Location and Physical Features | Primitive Occupants|
The First Settler | Indian Depredations | Pioneer Events
County Seat Contest | Burning of the Jail | Court House|
Legislative Representation | Statistical | The Press
Criminal | Schools | Railroads
Crete: Early History | Doane College | Religious|
Crete (cont.): Schools | Crete Public Library | The Press|
Secret Orders | Business Interests
Manufacturing Interests | Opera House
Crete (cont.): Biographical Sketches|
Crete (cont.): Biographical Sketches [cont.]|
Wilber: Early History | Banks | Manufactories | Schools|
Religious | Secret Societies | The Press
Wilber: Biographical Sketches [cont.]|
South Fork Precinct. [Biographical Sketch]
DeWitt: Local Matters | Biographical Sketches|
Dorchester: Early History | Local Matters|
Friend: Early History | Banks -- Schools and Churches|
Societies | Newspaper | Biographical Sketches
Pleasant Hill: Biographical Sketches
Swan City | Western | Atlanta Precinct [Biographical Sketch]
List of Illustrations in Saline County Chapter
Crete, of the Greek nation, had her wise philosophers, and learned instructors, so Crete, of Saline County, Neb., in emulating her example, has established her schools, academy and college. While in Crete of old it took thousands of years to attain her exalted position of learning in science and art, yet in Crete of the modern day, in only a few short years, has grown up an institution of learning of which any people might justly be proud. The first school kept inside of what is now the boundary of the city of Crete, was in the winter of 1866, and was taught by Mrs. John S. Lee. The schoolroom was a dug-out made in the bank of the Blue River, near where Bridges and Johnston's mill now stands. The cave was covered with sods for a roof, boarded up on the inside and floored with cottonwood boards made from logs which had been drawn to a saw mill located on the West Blue River, a distance of fourteen miles to the west, and owned by a man by the name of West. The schoolhouse or cave faced to the south, and from this side was the entrance, from which the source of light was derived. A fireplace was constructed in the opposite end, and the smoke of the fire found escape through a chimney built of sods. This contrivance as a substitute for a school building when a better was not to be had served the settlement for several years. It was a sort of boarding school, for frequently during heavy snow storms, the children coming from long distances and unable to make their way home through the storm in safety, were forced to take up lodging in the dug-out. The fuel for the heating of the schoolhouse was gathered by the schoolboys, from drift piles and fallen timber. The first school numbered thirteen pupils, seven of whom were furnished by Mr. Bertwell, who certainly did his share towards making up a school, and the remaining settlers surely found no cause to grumble in furnishing the other six. The schools for the next two winters were taught by John Bowler. During the winter of 1868, the school was held in a dug-out made in a knoll on the farm belonging to Fritz George, the school numbering fifteen pupils. Mr. Bowler was afterward elected first County Superintendent for Saline County. His terms of service in the dug-out schoolroom are well remembered, in connection with the inevitable violin of which he was passionately fond, and with which he amused his pupils. Little more than three years had elapsed since the starting of the first school in the vicinity whereon in after years is to stand a prosperous city, and the school apartments in caves and dens of the earth were abandoned for others more elevated in character and more elevating in influence, and the time had arrived when the school should take a long stride upward. In 1870, as has been seen, the town had been started, and though in long precedence the school was ready to head in with the growing village. A schoolroom was secured and fitted up in the front part of a carpenter shop belonging to a couple of old bachelors by the names of Ocker and Grim. The rear apartment f the building was occupied by these men as a living place. The room occupied by the school was only about sixteen feet square, in which was crowded a school numbering now fifty pupils, and C. J. Bowlby was employed as teacher. The conversation of the two occupants of the rear room could be distinctly heard through the partition, and was often the source of a great deal of amusement to the pupils, and very often it was with extreme difficulty that they could suppress the desire to burst out in boisterous expression of merriment. The first summer school in Crete was taught by Miss Merrill, beginning in April, 1871. The upper story of the building erected for a college boarding hall, which was built chiefly through the personal efforts of the Rev. Frederick Alley, was used as a schoolroom. The furniture was scant and primitive in character. The seat of royalty, occupied by the mistress, was a nail keg with a board nailed over the top, and the organ served for a desk. Miss Merrill was again employed and taught the winter school of 1871-2. The school had by this time outgrown the accommodations, and a division became necessary, and in the beginning of the winter term of 1872-3, one section of the school was held at the academy building and another section was taught by Miss Mira Lee, in a room that C. J. Niehardt had built for a drug store, and was afterward used for a schoolhouse and church. Attempts had been made to procure suitable school buildings, but all proved futile until at a meeting of those interested in school matters, on May 7, 1873, decisive action was taken, and in the fall of that year three regular school buildings were completed and schools were taught in each of them, by Miss Sophia E. Johnston, Miss McCarn and George C. Giffin, and the same buildings have since continued in use.
