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Monday, June 25, 2012

Traveling Photographers in Bennington, Nebraska

Railroad towns at the turn of the century represented the main travel corridor through the country.  Travel by horse and buggy or even by early cars was anything but fast or luxerious.  The railroad allowed businesses to access and expand into areas that otherwise couldn't support their survices full-time.  

Normally, a building owner or existing business in town would rent out a room or space on a part time bases.  These businesses would travel the railroad curcuit and be available on a scheduled day of the month or possibly the week. 

For instance, a century ago a dentist and photographer serviced Bennington residents this way.   The Dentist might be in Irvington on Monday, Bennington on Tuesday, in Washington on Wednesday and so on.  If you had a tooth ace you either just waited until he arrived in town or you rode your horse or buggy to where he was. 

Initially photographers either set up studios in large cities or travelled the country side by wagon trying to find business.  The railroad provided much easier, more dependable travel and increased their cliental.  There simply wasn't enough demand in a small town and even in Omaha in those early years it might have been hard to make a businesses of it. 

Stories suggest a photographer frequented Bennington periodically but we never have seen any evidence; that is until now.  Violet Christersen was going through some of her old photographs and ran across these.  She doesn't know who the young man and girl are but noticed where the photos were taken; here in Bennington.  We now know that Marian and Henington were at least two photographers who visited Bennington.   
Old Photographs taken in Bennington, Nebraska

Thanks Violet for sharing!! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bennington Daze Celebration 2012

Bennington celebrated its 125th anniversary this year.  The town site was dedicated and named in 1887.  Bennington Daze was held on June 15, 16 and 17 featuring a free barbecue, street dance, parade, baseball games, 5 km run, book sale and many other activities.   The parade was held Saturday at 1 pm.  The Bennington Historical Society participated with flying colors.  The Society had originally planned to sell our tour guides and historic calendars from a late 1800 farm wagon parked near the parade route but late morning showers drove us up under the protection of the porch.  

CoeLeta Logemann and Jan McKelvie at the Bennington Historical Society table during Bennington Daze
 The Society sold 2013 historic calendars, walking tours and handed out information about the Society.  CoeLeta Logemann, Jan McKelvie, Linda and and Gordon Mueller manned the table.

Diane Warrick did all our sign design work and her and Linda created two maps that are on display in the front windows of Bob McKelvie's building on Main Street.  (This is one of the original structures built in 1888.)  One map feature the business lots and the other is a platt map showing ownership of surrounding farm land in 1898.  We are looking for anyone that has information and photographs of ownership (1888 to present) of businesses in Bennington.


This was the Society's first year anniversary and our first participation in the parade.  Our logo adorned a 1918 Ford Pickup owned and driven by Bob McKelvie.  Lois Musel, her daughter Andrea and her children rode along passing out treats to spectators.  They simply had too much fun!
Turn of the Century Transportation-Bennington Historic Society
1918 Ford and Bain Farm Wagon
1918 Ford Pickup (John Deere box) The Bennington Historical Society Entry, Bennington Daze, 2012

We also presented a slide show entitled "A Walk Through History" which featured 'then and now' photographs of Bennington businesses.  It was originally planned to be shown outside on Stark Street where free movies were shown decades ago.  Again, unpredictable weather forced us to have it indoors.  The American Legion graciously opened their doors for us.  Gordon Mueller gave the talk and approximately 40 attended.  If you would like to have the show presented to a local organization, contact us.   

Come join the fun.  Remember the Historical Calendars are now available and can be found in local businesses.  Buy one and consider giving one as a gift.  Take care. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bennington Historical Calendar

This year Bennington is celebrating it's 125th Anniversary.  In recognition of this important event, the Bennington Historical Society and local businesses have created a 2013 Historical Calendar.  We are very proud of this calendar, it features historical photographs of Bennington taken more than a century ago. 

Bennington Historical Society's 2013 Calendar on Sale NOW!
 They are on sale at good stores in town for $10 or they can be mailed; simply send us your address and $13 to cover postage. 

The Calendar will make a wonderful keepsake, gift or learning aid for your family; what was here 100 years ago?   Proceeds go to support the Historical Society and its projects.   Thanks.