wield things into existence.
Q: What are you most proud of as far as what you’ve been able to accomplish so far?
A: I think the pride that it’s brought a lot of people to be a part of it. People are excited to get extra copies because their grandson, or their son or daughter, or their friend or neighbor, or whoever it may be is featured in the publication. When we first started it that really wasn’t the main focus — to bring people joy that were going to be in it. It was more along the lines of trying to create a positive culture around Hamilton and the idea that good things are happening, but the side effect, or the side bar that’s been fun to see is the joy that people get from being in the publication.
How to go
What: “Celebrating Self” featuring Trace Fowler of The Hamiltonian
When: Wed., Apr. 6, 11:30 a.m.
Where: The Fitton Center for Creative Arts, 101 S. Monument Ave., Hamilton
Cost: $18 for members; $23 for non-members. Guests will enjoy an engaging speaker and a catered meal. Tickets are available advance at the Fitton Center, or online. Limited tickets are offered at the door.
More info: Fittoncenter.org or (513) 863-8873 ext. 110. Check out The Hamiltonian online at justhamilton.com.
About the Author