In the year of 1870 the
entire population of Adams County was a total of 19 residents. The
town of Hastings, Nebraska was platted in 1872 and incorporated in April
of 1874. By 1878 Hastings was a thriving community of over 3,000
residents. Hastings' population grew to over 10,000 residents by
1880. In 1890 the population of Hastings was just a little over 24,000
people. There were two street car companies in Hastings from 1887
until 1892. In May of 1907 there were thirty registered
automobiles in Hastings. By 1930 Hastings' population had decreased to
just over 15,000 residents and was about the same in 1940.
Following are many interesting tidbits about Hastings and some of its
12th Street - was known
in the early years as High Street - and the early cemetery for which
they have no records was called Highland as it is north of 12th Street
between Burlington and Hastings Avenues.
The first potters' field
was located on St. Joseph Avenue - again no records - and burials were
made near where the tennis courts are located. It is one reason they
built the tennis courts there - to pave it over so that no graves
would be disturbed and the ground would not be plowed.
Two of my great great
uncles were some of the first burials in Parkview Cemetery - they died
in 1884 in the first diphtheria epidemic in Hastings and are buried in
the Northern part of the cemetery and their graves are marked with two
tiny diamond shaped stones.
The Kerr Opera House was
built in 1884 - a bank was on the first floor. Some of my
ancestors toured the Orpheum Circuit and were married on the stage of
the Kerr Opera House.
The first Country Club was located at
9th & Elm Streets - it was later sold to Hastings College and Hastings
College used it for many years as the student union. It once had
tennis courts, in addition to a golf course - and a swimming pool.
Elvan McClanahan was the early
photographer for the Hastings Daily Tribune and once worked with Adam
Bebee to make a movie in early Hastings. Many of you will remember
him as the one who took all the sports pictures when we were in high
school and many other activities also. He was known as "Onions" and
was my uncle.
Rollin Kirby from Hastings received
the Pulitzer Prize for political cartoons in the early 1900's.
Hastings Outdoor Club was organized in
1931 as a small hiking group - the club met every Sunday regardless of
the weather - one leader was appointed each Sunday - his
responsibility was to get permission from the owner to cross his land
and rent a cabin for shelter if necessary - each member was charged
25 cents for the meal and ten cents for transportation - the favorite
cabins were owned by the Boy Scouts, The Lovell Family cabin on the
Blue River, and the Johnson Cabin on the Platte. They also erected the
monument for Susan Hale on the Oregon Trail near Kennesaw.
The first High School Variety Show was
held in November of 1941 - and guess who started it - Matthew
Shoemaker and Miss Collier. Two names I am sure you will all
My grandpa owned a grocery store on
Hastings Avenue across from the Clarke Hotel - he had a stable behind
the store and had a big white horse named Steamboat - the "boys" (my
uncles) delivered groceries with the horse - he was a big old guy and
my dad was afraid of him. Mr. Perkins experimented with his Kool Aid
in the basement of grandpa's store because he was so poor grandpa let
him use the basement - he first called it Flavor Aid and put it in
bottles. The old uncles remembered that - he later moved to
where history says he invented it.
When the circus came to town the
uncles would go down and water and feed the animals. The circus
came on the train and would have a big parade downtown. The
"boys" would help clean up the animals for the parade and they would
get free tickets.
My grandma would take the "boys" out to the
state hospital and they would hop the train and ride into town and get
off at the Swift plant - that was later when they had a Hump Mobile.
Grandpa put a stop to that - waste of gas (2 cents a gallon).
First Ward School
Ward School was the oldest school - it was on Burlington and Lincoln
between A & B Streets - it was enlarged in 1886 and in 1912 torn down
and the new Lincoln School was built. This was the first
elementary school built in Hastings - so known as the First Ward
South Ward School
The South Ward School was
built in 1888 and was located on Hastings Avenue between G & I Streets
- it later was renamed Hawthorne School - this school was used into
the 1920's - and later was the home of the first museum - it later
was sold and used as a battery factory.
West Ward School
The West Ward School was
built in 1886 and was remodeled and added onto in 1912 - it was
later known as Morton School. The school was located on 6th Street between
Saunders and Briggs and is no longer standing. When the new Morton School was built on
Baltimore Avenue. In the early 1930's the old Morton was converted into
the Hastings Museum and was used until the House of Yesterday was
completed in 1939. I only remember this area as being a vacant lot
with a church at one end.
East Ward School
The East Ward School was built
in 1891 and was located between third and fourth street, and faced
California Avenue. It was later added on to - when all the names
were changed its name was changed to Alcott. It was still
standing in 1935, but a new school was built on the same spot and the
older school was torn down. It cost under $3,000 to build in
The names of all of the grade schools
were changed in 1912. In 1926/27 a new Longfellow School was
built just north of the the old Longfellow (the first high school)
which faced Denver - my dad told me that when the new school was
finished the children (which he was) helped to moved the books, etc.
to the new school - this was at the end of the school year in May of
1927 - over the summer the old school was torn down and the playground
was evolved where the old school had been.
During WWII the population swelled
because of the Navy Ammunition Depot and a new school was built in
The new Hawthorne School was built on
9th and Crane in 1954 ( my grandfather once owned some of the land)
and when we moved to our house on Boyce Avenue in 1951 the area was
all farm land. We lived in the 1900 block of Boyce and north of us
was all farm land. The roads were not paved and my parents owned our
house and four lots on Ninth Street - when it rained we would dam the
ditches and flood Ninth Street. Johnson Cashway later purchased all
of the land between Washington and Crane Avenues - 9th to 12th Streets
and developed and built houses.
Junior High School
Junior High School
The Junior High Building
was begun in 1917 and was north of the old senior high school.
It is the only Junior High ever built in Hastings and is still used
North Ward School
The first high school was located
between Hastings & Denver south side of Ninth Street and fronted
Denver. The first was built in 1887 and then replaced in 1891 -
the building was known as the North Ward - the first graduates of
Hastings High School were graduated in 1884.
The new high school was built in
1905 on 5th Street between Lincoln and Hastings - many of our
parents were graduated from this school.
Of course, we all know that Hastings
High was completed in 1955 and our class was the first class to attend
all three years at the new high school.
The first Catholic Church was located
at 2nd and Minnesota and later was moved to Kansas Avenue & 6th
Street - and later the new church was built on the corner of 7th &
Kansas. St. Cecilia's only had a grade school until 1932 when the high
school was added one grade per year with the first graduating class
graduated in 1936.
The first Presbyterian Church was
located at Fourth and Lincoln - where the Y was later built - the new
church was built on 7th Street & Lincoln and burned in 1912 - the new
church stands today.
The first Methodist Church in Hastings
was located at Third & Burlington and was built in 1884. The present
Methodist Church was built on 7th and Hastings and was dedicated in
~ Submitted by Sharon