could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers


Today is:

1920’s – Kearney Miscellaneous Facts and Stories



          George Martin was president of the State Normal School and Teachers College during the 1920's.
          The Normal School changed its name to Nebraska State Normal School and State Teachers College (1921). Degrees issued were: Bachelor of Arts in Education, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Education, and Bachelor of Science in Education.
          The State Normal School and Teachers College celebrated its 20th anniversary (1925).
          A. O. Thomas Building was constructed on the college campus. It is now the oldest building on the UNK campus (1925-6).
          The State Normal School and Teachers College was accredited by the North Central Association of College and Secondary Schools (1926)


Public Schools in Kearney during the 1920's

          The "new" Whittier School building was constructed in 1920-22
          The Junior High School building (now Central Elementary School) was constructed in 1925-26

Kearney Public School buildings during the 1920's:
  Longfellow High School Junior        High School (after 1926)
               Whittier Ward School (all in the same block)
  Kenwood Ward School            Hawthorne Ward School (at 34th & A)
  Bryant Ward School                 Alcott Ward School (at 16th & M)
  Emerson Ward School              Collins rural school (on west 11th St.)

City Government

Mayors of Kearney:
     1917-1921 - K R Andrews
     1921-1923 - D Wart
     1923-1925 - F L Grammer & T H Bolte
     1925-1929 - L D Martin

City Council Members in 1926 (elected by wards)
     F G Geist - Geist & Son General Merchandise, a grocery store at 1900 Central Avenue
     B F Thompson - retired farmer
     John H Hale - Teacher at the State Normal School and Teachers College
     R E Heacock - Heacock Cigar Co., at 2015 Ave A
     J D Saunders - Club House Stores located on West Lincoln Highway which included the

          Club House Beauty Parlor, Club House Cafeteria and the Club House Grocery.
     Jess S Barlow - General contractor and builder
     J A Hull - Hull's Dry Cleaner at 2201 Central Avenue
     W J Neal - Carpenter

Officers of the City in 1926

City Clerk - Mrs. Mabel E Burke
Treasurer - Frank E Hollingsworth
Police Judge - Bruce Oldham
Chief of Police - H G Quiggle
City Attorney - Waid Balcom
City Engineer - H E Sawyer
Chief Fire Dept. - Elmer L Rhoades
Street Commissioner - Harvey Congleton
Water Commissioner - Sherman Bowker
City Physician - Henry Farrell
City Librarian - Mrs. Mary E O'Brien

State Institutions Located in Kearney during the 1920's

State Industrial School for boys
State Teachers College & Normal School
State Hospital for Tuberculosis

Civic Organizations Organized during the 1920's

The Kearney Kiwanis Club was organized on Oct. 3, 1920.
The Kearney Cosmopolitan Club was organized in June

Clubs in Kearney during the 1920's and their meeting locations

Elks Club - 3rd floor of City National Bank at 2023 Central 
Kearney Country Club - (had an office in the Opera House)
Kearney Gun Club - Range at 1733 Amusement Park
Kearney Women's Club - met at the Chamber of Commerce
Kiwanis Club - 5th floor of Opera House every Tuesday at     6:30 p.m.

Rotary Club - Midway Hotel every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Secret Societies in Kearney during the 1920's and their meeting locations

       Ancient Order United Workman, Foreman Lodge #12 AOUW

            met at Highlanders Hall 1 & 3 Wednesdays
       Degree of Honor, Kearney Lodge #43 DOH met at Highlanders Hall 2 & 4 Wednesdays
       Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, Kearney Lodge #984 BPOE

            met 1 & 3 Fri at Elks Hall
       Brotherhood of American Yoemen, Kearney Homestead #4774 BAY met on call
       Federal Aid Union, Midway City Lodge #122 FAU met on call
       Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Buffalo Lodge #38 IOOF

            met every Friday at IOOF Hall
       Kearney Encampment #15 IOOF
       Canton Excelsior #3, Patriarchs Militant
       Naomi Rebecca Lodge #12
       Knights of Columbus, St. James Council #1728 K of C