This institution, the nucleus of what may prove the central luminary of a large literary circle, first became established, in February, 1878, by the Red Ribbon Temperance Club. The enterprise made little advancement under the management by the club, and was on the verge of becoming extinct. In March, 1879, chiefly through the personal efforts of Dr. H. Durham, a city organization was effected under the legislative act provided in such cases. The library was placed under the charge of six trustees, appointed by the City Council, and having a president, secretary, treasurer and librarian.
After the establishment of the public library by the city the Red Ribbon Club turned over to it what books they had accumulated. Other books had been purchased with subscriptions that were made, and some had been donated to the library, and others again were gathered from various persons through the efforts and solicitations of Misses Frank Dugas, Josie Sutton and Jesse Reed. The accumulation of books up to this date is 750 volumes, among which are numerous standard works of the day, histories, works on science, etc.
During the year 1881, there were 3,000 books drawn from the library by members, most of which, as shown by the library record, were taken out to be read by young people.
The first news journal in Saline County, was the Saline County Post. This paper was started in Crete, in May, 1871, by the Rev. Charles Little, a Congregational minister, who continued to be editor and publisher until May, 1873, when it was purchased by H. M. Wells and H. W. Hoyt, under the firm name of Hoyt & Wells. This firm existed up to 1876, at which time the paper was consolidated with the Saline County News then published in Crete by J. W. Allen. The new firm was that of Wells & Allen, and the name of the paper became the Saline County Union, which it has since retained. In 1878, H. C. Merrick became a part owner of the paper, having bought out Allen's interest, and the new firm which has since continued unchanged, was that of Wells & Merrick. In 1874, one page of the paper was published in Bohemian, and the remaining three in English, which continued one year, after which the entire paper was of English publication. The politics of the journal is stalwart Republicanism; it is rigid in the promulgation of its principles, giving no quarter and asking none. The paper is a double sheet, seven column, quarto size, published every Thursday, and has a regular circulation of 1,100 copies.
The Saline County Standard is the outgrowth of a paper started in Wilber, by W. L. Chambers and T. C. McBreen, who originally brought it from Dundee, Ill., in November, 1878.
The paper was run under the name of the Wilber Record, for a time.
In 1879, it came into the hands of F. O. Mark, W. G, and E. H. Purcell, by purchase. The firm, Mark & Purcell Brothers, continued its publication at Wilber, about five months, after which they removed to Crete.
After coming to Crete, the name of the sheet was changed, becoming the Saline County Standard, which it still retains. The style of the firm is the Standard Publishing Company.
The size of the paper is an eight column folio, and it has a regular circulation of 800 copies. Politically, the paper is Republican in principle.
Saline County News.--The history of this journal is somewhat varied in its character. It was the outgrowth of a paper that had been started by E. O. Ellis, in Pleasant Hill, then the seat of government for Saline County. After running for one year it was sold, J. W. Allen becoming the purchaser, and removing it to Crete. Allen continued the publication until 1876 when it was consolidated with the Saline County Post, then published in Crete by the firm of Hoyt & Wells, forming what has since continued to be the Saline County Union.
