THE FEDERAL BUILDING
Supervising Architect of the Treasury James Knox Taylor designed the new post office and federal building in Grand Island, authorizing the final architectural plans in 1908. Workers completed the building, which officially opened on November 26, 1910, at a cost of $108,000.00.
Postal facilities occupied the first floor of the new building, while the second floor held a two-story district courtroom and associated court offices. As its population increased, Grand Island required expanded postal services and additional federal office space. In 1933, local architect Charles W. Steinbaugh designed an addition to the building, which opened in 1935. Two years later, the post office began housing the headquarters for Grand Island's Works Progress
Administration (WPA) district office, a function that it served until 1939.
In 1968, the U.S. Postal Service vacated the building after securing a new facility. The same year, the GSA purchased the building and renovated the first floor into office space for federal agencies.
216 West Second Street
The Majestic Theatre opened in September 1913 with F.L. Kerns as the manager. In 1915, the building had a seating capacity of 487 seats and boasted of having 12 exits and could empty the entire theatre in 3 minutes. An new fly gallery and stage was added towards the alley sometime after 1915. The theatre hosted numerous vaudeville and silent films and if the show was not worth the price of admission, they promised to refund your money.
The theatre closed its doors in 1938, and after major renovations to the building, the VFW took over this spot. The VFW stayed at this location for many years before moving to South Locust. The building was originally constructed with six apartments on the second floor, but were vacated in the late 50's. Jazzersize operated at this location until 2007.
THE HEDDE BUILDING
201 West Third Street
The Hedde building was built by Fred Hedde in 1887. Hedde, who first operated a general store and later purchased the Platte Valley Paper, changed the name to the Daily Independent and later moved the business to the Hedde Building. An addition to the building on the south side was completed in 1910.
Woolstenholm and Stern Clothiers was another well known business that was located on the main floor from 1893 until the 1930's. Later the main floor became Roger’s Jewelry and then Brodkey’s Jewelry.
The upper floors contained many medical and professional offices and a few residencies. One business was called Colonial Beauty Parlor which was ran by Mrs. Cosh. The basement included a barbershop and pool hall. Above the barber pole on the sidewalk a sign reads “BATHS”.
102 West Third Street
The Michelson Block was built in 1885 by James Michelson and expanded to include a third story in 1887. It was a creation of architect Julius Fuehrmann, who had his office in the building. In 1909 the north addition was added with Wells Fargo & Co. Express as a tenant. Other tenants at this time included the Onyx Bar and Michelson’s Jewelry Store on the corner.
The clock came from the Seth Thomas Co. and the cost, including tower and frame for a 500 pound bell, was $2,000 according to Daily Independent news stories. The clock had three faces, lighted at night by gas. The bell rang each hour. It was referred to as the "Town Clock".
Many different barbershops occupied 310 N. Pine over the years. The Puritan, Smith’s, Curly’s, The Royal, Dodd’s, Mickey’s and finally Brownie’s operated here until the 1980’s when it closed its doors.
Businesses that occupied the upper floors throught history include: Anheuser-Busch, Deffenbaugh Physicians, Harrison and Prince Law Firm, The Pantorium, and Moore Dentistry.
In the 1920’s Rosalio Briseno started the Busline Shoe Shop at 308 N. Pine. It was named after the intercity buses that parked along Pine street.
The Chocolate Bar is located in part of a building that was built in 1882 and was the home of First National Bank. The eastern portion, which has since been changed and is now Master Stylist, had the same exterior facade.
In 1891 Joseph Sondermann started Sondermann & Co. Undertaking and Furniture. The business changed names in the 1930's to Livingston-Sondermann and in 1956 moved to Koenig Street.
During the 1940’s and 1950’s a clothing store named Cheatums Style Shoppe operated out of this location. In the 60’s it became Pat’s Booterie and in the 70’s it was Brown’s Shoe Fit.
The Picadilly Dinner Theatre operated from this location until around 1996. The building is now owned by Amos and Sherena Anson who purchased it in 2007.
308 West Third Street
Kaufmann’s Five & Dime Store was a long time business at this address. In 1906, a few years after arriving in Nebraska from Germany, David Kaufmann created central Nebraska’s first five and dime store. In 1924 he opened a new store at this location. It was said that everything from hardware, chinaware, crockery, dry goods, furnishings, stationary, jewelry, and novelties were available at Kaufmann’s. The store also had a popular lunch counter.
The store grew in popularity and eventually there were nine stores affiliated with Kaufmann’s across central Nebraska, including stores in Kearney, North Platte and Cozad.
401 West First Street
Liederkranz means "a wreath of songs." In 1870, German settlers met to organize a German singing society to provide musical and social entertainment and to cultivate the member's musical talents. The original clubhouse was a two-story frame building erected in 1871. The brick building, constructed in 1911-12, was built for $63,000 by architect Otto Kirschke, a Liederkranz member, and reflects influences of the Neo-Classical Revival style. The hall has long been a community meeting place, an auditorium for civic activities, and a polling place. The Liederkranz is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Carnegie Public Library
On April 27, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt broke ground for the construction of a new Grand Island public library. A $20,000 Carnegie Corporation grant assisted with the building costs. The 1906 Neo-Classical Revival Style, two story, high basement brick structure was built by Henry Falldorf and Otto Kirschke, Grand Island contractors. The building is Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
St. Mary's Cathedral
204 South Cedar Street
St. Mary's Cathedral Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an outstanding example of Late Gothic Revival architecture and is made of Indiana Bedford sandstone. Architects scaled down a model of the Parisian Cathedral La Saninte Chapelle for the church's design. Work began on the cathedral in 1926, and it was completed and consecrated in 1928. The main altar arid four smaller altars are made of white Italian marble. The "Rose Window" at the back of the cathedral came from Italy in its completed form. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
422 West Second Street
This landmark English Gothic structure opened for worship on July 7, 1889. The church was constructed with red granite from Colorado and trimmed in gray sandstone from Wyoming. The stained glass windows were imported from Europe. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt was seated in the third-row pew as he worshiped with the local congregation after a tour of the western states. President Roosevelt also broke ground for the new Carnegie Public Library.
