The paper is distributed in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the North Country of New Hampshire. It maintains a New Hampshire office located at 263 Main Street in Littleton, New Hampshire. It is published daily except Sunday and some holidays.
The Caledonian has focused on local news from 50 communities, which are located in three Vermont counties and two New Hampshire ones. The average daily net paid circulation has dipped from a peak of about 12,500 about 1999 to the six months ending March 2013 at 10,204.
Penetration of the primary market area of St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville was under 93%. For the area immediately surrounding St. Johnsbury the Caledonian provided coverage of 80% of the occupied households.
Albert G. Chadwick began publishing the paper as a weekly in August, 1837. It is the oldest paper in the county. It started as a four-page, twenty-four column paper.
It was a Whig paper when it started. At the time, Vermont was strongly Whig. The paper advocated the principles of the Free Soil element and became an early adherent and unswerving supporter of the principles of the Republican Party. It was edited and published by its founder for 18 years. George D. Rand and Charles M. Stone bought it in July 1855. Stone became the sole owner, editor and publisher in April 1857.
In 1875 it was still a weekly newspaper. Subscribers paid $1.50 a year.
In the 20th century, the paper was bought by a former Hearst reporter from Boston, Herb Smith. His son, Gordon Smith, Class of 1941 at Yale, joined the paper on the business side upon graduation and went on to own and publish the paper. Gordon brought with him as a writer who stayed a year; a classmate, Barry Zorthian.
Caledonian-Record Pub. Co., Inc. v. VT State College
The Caledonian garnered attention in 2003 over a court case entitled Caledonian-Record Pub. Co., Inc. v. VT State College. The Caledonian wanted to have access to student disciplinary records and hearings from Lyndon State College. Lyndon state claimed that it was exempt from making the requested information public per the Vermont Public Records Act and the Open Meetings Law. The local court sided with Lyndon State College, and an appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court followed. The Vermont Supreme Court upheld the verdict. Julie Fothergill, an attorney with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, stated that the ruling "is important for all public bodies because it indicates how the Court may interpret other exceptions to the Public Records Law."
The Caledonian recently
In 2007 the paper employed a staff of 40, and its sales ranged from one million to five million dollars annually.