The Herpolsheimer Company

Herpolsheimer BuildingWith Christmas just days away, many of us have been busy shopping for gifts. In the early days of Lincoln, residents had the choice of two department stores, Miller & Paine and Herpolsheimer’s. While Miller & Paine may be a name Nebraskan’s recognize I’m guessing most people don’t recognize the Herpolsheimer Company.
Henry Herpolsheimer

Henry Herpolsheimer

Henry Herpolsheimer first opened a dry goods store with Otto Mohrenstecher on O Street in downtown Lincoln. According to Lincoln historian Jim McKee, Henry built a new, 73,000-square-foot store at the corner of 12th and N Street in 1880. As you can see in the pictures of the building, there were large windows on the north side of the building. The store earned the nickname “The Daylight Store” because of the large windows and electric lights. A window display of corsets was featured in the 1908 Dry Goods Reporter, Volume 38. According to the caption, the window was decorated by A. G. Sten. As a side note, if you are interested in photography note the article above the photo. It describes the steps you should take to get good photographs of display windows both during the day and at night. The night exposures could take up to thirty minutes. Corset WindowCapital city courier., January 28, 1893, Page 8, Image 8Herpolsheimer’s sold a wide variety of goods. An ad in the January 28, 1893 issue of the Capital City Courier listed bedspreads, spreads and counterpaines for sale. The prices ranged from seventy-five cents up to $5.00. 1908 Lincoln Nebraska Directory, compiled and published by Jacob North & CompanyThe ad for the H. Herpolsheimer Co. in the 1908 Lincoln Nebraska Directory (Jacob North & Company), lists many items for sale including dry goods, men’s and women’s furnishings, fancy goods, furs, toys and groceries. Herpolsheimer soda fountain, view 1While I couldn’t find any information or advertisements for the soda fountain in the store, these 1914 photos show that they had one at that time. The signs on wall advertise items such as Dickinson’s Maple Mousse, a Mallow bitter sundae, Coca-Cola, and Vassar chocolates. The Herpolsheimer Co. closed in 1931. I don’t know exactly when the building was torn down but by early 1939, a Firestone service station stood in its place at the corner of 12th and N. While there is still a Firestone station on that corner today, the original building was torn down and replaced in 1998.D. Eiche Firestone Service Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials. Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see for more information, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.
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9 Responses to The Herpolsheimer Company

  1. Lynne Hendershot Wright says:

    My great-grandmother was Kathryn Herpolscheimer Schmidt (Smith), of Lincoln, Nebraska. I wondered if this was her father, uncle, brother.

    • Christina Nieschmidt Todd says:

      Hi Lynne,
      My paternal grandmother was married to a son of Henry Herpolsheimer, Erwin (although the Omaha paper says it was Irving – maybe a misspelling.). Her maiden name was Bertha G. True, she was a musician from Omaha. They had one son, Henry, my fathers half-brother. At some point they divorced and she married my grandfather, Ernest Nieschmidt. I’m sure it was quite scandalous for the times!

      I would love to hear from you if you learn more about Kathryn! I’m just beginning my foray into my family genealogy.

    • Mike says:

      I’m a great great grandson in Washington state to herpolscheimers. Grandpa Carl Smith in Washington state. email is

  2. Allana Novotny says:

    Lynne, my research focused on the business not the family. I don’t know anything about Mr. Herpolsheimer’s family. If you are interested in genealogy, you could have a lot of fun researching the Herpolsheimer family to see if you are a relative.

  3. Lynne Wright says:

    Thank you for making this available. I am a descendant of the Herpolscheimer family and so appreciate having some history.

    Lynne Wright, of Tulsa, OK (great-great granddaughter)

  4. Eloise Rosas says:

    I have a set of four hand painted plates a friend from Milwaukee found at Chattel Changers and gave to me.

    They are signed by Kathryn Herpolsheimer, dated 1969 and 1971 I would be happy to pass them (no charge) to a family member.

  5. Jacqueline Leal says:

    Hi there. I appreciate your posting the photos and history of the store. Last year I purchased an oak curio cabinet. Thanks to this site I was able to piece its origins. The label on the back says the cabinet was made by the Mechanics Furniture Co. Purchased by H. Herpolsheimer Co. In Lincoln, Nebraska. The Mechanics Furniture Co sold business/office furniture. So I think the curio cabinet was used at the store. Should anyone be interested in photos of the label in the back or the piece itself, please let me know. I also found some great info on the furniture manufacturer from a site documenting Illinois history.

  6. Betsy Perez says:

    I am a great great grand daughter of the Herposheimers…I have lots of pieces from the store as my grandparents worked there. I have a Bissel grandfather clock that was a display in the store…

    • Mike says:

      I am also a great great grandson to Catherine herpolscheimer. She was my Grandpa Smiths Mom. He resided in Washington State I only met one of his sisters Ceceilia & her daughter Donna growing up. My e mail

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