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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gifts and Donations

The following members and friends of the Bennington Historical Society have the following donations.  Thank you for your interest and support!


Lois Peterson--Bennington School photographs
Melvin Tiedje--Images of Bennington (1950's)
Julie Dunn--Bennington Centenial plates and mugs
Tracy Sothman--Summer Hill Farm photographs
Oft's B&B--Historical walking tour guide and family images
Sharon Rodgers--Images of family store
Bob Musel--Business token
Jerry Roe--Image of bank and interview
Jerry Miles--Interview
Doris Hoier--Family images
Addie Backhuus--Family images
Kay Miles--Images of St. John's Lutheran Church
Lee Bunz--Image of Bunz Implement
Doris Hoier--Family farm images and interview
Dee (Finke) Micheel--Benn. Food Mart pictures & items
Greg Pooley--Articles and images of the Hickey family
Lorene Andersen--Images and interview
LaVern Mueller--Images and interview
CoeLeta & Darrel Logemann--Images
LeMara Eicke--Images and interview
Ed Wesphall--Images
Brian Penke--Family history
Chris Curzon--Legal services
Lois Musel--Images and articles


Mohr Family--Memorial donation for Glenn Mohr
Bev VanArsdel--Cash donation
Logemann Family--Memorial donation for Dorothy Logemann
Julie Dunn--Post Office Box rental
Janiece Coe--Cash donation

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bennington's Founding Families

Founding Families
The Bennington Historical Society is honoring the families who founded the Bennington community through the presentation of their names on our 2011 tree entry into Festival of Trees sponsered by the Bennington Woman's Club.  The tree will be on display with others at St. John's Lutheran Church from November 17th through the 19th.  Proceeds go to the Library Fund. 

We were able to find nearly 150 family names in local and church records that predated 1900 (History of Bennington, Nebraska--1887--1967,  Bennington Woman's Club, 1967; Bennington, Nebraska 1892--1992, Bennington Centennial Book Committee, 1992; St. John's Lutheran Church and Zion Luteran Church records).  While the list is undoubtedly incomplete, it does identify many of those who were instrumental in developing our community and its institutions.  We pay tribute to you.  For those families we missed; we offer our humble apology. 

Eggert Oft Family (ca 1895)

A:  Anderson, Andressen, Arp, Auch
B:  Backhuss, Barr, Barthelamann, Baumann, Bergmann, Biel, Bohl, Boyer, Braesch, Bramley, Bruggmann, Brunchmann, Bunz, Braack,
C:  Christensen, Christiansen, Cizek, Cohrs, Corliss, Crink, Cramer, Carlson
D:  Dahl, Deerson, Deidrichsen, Desler, Dierks, Dohse, Dornacker
E:  Ehlers, Ebner
F:  Fedde, Fick, Frederickson
G:  Glandt, Gloe, Gottsch, Gradert, Grau, Grothusen, Godeker, Ganer,  
H:  Hagedorn, Hansen, Hanson, Harder, Harmsen, Heide, Heitmann, Henning, Hickey, Holdort, Holling, Holst, Hesemeier,
J:  Jipp, Joens, Johannsen
K:  Kaehler, Kahler, Kahnk, Kammeyer, Kay, Keiser, Kirschner, Kniep, Kobs, Kramer, Kroeger, Kruse, Kunnermann, Knaus, Kordas, Kloninger, Klinker,
L:  Labs, Lambrecht, Lamp, Lebbert, Logemann, Luschen, Lyman, Ludi,
M:  Mangold, Matthiessen, Meeves, Messenger, Misfelt, Moeller, Mohr, Mordhorst, Mueller, Mumm, Moll,
N:  Neimann, Neuhaus, Neumeyer, Nitz
O:  Oft, Ohrt, Olerich, Oldigs,
P:  Paulen, Penke, Peters, Peterson, Pratt, Pruess, Puls, Pfaller, Prochnow,
R:  Rieken, Rix, Roe, Rohwer
S:  Schneekloth, Schleip, Schmidt, Schneider, Schroeder, Schwock, Scott, Siert, Somonson, Skinner, Stark, Steffer, Stiener, Stender, Stolterburg, Storm, Straton, Sunds, Surts, Suverkrubbe, Struthmann, Steyer, Storm,
T:  Tiedge, Timm, Timme, Topp, Tuttle, Thaden, Toensfeldt
V:  Valnack, Voss, Vahlcamp,
W:  Wagner, Wallace, Walter, Wendt, Wesemann, Wilke, Wiltze, Witt, Witte, Wolly, Worth, Wrick, Westphall, Wrasse,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Other Bennington Businesses and Institutions 1890 to 1915

Photograph (ca. 1890) taken at the intersection of 156th Street and Bennington Road looking southwest where Schettler's is now located.  The oldest businesses were located along the south side of the road between Bennington Road and the Papio Creek.  This land was not in the original town site (1888).  Herman Timme built the first store in 1887 which also housed Bennington's first Post Office.  To the south of him was Cook's Blacksmith Shop and next to the creek was Schneider's Saloon.  This area was developed by Clause Oft and was the first annexation to Bennington. 