Crete Sentinel.--J. W. Walker established a newspaper in Crete, in 1875, called the Crete Sentinel. The principles of the paper were acknowledged independence, but for prosperity's sake it was too independent, on which it fed for six languishing months and silently passed in its type. The editor of the defunct sheet has since removed to California.
Saline County Democrat.--In 1876 W. T. Meads started a paper in the city of Crete, called the Saline County Democrat. The existence of this organ was of brief duration. After one year's publication the paper blowed out and the office material was sold. H. M. Wells, of the Saline County Union, E. S. Abbott and Col. Victor Vifquin, of the State Democrat published at Lincoln, were the purchasers.
Holland Post, 75.--Organized August 30, 1881. The first officers were: M. B. Misner, C.; H. M. Wells, S. V. C.; I. M. Woolf, J. V. C.; C. R. Barragar, Q. M.; Rev. H. Bross, C.; Dr. H. Durham, S.; D. T. Drake, O. of G.; Jesse Goodin, O. of D.; B. C. Kerr, Adjutant; H. C. Merrick, S. M.; J. W. Grewell, Q. M. S. The present list of officials are: C. R. Barragar, C.; H. M. Wells, S. V. C.; I. M. Woolf, J. V. C.; J. W. Rhine, Q. M.; H. Durham, S.; Rev. H. Bross, C.; Henry Tepner, O. of G.; S. T. Corey, O. of D.; B. C. Kerr, A. The society has a membership of forty men. The meetings are held in the Odd Fellows hall.
Mount Zion Chapter, No. 17, R. A. M.--The organization of this society took place in 1876. In 1877 the organization was incorporated under the laws of the State of Nebraska with a charter membership of twenty-four. The first officers elected were: D. H. Andrews, H. P.; H. C. Rider, K.; R. L. Cornwell, S. The present officers of the society are: H. S. Fuller, H. P.; George H. Hastings, K.; Thomas McNeal, S.; Joseph Kopetzky, T.; Levi Oppenheimer, S.; J. L. Tidball, C. H.; I. T. Benjamin, P. S.; I. M. Woolf, R. A. C.; R. L. Cornwell, G. M. 3 V.; William H., Mann, G. M. 2 V.; J. Bigler, G. M. l V.; William Gaesser, S.
Saline Lodge, No. 1496, K. of H., was started in Crete in March, 1879. D. T. Drake was the first man who spoke in favor of the organization, and A. D. Root, Daniel Swarts, A. J. Barragar, S. T. Corey and James Donnelley were the ones chiefly instrumental in perfecting the plans. James Donnelley was chosen as the first Worthy Dictator of the organization. At the regular meeting of the society held December 26, 1881, the following corps of officers were duly elected: S. T. Corey, W. D; C. R. Barragar, W. V. D.; A. H. Clowpek, A. D.; H. C. Merrick, T.; H. W. W. Bell, R.; George E. Hayward, F. R.; Rev. H. Bross, C.; Frank Marsh, G.; Jacob Shimonek, Sentinel; D. T. Drake, Representative to Grand Lodge; W. H. Barstow, Alternate; C. R. Barragar, George D. Stevens, John H. Gruben, Trustees.
Masonic Lodge.--This society was first organized at Crete, under a dispensation from the Grand Lodge, on January 8, 1872, and later, in June 20th of the same year, the regular organization took place. The charter members of the lodge were: I. M. Woolf, Myron Wilsey, R. L. Cornwell, H. A. Iddings, Benjamin Corey, Charles N. Folson, Hiram C. Rider, J. W. Ruffner, John L. Tidball, Pickney F. Barr, George K. Mooney, O. W. Baltzley, Samuel Long, Jacob Bigler.
Upon the organization the following list of regular officers were duly elected: I. M. Woolf, Worshipful Master; Myron Wilsey, Senior Warden; John L. Tidball, Junior Warden; Pickney F. Barr, Treasurer; J. W. Ruffner, Secretary; T. A. McGrath, Senior Deacon; Lewis Morris, Junior Deacon. C. S. Beers, Tiler; H. A. Iddings, J. A. McKillip, Stewards.
