Fred G. Johnston Sr., a native of Bluffton, Indiana, and former Indianapolis bureau chief for United Press, launched Construction Digest in February 1928. Genesis of the publication was the Indiana Clipping Service, a company Johnston started with Eugene Jepson Cadou Sr., the International News Service bureau chief, as a part-time partner, to publish business and building permits newsletters.

Johnston and his wife, Anna (Shea) Johnston, nurtured Construction Digest through the Great Depression and, with George C. and Argie N. Stewart as their first employees, the magazine’s coverage was broadened to include Ohio and Illinois. Eastern Missouri and Kentucky were added later. When the Johnstons’ two sons, Fred Jr. and Jerry J., and son-in-law William Howard joined the business in the 1940s, the company launched two other regional magazines and, in subsequent years, acquired two other construction journals.

Construction Digest and its parent firm, Allied Publications, remained family-owned until 1987 when Fred Johnston Jr., sold the business to Southam Communications, Ltd., Toronto, Canada. At the time, Allied also owned 11 truck and mining magazines, had more than 65 employees, and claimed gross annual revenues exceeding $10.5 million.

In 1992, Southam Communications sold Construction Digest and other regional construction magazines back to Construction Magazine Group, LLC. Construction Magazine Group was owned by Fred Johnston Jr., John White and Arol Wolford. In 1997, Reed Elsevier acquired the 14 member magazines of the Associated Construction Publications, which included Construction Digest. Associated Construction Publications was organized in 1937 by the independent magazine publishers to promote editorial and advertising across a national network of construction journals.

Reed Elsevier, announced that the Associated Construction Publications would cease publishing in April 2009. In June 2009, John White and his wife Jill (Quyle) White purchased the Associated Construction Publications including Construction Digest and resumed publication.

Revised February 2021

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