First Midway Hotel
Furnishings & Construction
Cost including furnishings - $50,000 and $60,000 of which Kearney citizens
put up $15,000
Four Stories high
Lobby paved with tile in variegated colors.
Large billiard room and bar extended the length of the building east to
Main staircase lit by plate glass skylight.
Second floor - dining room - seat 100, next door was an “ordinary” room for
Steam heated, gas lighting but wiring in place for electric lights and bell
Each room on the first three floors had bathroom and closet.
80 rooms in all.
Summer 1889 – 4 story 40’ x 80’ addition built
20,000 guests registered in year before the fire.
Businesses in the hotel at time of
fire: (March 1890)
9 real estate offices
George W Frank Improvement Co
Electric Light Co
Kearney Land and Improvement Co
One fatality of 125 guests & employees in the
building when fire broke out.
Worden Dramatic Co. staying at hotel
Deming was property and
Jumped feet first but hit
a wire which turned him.
An awning was held to
catch him but he fell through landing on his head and side of face.
Lived until 11 p.m.
Mother, widowed, lived in South Omaha.
Coroner’s Jury verdict:
On March 24th in the morning Harry Deming
died by jumping from his room when the Midway Hotel burned. “,,,in our
opinion, the said Harry Deming having his clothes on and shoes upon his
feet, and from the evidence of Edgar Glenn, it is our opinion that he
was sufficiently notified, but owing go the smoke and confusion did not
heed the notice.”
Debris from the Midway Hotel was put on South
Railroad between Central and A
Second Midway Hotel
Construction & Furnishings
Started in 1891, completed in 1893 – Four stories again
Activity centered around the long mahogany bar
Rose Room on north side of building with the Rose Room being in the
With prohibition the long bar went to the college shop students and the Rose
Room became an ice cream parlor
and later a private dining
1921 - a two-story annex was added to the west side of the hotel.
1915 - the boiler blew up on a cold winter night.
A steam threshing machine was moved up to the
north side of the building and used temporarily
Denison brought the boiler from the cotton
mill to replace it.
KGFW moved from Ravenna to Kearney. First broadcast studio at Midway Hotel
Odds & Ends from 1889
Friday, September 20, 1889- Next
Tuesday will start free mail delivery in Kearney.
Nov. 21, 1889 – Long article about wedding of John E. Hume and Lena
Hale which includes a list of gifts and givers and guests, and descriptions
of the clothing worn by bride, groom, and their attendants, and finally a
description of the ceremony.
Boom Period Activities
Oatmeal Factory, Soap Factory planned
Rails for electric street car line arrived
Plans for Kearney & Black Hills Railroad
Sewer system planned and contract let - $50,000 – on Central to 30th with
lateral lines to be petitioned in.
From Elm Creek 1897
Elm Creek Pilot 1897
....Tuesday morning people doing business of Front Street found loaded
pistol cartridges stuck into the keyholes in their doors, and were somewhat
mystified as to where they came from or what it all was intended for. George
WILHELMY is one of our "early risers" and was able to cast some light on the
mystery as he had seen Gen. MOORE, the Cuban recruiting officer, place the
cartridges in the keyholes early in the morning, which were to give signal
for the general march against the Spaniards. MOORE is in bad shape mentally
and James LAYCOCK has been detailed to keep guard over him. He is fitfully
active and insists on being around the depot every time a train pulls in and
signals wildly, much to the annoyance of the crews. All in all he is the
craziest man outside the state asylum.
Found in a Probate Record
In the list of heirs, one name is crossed out with this explanation above it
– “Not his child, a mistake”