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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.

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