Kearney Hardware Stores – Bodinson
Longest operating hardware store in Kearney –
about 85 years, started by Carl Bodinson
By the late 1930s Bodinson Hardware was the second
oldest business on Central Avenue.
Only Hawthorne Jewelry, which had opened two weeks earlier, in1878, predated
Explanation of sources
Most of today’s
information was provided by Larry Hardesty
been writing articles about the history of the Rotary Club and sending them
out to the members.
his material is based on Rotary records and scrapbooks kept by some members.
Three scrapbooks are now being placed in the Historical Society Archives.
The Kearney Rotary was organized in 1918 so most
of the information about the Bodinson family after the turn of the twentieth
century comes from him.
I was curious to know more about Carl’s earlier
years so I did some digging through census and marriage records.
Carl – the first
Carl Bodinson was born in Sweden in 1846 and came to the US in 1865 at
First went to northwestern Illinois near the Mississippi River.
1870 – Married Louisa
Dalgren. They had 3 boys, Fred, Frank, and Roy, before leaving Illinois
1876 – Shortly
after Roy was born the family came to the Holdrege area in Nebraska
1878, May 7 – The
Bodinson family came to Kearney and Carl opened a store
1880 Census – Carl’s
occupation listed as Grocer so possibly this was a general store selling
Over next 10 years evolved into a hardware store
1890 – City directory –
Bodinson's Hardware and building materials at 2214 Central
Children: Fred (about 19)
– clerk in a Kearney drug store in 1890; became a pharmacist and went to
Frank & Roy stayed in Kearney and worked in the hardware store
1894 – store was moved
south to 2116 Central
some point it relocated to 2120 Central Avenue, where it remained until
cloising in the early 1960s)
1904 – Roy had become the secretary and treasurer
of the store, while his father remained the president.
1914 – Carl Bodinson died (of indigestion???)
Bassett's History of Buffalo County identified him as "one of the
successful pioneer merchants of Kearney."
he served two terms as Buffalo County treasurer.
1908 - elected the first of two terms representing the area in the Nebraska
Roy, the youngest
son, took over management of the store
became a prominent businessman in Kearney.
Louisa, Carl’s widow, also
remained active in the store=
July 2, 1926 – Roy died suddenly from a heart
attack at the age of 50.
Chamber of Commerce president Fairchild requested all businesses in Kearney
be closed between the
hours of 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the time of Roy's funeral.
Ownership now split
between son, Frank, and the two surviving widows
1927 – Frank took over the
management of the store.
January 1932 - Frank purchased the store outright
from his mother, Louisa Bodinson, and his sister-in-law, Mrs. Roy
His mother, Louisa Bodinson, died two months
later, one month short of 80 years of age
1936 – Frank had retired from active management of
January 1945 - Frank dies at age 71
Born in Sweden in 1898, came to this
country alone in 1913 at the age of 15 to live with his uncle, Carl F.
Did not know any
clerked in the family hardware store.
1923 – Married Mary Sorenson in
1936 – Took over management of the store when
1963 – Last listing of Bodinson Hardware in City
1964 – In city directory Waldo listed as retired; the store had closed
1967, October 9 -
Waldo Bodinson died at the age of 69.
1983 – Waldo’s wife, Mary, died. The Bodinson name
disappeared from the city of Kearney.
Products sold in
the Bodinson store
from City Directory and Hub ads:
"Hardware Of All Kinds,"
"Sporting Goods, Paints, Oils, Etc.,"
"Furnace Work a Specialty,"
"Small Electrical Appliances,"
"Builder's Hardware Sheet Metal Work"
subdivisions in the city of Kearney
Both appear to have been
surveyed on July 16, 1887, under the names of Carl L. Bodinson, and his
wife, Louisa Bodinson
Recorded with the Register of Deeds on May 1,
Bounded on the north by 37th Street and on the south by 36th Street, on the
west by 2nd Avenue and on the east by Central Avenue.
Parcel 2. Bounded on the
north by 30th Street and on the south by 28th Street, on the west by Avenue
I and on the east by Avenue L.