Prior, however, to the election of regular officers and under the dispensation, I. M. Woolf had been appointed as Worshipful Master, after the first organization of the lodge, but owing to some reason, Woolf was unable to serve, and A. G. Hastings became acting Master.
The present officers are: John L. Tidball, Worshipful Master; I. T. Benjamin, Senior Warden; H. S. Fuller, Junior Deacon; Edward Healey, Secretary; William T. Buchanan, Treasurer; G. H. Hastings, Senior Deacon; Levi Oppenheimer, Junior Deacon; R. G. Tambling, Tiler; Charles E. Chowins, Arthur Conrad, Stewards.
Benjamin Corey, a member of this lodge, has belonged to the order for sixty years, having joined when a young man, twenty-four years of age, and is now past eighty-four. H. C. Rider, also a member, was Grand Lecturer for the State of Nebraska for three years. The lodge is distinguished as Lodge No. 37, and has a membership of sixty-five. The hall, in Nedlas' block, 22 x 80, is nicely carpeted and comfortably furnished, and was recently supplied with a new set of jewels.
The Crete Lodge, No. 27, I. O. O. F., was instituted May 31, 1875. The charter members were; Charles Band, E. O. Wallace, W. A. Way, I. F. Evans, E. Howard and S. T. Corey. The first officers of the lodge were: E. O. Wallace, Noble Grand; Charles Band, Vice Grand; I. E Evans, Recording Secretary; E. Howard, Treasurer; W. A. Way, I. G.
The officers elected at the last regular meeting of the lodge, held December 28, 1881, were: P. H. Beavers, Noble Grand; Joseph Kopetzky, Vice Grand; Frank Marsh, Recording Secretary; C. R. Barragar, Treasurer; W. H. Korts, I. G. The lodge has a present membership of thirty-six. The lodge room, in the Opera House block, is well fitted up and furnished very nicely, and comfortably seated with chairs. The lodge has almost a full set of emblems. The main hall measures twenty-two feet front by fifty-four feet deep, in the rear of which are the ante-room and other apartments.
C. S. P. S. Society was organized by the Bohemian residents of Crete and vicinity, January 1, 1879. The first officers were: Mathew Chada, President; W. Aksamit, Vice-President; Joseph Jindra, Secretary; John Dundi, Financial Secretary; Joseph Kopecky, Treasurer; Mathew Nemeck, P. R. O.; Joseph Belka, Guardian; Joseph Havlick, Sentinel. Representatives to the Grand Lodge: Joseph Jindra and Mathew Chada. Delegate to Supreme Lodge, Joseph Jindra. The present official members: Joseph Jindra, President; Joseph Schestak, Vice-President; Jacob Simonek, Secretary; Mathew Chada, Financial Secretary; Steve Subet, Treasurer; Wancil Aksamit, P. R. O.; Wancil Skalil, Guardian; Joseph Brabec, Sentinel; Jacob Simaneck, Delegate to Grand Lodge. The order is distinguished as Lodge, No. 32, of Nebraska, and has at present twenty-eight of a membership. The society has no lodge rooms of its own, and the assembly of the order is held in the rooms belonging to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Crete forms the focus of a vast scope of country lying along the valley of the Blue River and its head tributaries, which affords the most excellent farm lands, and upon which thick settlement has clustered. She is thus the chief mart of trade for all this large territory, extending from ten to fifteen and twenty miles around, reaching for long distances into the adjoining counties of Lancaster and Seward, on the east and north respectively. With a knowledge of these circumstances, the astonishment at beholding the numbers of teams and the throng of people which may be seen in her streets daily, is in a measure removed. To the stranger, who looks in upon the busy community, there is somewhat of a feeling of amazement, anticipating little and beholding much. Along the business streets are massive brick blocks two and three stories high and of the most tasteful and showy architecture. The store-rooms are large, neat and filled with heavy stocks of goods of the best quality. The merchants of Crete are among the merchant princes of the West; genial, generous and accommodating, fair in dealing, honest in trade. Herein are the great secrets of the business prosperity of the vigorous city. An extensive trade must be supplied, and in doing this the merchants find no time to sleep behind the counter, nor the flying spindles of the manufactory to cease their humming.