Photograph (ca. 1889?) is believed to be of railroad workers laying track in the Bennington area.  Photograph was marked 'Jack Wagner" and is believed to have belonged to Jack who was a long-time resident of Bennington. 

Photograph (ca. 1900?) taken near the intersection of Bennington Rd. and Stark Street looking west at St. John's Lutheran Church  parsonage (church in background).  The church was built in 1898.

Photograph of Public School District 59, Built in 1892 and destroyed by a 1910 storm.  The school was located on the most prominent hill in town, located on North 2nd Street between Molly and Stark Streets.

Photograph (ca.?) of Oft's Grist Mill located on the west side of 156th Street south of the Papio Creek.  Photograph is looking east toward the 'old' 156th Street Bridge.
Photograph (ca. post 1910) looking northeast toward Bennington showing Clause Oft's Grist Mill and spring flooding on the Papio Creek.  This was taken prior to the creek being dredged.  Bennington Public School is seen on the hill in the background. Ice from this pond was harvested during the winter and stored in icehouses throughout town for later use in the summer.    

Photograph of the 1903 flood taken from the elevator looking west at 156th Street.  Oft's Grist Mill is seen in the upper left corner and on the right side of the railroad tracks you see Schneider's Saloon and Cook's Blacksmith Shop. The white house behind those businesses was built in 1893 and still survives   

Society Projects and Activities

Special Projects and Activities
What was it like Growing Up in this Area?    Long-time residents are being interviewed and asked what it was like growing up in this area.  Contributors describe their parents, grand parents, their careers, homes, home life, goals, schooling and much more.  Interviews take roughly an hour depending upon the 'flow' of conversation and stories.  Interviews are typed and reviewed by contributors who are also encouraged to add old photographs to the document. Participants this far include: Jerry Roe, Addie Backhuus, Lee Bunz, Doris Hoier, LaVerne Mueller and Jerry Miles.   For those interested in participating, please contact:  Gordon Mueller 402-614-7509,  

Festival of Trees 

Diane Warrick, Linda Mueller and Joanne Warrick by the Founding Family Tree

The Society participate in the Woman's Club Festival of Trees celebration that was held the weekend before Thanksgiving at St. John's Lutheran Church.  Thirty four Christmas Trees were displayed by local clubs, organizations and businesses. The theme of the Society's tree was: "Founding Families" which honored those families located in the Bennington area prior to 1900.  More than 140 were found through old records (see feature in this blog).  Proceedings went to the Library's Building Fund.   Delicious soups, and desserts, a bake sale, and raffle were also part of the festivities.  The project was led and designed by Diane Warrick with the help of Joanne Warrick and Linda Mueller (402-393-2382,

2013 Bennington Calendar  The Society is developing a Historical Calendar for 2013 which features old photograph of Bennington taken more than a century ago.  The calendar will also contain information on local historical events.  Proceeds from sales will help pay for other club activities.  Those interested in contributing help, old photos or other materials, please contact Lois Musel,  402-238-2485,

Historical Walking Tour of Bennington's Business District   A 12 page guide is available from the Society that describes and features old photos of Bennington businesses than were here a century ago.  Learn which buildings are the oldest, which are original, those that have been replaced and what businesses they held.  Copies are available for a $5 donation, please contact Gordon Mueller, 402-614-7509, 

A Power Point Presentation, "A Walk in History; Downtown Bennington Pre-1912" has been created by the Society.  Its a 30-40 minute show of old photographs of Bennington's business district and business owners prior to 1912.  If you have a group or organization that would like to see it, contact Gordon Mueller 402-614-7509. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Down Town Businesses 1890 to 1915

Bennington has an interesting history.  The town was developed by the Railroad as tracks were laid from Omaha to Fremont.  Land was set aside for 4 towns; Irvington, Bennington, Washington and Arlington.  The Pioneer Town Site Company surveyed the site, laying out our streets and business and residential lots.  In 1888, those lot were put up for sale.   

The railroad arrived in 1889 and the town rapidly grew; by 1892 it incorporated.   The town was self sufficient for many years having nearly everything that was needed right here in town.  The town boasted several grocery stores, a dry good store, hardware store, a furniture store, a cement block factory, a cigar and wooden shoe factory, a stock yard and several butcher shops.  One time the town had 4 hotels and 4 saloons.  

Those days are gone forever and so are most of those businesses, buildings, memories and stories.  Old photographs are often lost when people move, pass away or when old photographs are no longer recognized by younger generations.  Clues to our history are found in old photographs, family stories and through old records and newspaper clippings.  It's our goal to save and share those with our community.  We hope you enjoy these glimpses of the past.   If you have any old photographs or other local artifacts please let us know.   Consider joining or making a contribution to the Society; history is fun!  Contact us at   Thank you.   

Photograph (ca. 1905) taken from the intersection of Warehouse and South 2nd Street (Main Street) looking east. Businesses left to right are Spethman's Hotel, Paulsen's Blacksmith Shop, Hansen's Meat Market.  Right to left: Mangold's Store, Peterson's Meat Store, Oft's Harness Shop, and Oft's Hotel.