            1 & 3 Thursdays at Highlanders Hall
       Knights of Pythias, Loyal Lodge #14 K of P met on call
       Ladies of Maccabees, Women's Benefit Assoc. of Maccabees, Kearney Hive #7

            met 2nd Thursday at home of members
       Masonic (lodge at 2305 Central)
       Robert Morris Lodge #46
       Kearney Chapter #23 RAM
       Mt. Hebron Commanders #12, KT
       Tuscan Chapter #35 OES
       Modern Woodmen of the World, Hope Camp #316 MW of W
            met 1 & 3 Tuesdays at Highlander Hall
       Royal Highlanders, Melrose Castle #37, RH met at Hub Hall, 15 East 22nd St.
       Tribe of Ben Hur, Kearney Court #108 T of BH met on call
       Travelers Protective Accident Association, Kearney Post "K"
            met last Saturday at Midway Hotel
       United Commercial Travelers, Kearney Council #622 UCT
            met 2nd Friday at Highlander Hall
       Veterans Organizations
       Veterans of Foreign Wars, David A Rhone Post #759 (organized in 1921)
       Ladies Auxiliary (organized in 1928)
       American Legion Auxiliary Unit #52 (organized in 1922)
       Ladies Auxiliary Buffalo County Post #52
       Grand Army of the Republic, Sedgwick Post #1 GAR

            (had a meeting hall at 15 1/2 east 23rd St. )
       Women's Relief Corps, Sedgwick Post #1 GAR
       Disabled American Veterans Midway Post #14 (organized in 1921)

Churches Organized during the 1920's
       The Free Methodist Church - In 1972 it was located at 1319 5th Avenue.
       The Open Bible Tabernacle - In 1972 it was located at 18th & 1st Ave.

Amusement Parks

The Midway Amusement Park (located on the site of the former cotton mill factory) opened late in 1920 and was open during the 1921 and 1922 seasons. It had a swimming pool, dance hall, some game booths, and an area where movies were shown.

The 1733 Amusement park opened on June 15, 1925. It had a pool, dance hall, picnic area and playground.

Hospitals in Kearney

Good Samaritan Hospital - dedicated in July, 1924.
First expansion, addition of 4th and 5th floors, done in 1929
General Hospital - located east of the Presbyterian Church


Post card picture reproduced with label "Lincoln Highway, Kearney, Nebr. Paving the first "Seedling Mile" with concrete. October, 1915"

"This scene has disappeared entirely.

It shows the construction crew at work on the Seedling Mile west Kearney in October of 1915. The Seedling Mile was so named because cement for the mile of paving was donated to cities along the Lincoln Highway (later U.S. 30) if those cities would bear the remainder of the expense. Kearney did.

The trees seen alongside the roadway later formed a canopy over the entire road, but both paving and trees were removed when widening was necessary some 20 years ago. The trees -- all American Elms -- that didn't fall to the ax later became victims of Dutch Elm disease."

In 1920, a group of officers of the City National Bank of Kearney organized the Guaranty Trust Co. The office was located in the Northeast corner of the bank building, facing 21st street (now First National Bank building)

Frank Hollingsworth was manager of the company and later president and owner, until his retirement, when it was sold to Elmer Divan. It is now a part of the Platte Valley Bank and Trust Co.
In the picture, the trust company is up the stairs to the landing. The barber shop of Joe Soares was in the basement.

Saturday afternoon in the 1920's was the time to come to town to get the shopping done. This picture of Central avenue seems to prove the point.
In those days, parking was permitted in the center of Central, as well as at both curbs, which is why things seem a bit crowded on the main street.

This view is looking north, starting in the middle of the block between Railroad and 21st street. The high building on the left is the Opera House.

