Downtown North Platte Historic Walking Tour
In 2010 the North Platte Historical Preservation Commission published a self-guided walking tour of the downtown area of North Platte. Fast forward to 2020, and the U.S. National Park Service has approved the listing of the “North Platte Commercial Historic District” on the National Register of Historic Places. Now known as the North Platte Canteen District, North Platte’s downtown has been revitalized into a shopping, arts and entertainment hub.
Below is the walking tour that encompasses the portion of the historic district from Front Street on the north to Fourth Street on the south and Jeffers Street on the west and Bailey Street on the east.
- Service Station – 520 North Jeffers Street
Current Occupant: The Switchyard Pub and Grill
This old mission style building (red tile rood and wide eaves) and the North Platte Rubber Company were purchased by Arthur Salisbury and Oscar Ray Robinson and the business opened its doors on May 25, 1919 as the R and S Service Station.
In July, 1921, a second building was built that connected to original structure. The Vesta Battery Station then moved in to the new addition from their previous room on the north side of the building.
In the summer of 1980, the building was purchased and a major remodeling project was undertaken. The entire front of the building was enclosed and the interior was renovated in to a restaurant and lounge called PB Maxwell’s. Included in the revamp were two walls beautifully decorated with wood inlayed murals. Step inside and you can admire them for yourself.
- Morsch / Klenk Building – 506-508 North Jeffers Street
Current Occupants: Cinda’s Accents, Oriental American House of Foods
Built in 1915 for $25,000 ($644,131 in 2020), the building measures 28×90 feet and includes a basement. On April 13, 1916 it became the North Platte General Hospital.
- 1913 Federal Building – 416 North Jeffers Street
Current Occupant: Prairie Arts Center
In 1908 Congress appropriated $110,000 ($3,111,434 in 2020) for the establishment of a Federal Building in North Platte. Accordingly, the United States Government purchased the Woodhurst lot for $9,000 ($254,572 in 2020) in November of 1908. Construction began on May 13, 1911 and was completed on July 26, 1913. The cost to construct the building was $88,475($2,502,583 in 2020). It is an example of the Renaissance Revival architectural style. Major character defining features included wide overhanging eaves supported by brackets, clay tile roofing and impressive second story pilasters.
In June of 1964 a new Federal Building was completed and this one was turned over to the North Platte Junior College. On Tuesday, August 30, 1965 it became the North Platte College with 215 students enrolled. In 2001, the building was donated to the City of North Platte. In 2009, the Creative Unlimited Arts Council purchased the building from the city of North Platte for $250,000 to use as an art center for the community. It was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 4, 2009.
- Carnegie Library – 314 North Jeffers Street
Current Occupant: North Platte Area Children’s Museum
On April 8, 1910 a letter was received by Mayor Patterson stating, “If the city agrees by resolution of the council to maintain a free public library at a cost of not less than $1,2000 ($32,871 in 2020) a year, and provides a suitable site for the building, Mr. Carnegie will be glad to give $12,000 ($328,710) to erect a free public library building for North Platte.” At the next council meeting, a Library Board of Directors was established to oversee the building of the library.
On May 13, 1910 the Knights of Columbus offered the lots to the town of North Platte for $3,000 ($82,178). The land was eventually purchased with pledges of $2,070 ($56,703). The project was awarded to Howard McMichael in August of 1911. The Building contract was $8,676 ($237,657). On April 10, 1912 it opened to the public. Restrooms were added to the building in 1925 and in 1940 an addition was put on the west side.
- Mutual & Loan Building – 100-102 East 5th Street
Current Occupant: Laughing Buda Tattoo
The lot on the corner of 5th and Jeffers Street, measuring 54 X 132 feet, was sold to the Mutual Building and Loan in July of 1913. The plans were to build a 2-story structure with a 40 x 80-foot basement. As a part of the construction 3 vaults were installed. The largest one was located on the ground floor and 2 smaller ones were located on the second floor right above the large one. The building was fire proof and several suites were finished in fir and oak. Slate stairways lead to the second floor and basement. The telephone wiring was placed in grooves in the molding at the top of the wall to be kept out of site, and the front and back of the building included entrances to both floors, on June 16, 1914 the Mutual and loan board of directors accepted the new building.
