Franklin County, Nebraska
For Another Day
Franklin County Chronicle, November 16, 1999
I found this wonderful remembrance of the earlier town of Franklin form the eyes of the late Emmett Britt from the Franklin County Historical Society News in 1977 printed in the Franklin County Sentinel.
His description of our county seat was very easy to follow as he takes us up and down its streets of Franklin. I have taken you on many trips through Bloomington with the aid of the memories of the founders of that town. Now lets see what Franklin Looked like to Emmett Britt. Remember that many of the buildings have disappeared, certainly since Emmett’s younger days and since 1977.
“I remember when Main Street in Franklin Was really different than it is now.
“In what is the courthouse block there was a band stand. South of the park gate there was an archway that welcomed you to the park. There was a little 1 * story house, a little square house that was moved down back of where the Ford Garage is now. Continuing down the west side of the street was the old Commercial Hotel (where the Lincoln Hotel is located). The little building (Davisson’s Store) was an office for a lawyer. There was a cement block building where the picture show is now, then a building that F. G. Hutchins used for his store, Beside that, the Bill Bernhard building, (the furniture store now), across the alley was Charlie Davis’ meat market, and then a barbershop. W. H. Lohr’s shoe business was next, followed by the Lynch and Burton Hardware store, Dr. Feese’s drug store, Austin’s general store, Perry Hildreth’s grocery store, Thomas Sturgeon store, and the Byerly Building with a drug store and Dr. Byerly’s office in the rear part. Back west across the alley was a livery stable, and a little old house where the new post office is now.
“I think the Exchange Bank was there when I first saw Main Street. South of that on that same west side was Jim Bell’s Hardware Store. There were several vacant lots on there but as I remember, there was a store owned by a Gorham. I remember he had a wagon scale where you could weigh loads of hay and such. Then there was a big building that was used for a laundry. The Block south of it across the street was a baseball field and grandstand about where the Ford Garage is now. On the south end on the east side was a hotel known as the Franklin House. Johnny Erickson also had a blacksmith shop. The Sprout brothers had an ice plant, ice cream manufacturing business and bought farm produce.
“The block north of it on the east side was the Bloedorn-Hilsabeck Lumber and Coal Yard. When I first saw it, the building Blank Motors is in was the Hess’s General Store. The Franklin State Bank was on the corner where Duncan’s offices are now. East of the bank was another livery stable, north across the street was the old, old, post office.
“Going up the street was Shoemaker Barbershop and Briggs Barbershop. A man by the name of Staten had a sort of variety store, and there was also a feed store in that block. Others included Bon Ton Restaurant, and Conkling was an early day real estate, insurance and loan business. Then, there was a little old frame building on the corner next to the alley that I am not sure what sort of store it was. A jewelry store about where the Sentinel office is. The building that was the old post office building, and the ones that Rex Boyce and H & R Block are in weren’t there.
“There was a white frame building where the vacant lot is south of the telephone office that a man by the name of Van Dyke used to conduct a real estate business. The Corner Café building was a photograph business.
“I think there was a millinery business on the west side of the street in the area where the picture show is and there was one in the building where Kenneth Long’s Skelly Station is now. Albert R. Peck had an office. He did notary work, real estate and such.
“Clarence Tippetts had a meat market in the area where the laundry is now on Wall Street (L Street). There was a blacksmith shop where the Farmers Union Store building is now. There was a big yellow boarding house on the lot where the Sinclair Station is now.
“There are several buildings what were part of the Franklin Academy. Harrison Hall was north of the area where the picnic house is now.
“Back downtown, Sam Smith had a little store just west of the Exchange Bank Building.
“The first time I was in Franklin to eat was on July 4, 1903. My mother, younger brother Theodore, and I came to visit Claude and Mary Copley, who were our friends in Adams County, southeast of Hastings near Pauline. We attended the celebration here and Fred Wineland, the owner of the Mule Shoe Ranch, brought us to town, which was in the shadow of Lookout Mountain. Fred had a long wagon with seven spring seats on it, and had a six-mule team to pull the wagon. There were 21 persons besides one baby on the wagon.
“We were supposed to be in the parade, but due to something that I don’t recall, the parade was over by the time we got to town. We ate our picnic lunch along a hedge, but I don’t recall much of what else took place during the day.
“The other thing I remember was the row of trees and hitching posts along each side of Main Street.”
As I go about my daily trips to Franklin to shop, I will be looking at these sites Emmit told us about. I will be trying to place each of these businesses into the lots he describes. Some of these buildings still remain, and some of them we can only use our imagination to place them into the vacant holes they belong in.
We just returned from a trip to Denver, CO. While there, we visited the old apartments we used to live in the late 1960’s setting on Acoma Street. We went to the corner of Santa Fe and Bowles Avenue in Littleton, where our small mobile home used to set. It’s now a big shopping center. We drove to a doctor’s office on County Line Road that used to be country. After returning home on Sunday, I drove the Main Street of Franklin, so happy to be home to a small town where I feel comfortable and welcome. And I though, I am truly blessed to live the life most people in Denver only dream about.
Peace on the brow and the eyelids so calm,
Peace in the heart, ‘neath the white folded palm,
Peace dropping down like a wondrous balm
From the head to the feet. Mary T. Lathrop
Rena Donovan, For Another Day.
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