Crete contains nearly fifty stores engaged in the retail sale of goods with stocks ranging in value; the largest reaching as high as $20,000. She has three large lumber yards, one extensive coal yard and sixteen manufacturing establishments. It is computed that the total capital invested in the business interests of Crete aggregates $600,000. During the past year there was expended in the erection of business houses alone nearly $55,000, and with the entire improvement of placing machinery in mills, etc., it is increased to more than $125,000.
She has two large banks doing a prosperous business with a united capital of $225,000, and has also three grain elevators taking in, and shipping thousands of bushels of grain annully.
The State Bank of Nebraska was organized and located in Crete in 1872. The original incorporators were Col. Doane, John Fitzgerald and John R. Clark. This was the first bank organized in Saline County. When first incorporated, the institution had a capital stock of $100,000, with a cash capital paid up of $20,000. Up to 1879, the capital stock was $175,000 and had a paid up cash capital of $35,000. A new brick banking house was built recently, at a cost including fixtures of $10,235. The present official management of the bank is in the hands of F. I. Foss, president; George D. Stevens, cashier; and C. A. Caldwell, assistant cashier.
[FIRST NATIONAL BANK--FORMERLY CITIZEN'S BANK.]
Citizen's Bank.---A banking company composed of John L. Tidball and Walter Scott, since deceased, was organized in 1879. In 1881, the company was composed of John L. Tidball, Horace Fuller and John P. Clarey, by whom the institution was incorporated at that date, under the corporate name of the Citizen's Bank. John L. Tidball was chosen president, and John P. Clarey cashier. The bank has a capital stock of $50,000 and a cash capital paid up of $30,000. A building, specially for banking purposes, was recently erected by John Lanham, in which is constructed a fire-proof vault, containing a burglar proof safe, secured by a Yale chronometer lock. The cost of the building was $7,000.
As a site for manufacturing of a certain class, Crete, if she may have an equal, has, certainly, no superior. Situated as she is, upon the margin of the Blue River, which affords an inexhaustible supply of water, sufficient for propelling power of almost any number of factories, her prospects to become a flourishing manufacturing city are both possible and probable.
Right here, in abundance, is the propelling power, and in the immediate vicinity are grown the flax seed, the straw, the wool, the corn, the oats; and here are produced the beef, pork, mutton and hides; all the raw material necessary to supply oil mills, paper mills, woolen mills, canning factories, mills for the manufacture of starch, sugar, syrups, etc., broom factories, packing houses, tanneries, boot and shoe factories, etc., etc. Here, too, are diverging lines of railroad, affording ample and convenient outlet for the shipment of goods. That Crete, with these advantages, will yet become a manufacturing city, is but inevitable destiny.
The progress she has already made in the brief period of her existence, is but the great indicator pointing to this end. Among the manufactories are the Crete Mills. These were started in 1870, by G. W. Bridges and O. W. Baltzley, from which, as related elsewhere, they turned out the first grist on the 4th of July, 1871. The building was a frame, twenty-eight feet wide and forty-one feet long, two stories high. This building, to which additions had been made at different times, continued in use for a little over nine years, and, in May, 1880, was destroyed by fire. The old firm of Bridges & Baltzley had been dissolved and a new firm organized, in which D. Johnston succeeded to the place of Baltzley, and the firm became Bridges & Johnston. Directly after the burning of the old mill, work began upon the erection of a new one, which was completed on December 15, 1881. The new mill is substantially built of brick upon a solid stone basement, resting upon a concrete foundation of cement and cobbles two and one-half feet thick and three feet wide. The walls of the main building are twenty-two inches thick for the first two stories and for the others eighteen inches, with two by four timbers bolted in sections and firmly imbedded in the brick wall. The basement story is thirteen feet high. In lateral dimensions the building is 40 x 70 feet sixty-four feet high and includes five stories with basement and attic. The mill is thoroughly fitted out with the most improved machinery. The patent Jonathan Mills reduction system is used, of which there are five machines, and four run of the old-fashioned stone buhrs. There are also five sets of stout Mills & Temple steel rolls, both plain and corrugated.