(interior of a printing office)
This picture takes one back 50 years, to the days when The Hub was using the "hot lead" process of printing and the composing room crew was considerably smaller -- and entirely male.
According to the calendar on the wall, the date was 1922.
Those with long memories report the man just to the left of the pole was Fred Carlson; to the right of the pole was Ted Carlson (Fred's brother) and at the far right, George Wiester.

In 1928, Will C. Mueller of Amherst took this picture on Central ave., as a man with very strong lungs demonstrated his prowess. That's the Kearney High School band behind the entertainer, and members are very much interested, as one can see.

The man cut his inner tube in two, and sealed the ends. Then he huffed and puffed trying to break the "balloon". It didn't break at the demonstration, but it did later in the Ford showroom, where a temperature change did the trick. The free show was part of the program heralding the arrival of the new Model A. Ford.

Meet the folks at the Federal Cafeteria, the era -- 1925. The establishment was rather plush in those days, and was located at about 2018 Central ave. It was operated by the McKees and the Yeutters. John Reidy owns the picture.

"Goat Day" was a big success back there on October 21, 1922. There was a large crowd of people on hand to view the parade of vehicles, floats -- and goats.

This view is of the east side of Central ave., between 11st and 22nd streets.

Whatever happened to that lamp post clock, in front of the Goldner Bros. Jewelry Store?

(A Stryker photo of the Seedling Mile when the trees had grown but not as large as in a later postcard picture)
Travelers often stopped for lunch along the Lincoln Highway on the Seedling Mile.

Year by Year

1920 -

1921 -

May 18, 1921 - Flood in south part of Kearney

The first airport in Kearney, Auxiliary Field, was established north of the Lincoln Highway, just east of the Kearney Military Academy (present day St. Luke's Good Samaritan Village)

1922 -
Kaufmann-Wernert building was built on the northwest corner of 22nd and Central Avenue.

1923 -
Central Cafe opened at 2021 Centeral by George Peterson. Operated for 35 years.

April 4 - It was reported that excavation for the new Bodinson and Knutzen apartment house on 24th Street and 5th Avenue was well under way.

Light snow was reported in parts of the county the evening of April 3 and in the early morning. Early June appeared to be quite wet.

The Sinclair Oil company was building a pipeline through Nebraska which was to cross Buffalo County. The company was proposing to locate a headquarters in Kearney which would employ 20-30 executives and assistants as well as have 14 employees working at the pump station at Alfalfa Center.

The American Legion threw open their headquarters in the Hub building to hold three days of "Gold Creek" in early April. The activities were organized along the line of a mining town in the '49er tradition. The "boys of the Lay-Z ranch and Moonshine mine" had roulette and faro tables where "bucks" purchased at the door were used, an auction of items donated by local businesses and a bar (but the newspapers did not indicate what liquid was served, only that it was straight with no chaser because they were so busy.) The event was so popular it was extended an extra night.

(April 7) A Protestant Hospital in Sight for Kearney
At a special meeting of the local Klan, held last evening, definite plans were formulated for the erection of a modern, protestant hospital at Kearney, which will be of a statewide nature similar to those being built by the Ku Klux Klan in other states. This movement was put on foot by the local organization with the co-operation of the Klans of the entire Realm. Local contractors are being consulted as to the probable cost of the building and future information as to the nature, location and cost will be released in the near future. Only local contractors and material men are being considered.
Buffalo Klan No 13

(Good Samaritan Hospital was in the process of being constructed at this time.)

The Kearney Military Academy closed.

Co. D, 110th Quartermaster Reg. of the Neb. National Guard was organized in March.

Early June was apparently very rainy in this part of the state. An Omaha paper published an editorial about how bad the roads were from the western border to Central City.
The HUB pointed out the importance of this moisture to the agricultural community and said that the rain was more important than the roads. Besides, travelers report the road conditions to those travelers they meet along the way. Those who were complaining had been warned and advised to wait until the roads were drier so if they got stuck they had no one to blame but themselves.

Kearney celebrated it's 50th anniversary in September. Come Back letters were written by former Kearney residents who were invited to Come Back for the celebration but who were not able to return. The letters were collected at that time and are now preserved in the Buffalo County Archives..

