Category Archives: Nebraska Memories

Throwback Thursday: Promenade Krog Park, Omaha, Nebraska

Postcard of Promenade Krog Park, Omaha’s Polite Resort, Omaha, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Good Times in Nebraska

When people think of places like Nebraska, and the American West in general, they often assume that residents have little to no access to cultural institutions. That is, no libraries, opera houses, theaters, art museums or symphonies.  Those of us who live in the West, know this to be otherwise.  In fact, nineteenth century mining communities hosted traveling acting troupe or minstrel shows. Other early towns built opera houses and theaters, while some opened small libraries.
American Music Hall, Omaha, Neb.
With its large population, Omaha was home to numerous theaters, such as the American Music Hall and the Orpheum Theater.

15th and Harney Streets, Orpheum Theatre and City National Bank, Omaha, Neb.
Theaters and other entertainment venues could be found in smaller communities as well. Opera houses, for example, could be found in Valley and Papillion. They may not have been the most beautiful of buildings, but they provided stages for more than a few talented people. More importantly, opera productions allowed people with a brief respite from the rigors of prairie life.

Opera House, Valley, Neb. Interior of opera house in Papillion, Nebraska

Additionally, Nebraska was home to more than few musical groups.  Composed of local musicians, these groups enabled participants to hone their talents while providing entertainment for others.  For   some musicians, particularly those who immigrated from outside the United States, music may have not only connected them to fellow immigrants, but linked them to their former homes as well.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

German Stringed Quartet

 

 

 

 

If the opera or a musical gathering didn’t provide enough entertainment, people could attend Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show when it roared into the state.  Perhaps not high culture, but entertaining!

Visit http://memories.nebraska.gov/ 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 http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

 

 

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Dense Fog Leads to Head-on Collision

C.B.&Q. Railroad train wreck at Red Cloud, Nebraska, #3 Sunday morning, November 22, 1908, two trains collided at Red Cloud killing two men. According to the article “Disastrous Wreck at Red Cloud” that appeared in the November 27, 1908 issue of The McCook Tribune, “two Burlington trains collided at the west end of the city stock yards at 6:55, doing great damage and killing two men and injuring one.”

“The trains came together just beyond the yard limits, on a big curve, where there was a heavy fill, and the impact was so great that the engine 1225, pulling the extra from the west, was thrown from the track, as it struck 1182, 63’s engine, and was overturned and C.B.&Q. Railroad train wreck at Red Cloud, Nebraska, #5 fell almost bottom side up, killing the two men as she went over. Train 63 was standing still, and the force of the collision was so great that five cars, the tender and engine were badly wrecked, and three cars and the engine on the stock extra were reduced to kindling wood. The wrecking train was ordered from McCook and reached here about 1:30, and the work of cleaning the track was commenced in earnest, and was finally finished at 5:40 p. m., so that trains could go over the track.”

There are six photos of this deadly wreck in Nebraska Memories taken by L. E. Tait. Basic information is written on the edges of each photo but the newspaper article provides more details.C.B.&Q. Railroad train wreck at Red Cloud, Nebraska, #1 After reading the article, I think I was able to match the photos with the information provided in the newspaper article.

The photo labeled #1 shows the wrecking train, that came from McCook, lifting engine 1225. Engine 1225 was part of the stock train.

C.B.&Q. Railroad train wreck at Red Cloud, Nebraska, #2 The photo labeled #2 shows two engines. I’m assuming the one at the top left of the photo is engine 1182. It was part of train No. 63. Along the right side of the photo is engine 1225. I know it’s somewhat hard to tell that this is an engine just by looking at this photo. If you compare the front end of the engine in photo #1 you can see that it matches the pile of metal on the ground.

Photo #4 shows two men sitting on a pile of wreckage. Laying between them is a large axe. The man on the left is sitting on engine 1225, which is upside down.C.B.&Q. Railroad train wreck at Red Cloud, Nebraska, #4 The paper said it “overturned and fell almost bottom side up, killing the two men as she went over.” The caption of the photo reads “1,2, Where Engine Crew Died”. If you look at the ground to the left and right of the engine, you will see the numbers 1 and 2 written on the picture. Killed in the accident were Engineer John W. Bartholoma and Fireman George Snoke. Short obituaries for both men can be found at the end of the newspaper article.

According to the newspaper article “The excitement was intense and more than 3,000 people visited the wreck, coming from Kansas and Nebraska towns for a radius of 20 miles, and most of them remained all day.” When I reading that line my first thought was that the newspaper article had to be exaggerating, that’s a lot of people. Looking closely at photo #6, I think the newspaper could be correct. Look at the huge groups of people on both sides of the track.