To furnish cool air for the reduction machines, a Sturtevant blast is used, having a speed of 2,300 revolutions per minute. This is by far the largest and most complete flouring mill in the State of Nebraska, having a capacity for turning out nearly 300 barrels of flour daily, and erected at a cost, when fully completed, of $50,000. The source of water power is taken from the Blue River, and is propelled by a fifty-four-inch American Turbine water wheel, of 140 horse-power. The water is admitted through a head gate, 18x30 feet, and fourteen feet deep, into a flume 18x50 feet and twenty-one feet deep, all built of solid stone masonry.
The pressure of the water upon the wheel is calculated to be 240,000 pounds. The power is communicated to the mill works by a shaft 110 feet long and five and a half inches in diameter, turned by a spur wheel on the shaft of the water wheel, eight feet in diameter. The plans and architecture were made by Jonathan Mills of Chicago, the inventor of the gradual reduction process. Mr. Burns superintended the millwright work and the placing of all the machinery, in which he was assisted by J. O. Moffitt, J. M. Lemon, Lewis Pfaff, J. Sehrt, F. W. Cowles, J. V. Norton, J. M. Besere, George Thorpe, D. Johnston, E. J. Weaver, C. F. Kendall and G. Nokes, millwrights. John Lanham had the contract for building the flume, but the rest of the work was done under the supervision of the owners themselves. About sixty men were employed upon the construction, and the amount of material required was 327,000 brick, 200,000 feet of lumber, 76 car loads of stone, and 5,600 feet of iron roofing.
Seeley Mills--Another flouring mill is in process of construction, by Charles Seeley. The building is a substantial frame, thirty-eight by forty-eight feet in size, and is sixty feet high from basement, with a mansard roof and dormer windows, and has five stories including the mansard and basement stories. The building is now in shape for the introduction of machinery, which is being purchased. It is the design of the proprietor to have the establishment completed and in operation by May 1, 1881, at a reckoned cost of $30,000. For grinding purposes, there are to be seven run of stone buhrs and four sets of steel rolls, with a united capacity for turning out 200 barrels of flour per day. In connection with the mill there will also be a barley huller and hominy mill. The mill site lies immediately upon the edge of Blue River, from which the propelling power is to be derived, and upward on the river from Bridges & Johnston's mill, a distance of about half a mile. The proprietor has also in contemplation the establishing of a paper mill upon the site and adjoining his flouring mill.
Crete Foundry.--This establishment, located on West Thirteenth street, was started in 1877, by V. Prochaska. All sorts of castings and foundry work generally, are here made. The value of the machinery and building used is estimated at $1,000.
Crete Soap Works.--The works situated on the bank of Blue River, in the west part of the city of Crete form a thriving industry in the manufacture of soaps. The business has been in operation about two years, and the establishment is doing a good business. During the period of one year, from July 1, 1880 to July 1, 1881, there were produced 20,000 pounds of soap.
Pop Factory and Bottling Works.--August Segelke is the proprietor of this institution, located on Eleventh street. During the past year he manufactured 126,960 bottles of soda water, 12,245 gallons of bottled cider, 22,104 quarts of lager beer, 1,124 dozen bottles of birch beer and 700 gallons of cider vinegar.
The growth of the establishment has been rapid and successful and, from present indications, promises to prove one of Crete's most important industries.
Harness Shop.--Anthony Chloupek began the manufacture of harness in the city of Crete in November, 1880, and carries a stock valued at $730.