318 West Third Street
In 1930, the Lyda Theater was purchased by David Kaufman and Harry Shiller. The theatre underwent extensive remodeling and was renamed "The Grand." About half the size of the present-day building, it was a modest theatre that struggled for survival in the depressed economy of a troubled town.
On May 7th, 1937, hundreds of people lined up along Third Street outside of the new theatre building. The largest neon sign in Grand Island graced the facade, which was build entirely of colored glass. It was the most beautiful modern building in town. The marquee proclaimed "Nebraska's Finest and Most Modern Theatre!" 705 people were ushered in to watch the premiere of "A Star is Born" starring Janet Gaynor, Adolph Menjou and Fredrick March.
Bartenbach Opera House
Bartenbach’s Opera House was completed in August 1883 with six street level retail spaces, one of which was the Bartenbach Paint Store (now Bartenbach Gallery). The second floor was home to the Bartenbach Opera House. A street front entrance led to 'the ticket booth and main auditorium with a balcony, providing seating for 1000. Local talent and professional touring shows entertained area residents for 45 years. The Opera House’s last professional show ran in 1927.
Notable talents appearing included Buffalo Bill Cody, Al Jolson, The John Phillips Sousa Band and John Barrymore. The American Legion Convention was the last to use the opera house in 1934. In the 1950s, the remnants of the -Opera House disappeared to become rented office space.
104 East Third Street
In 1885 the exterior of Coney Island resembled a small bank and was an office for Grand Island attorneys Thomas Oliver Cromwell Harrison and Charles- Rief. Harrison's distinguished legal career ended with two years as Chief Justice of the high court.
Coney Island Lunch Room opened in 1923 serving coney dogs, chili and the best malts in town. The restaurant has been operated by members of the Katrouzos family since 1933.
217 North Locust Street
The Grand Island Masonic Temple Building is a striking, seven-story brick building- with accents of blue tile. The engraved lettering across the front of the high-rise reads, "1870 - Masonic Temple - 1925." In 1870, Ashlar Lodge No. 33, A.F. & A.M. (Ancient,' Free and Accepted Masons) was organized in Grand Island, and in 1925 this building was erected. The top floors were originally devoted to Masonic activity and the rest of the space was used for office suites.
213-215 East Third Street
The cornerstone of the G.A.R (Grand Army of the Republic), Hall was laid in 1886, and the building was dedicated on December 9 of that same year. From 1893 to 1910 the post -office had a ground floor space in this two-story brick building. The building still stands, and most of the original architecture remains.
123 North Locust Street
Typical Renaissance Revival period architecture marks this 11-story 150-room hotel building. Construction began in April 1917, but due to financial problems and World War I, completion was not until October 1923. Hotel Yancey was named for William L. Yancey, who first operated it on a lease basis. The hotel became the center of social and political activity for Grand Island and Central Nebraska: The Yancey closed-as a hotel in 1902, was remodeled and opened in 1985 as a stylish condominium and office complex. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
210 North Walnut Street
In 1911 construction began on what was the first building in Grand Island to be constructed as a telephone exchange. The building was designed by Grand Island architect Oscar R. Kirschke and exhibits elements of the Italian Renaissance Revival.
The building was also home to the district offices for NTC between the years of 1911-1917, that is, until space became too crowded and the district offices was moved to the 3rd floor of the Glover Building. The Grand Island district was the largest in the state in area and over 100 employees worked out of the NTC building.
While at this location, NTC saw many changes to its business and to the telephone industry in general. Competition and consolidation was shaping the industry nationwide. In 1912 the Nebraska Telephone Company purchased the Grand Island Telephone Company which later merged with Northwestern Bell Telephone Company in 1920 as part of regional consolidation plan.
In December 1957 the building was sold for $18,500 from Northwestern Bell Telephone to Grand Island Federation of Labor Building Association Inc.
On July 12, 1900, Grand Island Lodge Number 604 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was chartered. Their first meeting was held at the G.A.R. Hall on East Third Street. In 1916, a building committee was formed to raise money and oversee the construction of a permanent home.
Grand Island photographer Julius Leschinsky took this photograph of the nearly completed Elk’s Building located at the corner of First and Locust Streets in July 1917. When the lodge opened in 1918 they had a membership in excess of 500.
Knickrehm Groceries first opened on Fourth and Pine Streets in 1898 by John Knickrehm. Two sons, John Jr. and Carl grew up with the business. In 1912, the two boys were admitted to partnership and the name was changed to Knickrehm & Sons. In 1916 John Sr. retired and the business continued under the name Knickrehm Bros. until 1922, when John Jr. purchased the interest of his brother Carl and Became the sole owner of the store.
Knickrehm’s New Market was built in 1929 to accommodate the increasing business. In 1932 the store employed 12 people. The grocery store lasted until the 1950’s when it became 3rd City Seed & Supply Co. which later became Earl May Seed & Nursery.
The second floor housed the YWCA for about 30 years. More recently it was the home to Heartland Dance Studio and is now vacant.