If you to read the complete newspaper article, you may have noticed that there was no reference to the dollar amount of damage caused by this wreck. While I was looking over the newspaper page that contained the article about the train wreck, I noticed the “Railroad News Items” along the left side of the page. Two items in this column relate to the wreck at Red Cloud.

  • “The estimate of the total damages of last Sunday’s wreck is placed at near $20,000.”
  • “The wrecking outfit came back from Red Cloud, Wednesday, and the engines – 1182 and 1225 – were started for Havelock, Thursday. The damage was estimated at over $4,000 on the two engines.”

Below the railroad news, you will find “Card of Thanks” from the Bartholoma and Snoke families.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about the C.B.&Q. (Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company) train wreck at Red Cloud. 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 http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Throwback Thursday: Masonic Temple, Broken Bow, Nebraska.

Postcard of Masonic Temple, Broken Bow, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Throwback Thursday: Original main building, Nebraska State University

Postcard of original main building, Nebraska State University, Lincoln, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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To Serve at the Pleasure of the President

Among the positions appointed by a United States president are ambassadors to foreign countries. One former ambassador with Nebraska ties was David Eugene Thompson.

Born in Michigan, Thompson came to Lincoln by way of his work with the Burlington Railroad and made his mark in Lincoln during the 1890s and early 1900s. In addition to his work with the railroad, he was president of local gas and insurance companies.

In 1892, Thompson and his wife, Jeannette, built a Neoclassical Revival-style two-and-a-half story house at 1445 H Street, seen in the postcards at left and right (Nebraska Library Commission Collection). The elegant residence contained several wood-paneled rooms on the first floor, six fireplaces, and a third floor ballroom. The Thompsons sold this house to the State of Nebraska in 1899 to serve as the first official Governor’s mansion. The sale included many of the furnishings. For more information about and photographs of the house, see James E. Potter, “The Governor’s House, the People’s House: Nebraska Governors’ ResidencesNebraska History 89 (2008):26-41.

The Thompsons next lived in the Lincoln Hotel seen at right (Townsend Studio Collection) and maintained rooms there as late as 1908. While living here, Thompson founded the Lincoln Daily Star newspaper, later the Lincoln Star, which finally merged with the Lincoln Journal in 1995 to become the current Lincoln Journal Star. He also became more involved in politics. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Thompson as the “Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary” to Brazil. Thompson took up his position as of April 1,1903. As of March 16, 1905, the position became “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary,” and the Thompsons remained in Brazil until November 1905. President Roosevelt next appointed Thompson as Ambassador to Mexico where he served from March 1906 to December 1909.

The Thompsons remained in Mexico City where Thompson bought and managed the Pan-American Railway until his wife’s death in 1911. Mrs. Thompson was buried in the Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, and Thompson lived in Lincoln for a few more years before moving to California. After his death in 1942, Thompson was also buried in the Wyuka Cemetery.

At some point during the 1900s, the Thompsons gifted the city of Lincoln with the fountain seen below (Nebraska Library Commission Collection). Located at 11th and J Streets, the fountain remained a prominent feature of the capitol/university/downtown district until it was moved to Antelope Park which was developed in the late 1910s.

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 http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Throwback Thursday: Capitol Avenue looking West, Omaha, Nebraska

Postcard of Capitol Avenue looking West, Omaha, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Throwback Thursday: Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska

Postcard of the Omaha, Nebraska Auditorium.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Throwback Thursday: Wesleyan University

wesleyan

Postcard of Wesleyan University, University Place, Lincoln, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Throwback Thursday: Lindell Hotel

lindell-hotel

Postcard of Lindell Hotel, Lincoln, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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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 http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Throwback Thursday: Lincoln High School

lincoln-hs

Postcard of Lincoln High School, Lincoln, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Throwback Thursday: Union Station

union-station

Postcard of Union Station, Omaha, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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The Joys of Hunting Season in Nebraska

Before the advent of grocery stores, people produced much of their food. Although Blackbirds flying over field gardens and livestock supplied staples such as vegetables, milk and bacon, many settlers looked to hunting to supplement their diets as well as provide some much needed cash from the sale of pelts. Nebraska Memories not only features postcards and photographs birds and game, but of people posing with their rifles and the fruits of their labors as well.

While the blackbirds featured in the above image may not have been intended for dinner,  you can almost imagine a bird hunter eagerly awaiting their flight so that they might snag a bird or two to add to their collection. Take this photographic postcard from Bird hunt Wheeler County. It shows a hunter, with his trusty hunting dog, firing at several game birds. Chances are, these birds were destined for the family dinner table and the tail feathers used to decorate a hat.