1924 -

The Lincoln Highway was renamed Highway 30.

Harmon Park was dedicated.

The Kearney Military Academy closed after graduation in the spring of 1924.

Good Samaritan Hospital was completed. It was a three story brick structure built to accommodate a fourth and fifth story if needed.

1925 -
The position of City Park Commissioner was established by ordinance

(Shelton Clipper, October 1, 1925)
Hold Big Parade at Kearney Monday Evening
It is Estimated That More Than Ten Thousand People Assembled
A large delegation of Shelton People went to Kearney Monday evening to witness the Ku Klux Klan parade and ceremonials which were held at the county fair grounds. The Kearney Hub of Tuesday gave the following account of the gathering:
"Led by a patrol of mounted men, both riders and horses enshrouded in the regalia of the order, between four and five hundred klansmen participated in the parade and demonstration Monday night....divided into two sections, one headed by a band, the second by a trumpet and drum corps....The line of march, from Klan headquarters to the fairgrounds was kept open by city and county officers....
"Arriving at the fairgrounds the Klan conducted their demonstration and program, before and audience of perhaps ten thousand people. The formations of the hooded knights of the K. K. K. with a background of red flares, the flaming cross and the discharge of occasional rockets was spectacular....
"Zachary A. Harrris of Washington, D.C., Klan lecturer, of national repute, spoke, his subject being confined entirely to Americanism, with particular stress laid on the need for closing the doors to undesirable aliens....
"Those who expected to hear bitter denunciation of any group, class or creed were perhaps disappointed in the speaker, for he dealt rather with facts....His entire address was more in the nature of an appeal for better Americanism....

1926 -

1927 -
The Elliot Motor Lodge was constructed on West Lincoln Highway. It had two rows of individual cabins and a tearoom. The business was purchased by Dean Cannon in 1945 and renamed the Cannon Motel.

Fort Kearney Hotel was completed in October.

Businesses (advertising in June 11, 1927 Hub)
King’s (dry goods)
Kearney Buick Company
Keller Radi-O-Lectric Company (ad for electric refrigerator)
Dr. C. L. Ayers, eye, ear, nose, & throat
Mid-City Café
Empress Theater
Baumgartner’s Book Store, first door south of new Masonic Temple
Gus Stohl opened motor repair shop at 2022 First Ave.

Motorists on Lincoln Highway east of Kearney were cut by flying glass when a chicken flew in front of the car and hit the windshield, shattering it. [Makes us appreciate safety glass.]

1928 -

Midway Hotel serving Easter Dinner for 65

Controversy over putting a sand pit at 14th and M

Air field south of Kearney, across the river.

Isaac Walton League stocking fish in Cottonmill Lake, also bullheads in small lake at Harmon field for children 12 and under. – (Before rock garden was put in)

(from Apr. 7&9, 1928 Hub)
Businesses advertising -
Bower & Son Funeral Home
Tollefsen-Elliott Lumber Co.
Mid-City Café
Midwest Camera Shop
Maddox Furniture Exchange

Issues –
Greenhill Kensington planning Achievement Day picnic at Antelope Grange Hall
Ward Minor, attending Nebraska University, was home for a visit during spring vacation
Objections to a gravel pit at 14th and M
Fish gate constructed at Cotton Mill Lake to hold fish in
Landing field being set up south of Kearney, south of the river

1929 -
Mt Carmel Nursing Home was started in this year.

Sources include the Kearney Daily Hub, Kearney City Ordinances in 1923, Kearney City Directories from the 1920’s and some Like It Was picture captions.


This is our cat looking for stories

Our Cat Smoky looking for files.

Copyright ©   All rights reserved


You may use content from this web site for your personal, not-for-profit purposes.  Please contact the Buffalo County Historical Society at <> for permission to use the Buffalo Tales


 Search Our Site

Please Send Mardi Anderson your Comments/Feedback

Revised: 05/15/2011