Machine Shop.--O. G. Thayer established a machine shop, foundry and gun shop in the city, in the fall of 1879 on West Thirteenth street, near the railroad. The entire valuation of his works is $7,000. Of this $5,000 is the value of machinery, tools, etc., and the balance, $2,000, includes the value of grounds and buildings.
Brick Yard.--Mr. Chowins started a brick yard in the spring of 1880 from which in the past year he turned out 700,000 brick.
Lanham's Brick Yard.--A brick yard, owned by John Lanham, was started in 1872 on the bank of Blue River, south of West Thirteenth street. Mr. Lanham began in this enterprise without a dollar in capital, and by his untiring energy and push he has built up a large and lucrative business. In 1881 he made 2,300,000 brick, from which he furnished the brick for seven buildings in Crete, a bank building in Wilber, one in Friend, built round houses at Lincoln, Hastings and Wymore, and also a large gas tank at Lincoln. By such men large and thrifty cities are built and Crete can proudly boast of just such make up, a marked evidence of the future greatness of the city.
Plow Works.--Doede Smith is the proprietor of the Crete Plow Works and is also an implement dealer. He began business in 1874 and has on hand a stock valued at $5,000. The amount of capital invested in grounds and buildings is estimated at $2,000, making the total capital invested $7,000.
Cigar Factories.--In 1876 H. Cohn established a cigar factory in Crete, locating his factory on the east side of Main Avenue between Thirteenth and Fourteenth streets. The average value of stock the year round is $3,000, value of lot and building, a frame structure, is about $900, making a total investment of $3,900. The work gives constant employment to six hands.
The firm of O. Hettler & Co., are also engaged in manufacturing cigars. They began business in Crete in June, 1881, and employ a force of three men. The entire value of capital in stock, building and lot is $1,600, of which $800 includes the value of stock on hand and the remainder represents the investment in the real estate.
Western Brewery.--A brewing establishment for the manufacture of beer was started in 1871 by John H. Kersenbrock. The institution has grown quite prosperously and since starting has received liberal enlargements. The product for the year 1881, was 75,000 kegs, or seventy-five car loads of beer, and the brewery has a capacity for still greater production. The capital invested is $10,000.
S. F. Steidl began the manufacture of harness in Crete in 1874. He also deals in harness and saddles and keeps a large stock constantly on hand valued at about $l,500. The total investment is $3,000.
Doede Smith, James Gallagher, William Purdy, W. Wilber and Jacob Shimonik manufacture wagons, buggies, carriages, etc.
Blue Valley Creamery.--Was started July, 1881, by W. W. Tatro. Since starting he has gathered 13,000 inches of cream and made 152 tubs or 6,000 pounds of butter.
Crete Wind Mill Manufactory.--J. L. Moore and C. R. Barragar began the manufacture of wind mills in Crete in 1874. The company has the exclusive right in this section for making and selling the Raymond and Monitor wind mills. These mills, which are acknowledged to be among the leading mills made, have what is known as the open wheel, are less liable to get out of order, run steady and are less affected by high winds than most other makes. They manufacture sizes varying from a ten to a twenty-five foot wheel. These mills are largely used by railroad companies, farmers and stockmen. The company employ agents in various parts of the State in their sale.
[BAND'S OPERA HOUSE.]
Though young in years the new city yet numbered many among her population that were lovers of the finer intellectual arts of music and the drama. The lack of a hall suitable for such entertainments was keenly felt by the more cultured residents. But they were destined not to suffer long, for the want was supplied by the erection of a large business block by Dr. Charles Band, in 1876, in which was also included a large opera hall. This, besides being the first opera house was also the first brick building erected in Crete, costing $20,000. The opera hall is 44x100 feet and has a capacity for seating 800 persons. The hall is fitted out with a large stage and scenery, suitable for the presentation of any ordinary drama. On the whole the building and hall are such of which the citizens are justly proud and are among the best in the State outside of the largest cities, as Omaha and Lincoln.