Photograph (ca. 1905) taken from the intersection of South 2nd (Main Street) and Stark Street looking South.  Businesses left to right: Fredrickson Store, Oft's Livery.  Right to left: Oft's Hotel, Oft's ice house, Seymour Blacksmith Shop, Mangold Brother's Lumber Yard. 

Photograph taken from the intersection of South 2nd Street (Main Street) and Stark Street looking West. 
(prior to the construction of the Mangold and Peterson Stores; 1889)

Photograph (ca. between 1898 and 1911) taken at the intersection of Warehouse and South 2nd Street (Main Street) looking south east.   The prominent business on the corner is Mangold's (1st) Store, Peterson's Meat Shop to its left and Oft's Harness Shop to it's left.  Mangold Brother's Lumber Yard is seen on the right.
Photograph (ca. 1911-1913) of the north side of Main Street.  Businesses (l-r) Mangold's Store, Hansen's Meat Shop, Kruse Hotel and Saloon and Witt Hardward Store. 
Photograph taken in 1907 looking northwest from just north of the intersection of Warehouse and Stark Street.  Buildings (l-r) Seymour Blacksmith Shop, Oft's Icehouse and Oft's Hotel.  These buildings burned in 1913.  This is now a parking lot behind the 'Warehouse'.  

Photograph (between 1911 & 1913)  of the Bennington State Bank Building located on the South side of South 2nd Street (Main Street) The building to its left is Oft's Hotel.  Mangold Brother's Lumber Yards can be seen in the background. 
Photograph taken after the 1913 fire that allegedly started in the Oft Hotel.  The photograph is looking north at the smoldering ruin of the Kruse Hotel where the Sportman's Bar now sets.  The building to the left is Hansen's Meat Shop which became Petersen's Meat Shop shortly after the building was repaired. 

Photograph (ca. 1914) of the Ball Room of Oft's Hall located on the south side of South 2nd Street (Main Street). 
Photograph (ca. 1914) of the final construction of Oft's Hall on Main Street.  Eggert Oft built the Hall and Grocery Store to the left over the ruins of his hotel which burned in 1913.  Following the 1911 and 1913 fires, building were constructed of brick and block.  Bennington had its own cement block factory at that time. 

Photograph (pre-1909) looking northwest at the intersection of Molley, South 2nd and Warehouse Streets.  Its believed the photograph was taken from the roof of the Mangold Brother's Lumber Yard.  In the lower right hand corner is Mangold's (1st) Store and slightly above is Spethman's Hotel.

A baseball game being played in Bennington Park prior to 1911.  Photograph was taken near the Papio bridge looking northeast toward downtown; Mangold's Lumber Yard, Mangold's Store, the Spethman's Hotel and Hansen's Meat Market can be seen in the background.   

Photograph (pre-1911) taken from the elevator looking north at the Business District. Mangold's Brother's Lumber Yard (roofs) is seen at the bottom of the photogragh.  Across Warehouse Street (l-r) is Mangold's Store, the back of Peterson's Meat Shop, Oft's Harness Shop and Oft's Hotel.  On the north side of the Street is
(l-r): Paulson's Blacksmith Shop and Hansen Meat Shop.  Bennington Public School can be seen in the extreme background on top of the hill.    

Photograph (post 1911) of Mangold's (2nd) Store.  A fire in 1911 destroyed Mangold's original store located on the south side of South 2nd Street, the following year he rebuilt on the north side of the street where Paulson's Blacksmith Shop stood. 

Photograph looking east at Bennington's elevator.  The first elevator was built in 1889 by Peter Deidrichsen.  It was steam powered and burned and was rebuilt by Peter Mangold.   

Photograph (pre-1914) of South 2nd Street (Main Street) looking west.  Businesses (l-r): Bennington Herald Printing Office, Modern Utilities.  (r-l): Modern Woodmen of America, Mangold & Glandt Bank, Post Office, Witte Hardware Store. 
Photograph looking north across the railroad tracts at workmen unloading lumber for the Mangold Brother's Lumber Yard in background. 

Photograph (post-1913) of Peterson's Meat Shop located on the north side of Main Street.  The business was originally owned by Hansen who sold out to Peterson following the 1913 fire. 

Photograph of W. Ehler's Saloon built on the south side of Main Street in 1886.  The building also housed Joe Boyer's barber shop.


Post Card photograph of the Mangold & Glandt Bank that was built in 1914 on the northeast corner of South 2nd and Stark Streets.  A wooden building stood at this location that housed the Post Office prior to the construction of this brick building.  The M&G Bank went under in the depression (1928) and was bought by Harold Roe who started the Bank of Bennington in 1928.  The Bank continues business today at its new location.

Photograph (ca 1910) taken near the intersection of Stark Street and Warehouse on the North West corner.  B.L. Seymour operated his blacksmith business from a building owned by Eggert Oft.  It is believed this building burned in the 1913 downtown fire.