In addition to shooting game birds, Nebraskans hunted other animals, such as coyotes. After 1860, fur traders saw the value of coyote fur pelts increase from almost nothing to a few dollars or more per pelt. Coyote pelts could not be used as rugs, but they could be made into coats, jackets and hats. As such, they most likely became a source of income for many people. mand woman with coyote hides Additionally, ranchers disliked coyotes because they attacked sheep and cows. The couple featured in this postcard may have shot coyotes in order to harvest their fur or they may have been helping ranchers protect their livestock.  Four men with shotguns

Not all photographs focus on potential targets or an expedition’s results. Some images are of the hunters themselves. This photographic postcard not only features four hunters posing with their shotguns, but three dogs can be glimpsed as well. While two of the three dogs are not visible clearly, the third one sits at his master’s feet, ready for action. Okay, maybe not. But bird hunters relied on dogs such as pointers, spaniels, setters, and retrievers to fetch downed birds. Despite their somewhat casual stances, I do not doubt the abilities of these hunters or their dogs.

Undoubtedly, hunting enabled many families to survive the often harsh and rugged Nebraska plains. A settler with a good shot gun could provide food, warm clothing or bedding in the form of fur pelts and cash from the sale of game or pelts. Hunting also helped protect livestock from predators like coyotes.

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  http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, contact Dragos Devra Technology  &  Access Services Director.

 

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Throwback Thursday: Hanscom Park

hanscom-park

Postcard of Flower Gardens, Hanscom Park, Omaha, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Throwback Thursday: Frankfort Square

frankfort-square

Postcard of Frankfort Square, Columbus, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Throwback Thursday: Platte River Wagon Bridge

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Postcard of Platte River Wagon Bridge, One Mile Long, Kearney, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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Throwback Thursday: Union Pacific Railroad Headquarters

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Postcard of the Union Pacific Railroad Headquarters located in Omaha, Nebraska.  Approximate date early 1900’s.

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“The establishment of the town of Hastings was an afterthought…”

First National Bank

First National Bank – 2nd Street, West from Hastings Ave. As you can see in Google Street view, this building is still standing today.

“The establishment of the town of Hastings was an afterthought with the men who settled upon the three homesteads which formed the original parts of town.” I don’t know if that is true but that is what Henry G. Smith wrote in the Book of Hastings : a sketch of the town with illustrations. This book, published in 1906, is available in Nebraska Memories.

The Book of Hastings tells the history of the area starting in 1869. In 1873, the Hastings Town Company (page 6) was formed to develop the town of Hastings. On April 20, 1874, Hastings was declared an incorporated town.

Browsing this book, I learned a lot about the history of Hastings and the surrounding area. The book does not have a table of contents or an index, so I wanted to highlight some of the information available in this book.

  • A number of railroads had service to or through Hastings over the years including the St. Joe & Grand Island, Burlington & Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley. (page 18)
  • Juniata was selected as the county seat of Adams County in December 1871. Not everyone was happy with this. For years, folks fought to move the county seat to Hastings while others fought to keep it in Juniata.
    Juniata

    Juniata (page 81)

    The group supporting Juniata won the 1875 election but lost the 1877 election. They were not happy with the loss and contested the vote. The issue was finally settled by Judge Gaslin. (page 22)

  • A fire in 1879 destroyed 33 buildings in the Hastings business district. Many of the wooden buildings that burned were replaced with brick buildings. Later that year the Burlington depot was destroyed to cover up a murder. Fires in 1881, 1890, and 1905 also destroyed many businesses in town. (page 28)
  • At the time this book was written, there were 18 church organizations in Hastings. A brief history of each organization is included. (page 40)
  • The Hastings Library opened in January 1888. It was run by the Library Mite Society until it was taken over by the city government. In the spring of 1905 the new Carnegie building was completed. The library contained about 6,000 volumes. Miss Mabel Stone was the librarian. (page 46)
  • Hastings residents started discussing the possibility of building a college in 1873 however, Hastings College did not become a reality until 1882. J. J. H. Hewitt was the first student to graduate in 1887. Dr. W. F. Ringland was the president of the college for the first 15 years. (page 70)
  • Starting on page 81 you can find lists of many of the towns first officials including the mayor and councilmen.
  • Towards the end of the book you will find a list of “Personal Sketches of Early Settlers” (page 95) followed by a list of businesses titled “Among the Business Houses” (page 103).
  • The book is also full of pictures of houses however; most of them are only labeled with the name of the current resident.
Residence of C. Koehler.

Residence of C. Koehler. (page 54)

I hope you take a few minutes to learn more about Hastings by looking at the Book of Hastings : a sketch of the town with illustrations.

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 http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Throwback Thursday: Scotts Bluff National Monument in Nebraska.

scottsbluff001

Postcard of Scotts Bluff National Monument located in Scotts Bluff County in Nebraska, approximately early 1900’s.

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