- Brodbeck Building – 104-106 East 5th Street
Current Occupant: Prodigy Studios
Christian Brodbeck signed a contract on February 5, 1916 to build a two-story building to house the Christian Brodbeck & Sons Meat Market on the first floor. The second floor was occupied by offices the building cost $10,000 ($238,742 in 2020) and measured 128 X 22 feet. In 1922, The Brodbeck’s expanded their business to included groceries. Interestingly, in 1923 the city directory showed the Glendale Room, one of North Platte’s many brothels as the occupant of the second floor. In 1938, the building was remodeled for a cost of $800 ($14,765). Finally, the Brodbeck Meat Market closed its door after 78 years of continuous operation in 1970.
- Twinem Building – 108-110 East 5th Street
Current Occupant: Once More with Style
Dr. J. S Twinem advertised in the North Platte Telegraph on November 28, 1916 that he was erecting a 2-story building 44 X 132 feet on his vacant lots just east of the Brodbeck Building on 5th Street. On February 24, 1917 a Party-Wall agreement was signed between John Twinem and Christian Brodbeck, whose building was just west of the new Twinem Building, this allowed for a common wall to be built with the cost split between the two owners. O.E. Fitzgerald & Son was contracted to build the structure which consisted of a store front made of pressed brick, a heating plant, and a second-floor office space that included Dr. Twinem’s office.
- Kunkel Supply Building – 505-507 North Jeffers
Current Occupant: Whitetail Screenprint and Cycle Sport
Kunkel Auto Supply was organized in 1926 by John Kunkel. In May 1930 Kunkel bought a lot and started plans for construction of a new building which was completed on November 28, 1933. The architect, C.C. Coursety, designed the brick modernistic 1-story building. It measures 44 X 120 feet and cost $15,000 ($300,264). In March, 1937 a second-story was added for storage space and a sales room. The construction cost for the second floor was $11,000 ($198,786) and included a large freight elevator, when Jon Kunkel retired in 1962, his sons Donald and Ernest continued the business until 1994 when they retired. In 1996, both sons passed away one month apart.
- Dickey Building – 520-522 North Dewey Street
Current Occupant: Double Dips Ice Creamery, Willow Creek Embroidery
The Dickey Building was built in 1889 by Joseph Schatz and the North Platte National Bank. The building was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style popular in the late 1800’s. It sported 3 chimneys and the second-floor offices were divided by a long hallway lit by three skylights. Large arches over the doorways, large stone block with contrasting red brick, carved columns, and 3 domed silver turrets combined to make this building a true historic treasure and one of a kind for the city of North Platte.
The North Platte National Bank was closed by 1895 and Charles McDonald purchased the property and moved his McDonald State Bank into the building on February 22, 1902. It remained the McDonald State Bank until 1928. At that time, there were four doctor offices and a beauty shop on the upper floors.
In 1928, the building was sold to RR Dickey. He spent $7,000 ($106,526) remodeling, which included using most of the brick from the large chimneys and boiler rooms to build a new rear addition. The furnace was also moved to the basement as part of the remodel.
An interesting feature not commonly known about this building is the front corner column was removed and relocated to Cody Park where is currently serves as a water fountain.
- The Dixon Building – 514-518 North Dewey Street
Current Occupant: Refined Boutique, Golden Creations, Toxic Beauty
In 1886, Harry Dixon began his career as a jeweler and optician in North Platte at 518 N Dewey Street. In 1899, he established the Dixon Optical Company, in 1920 Dixon moved the optical side of the business to 516 North Dewey Street. A major remodeling of both stores was done in 1924, and in December of that year there was a large grand opening to celebrate the new, updated modern stores. A major feature of the Dixon Building that many older North Platte residents remember is the large jeweler’s clock that stood out in front of the building for many years.
- Reynolds/ Tramp Building – 508-510 North Dewey Street
Current Occupant: The Flower Market
In 1915, W.C Reynolds awarded the contract for his building to Howard McMichael. Reynolds owned the building until 1920, when E.T Tramp purchased it for his shoe store. In 1927, Tramp upgraded the west side of the second floor to be used for offices, which he leased to Hoagland, Carr & Beck Law Firm.
- I.O.O.F. Hall – 420-422 North Dewey Street
Current Occupant: Re/Max
In April of 1881, it was reported the Odd Fellows would be constructing their new building. D.W. Thompson was awarded the contract to build it and the corner stone was laid on April 26, 1881. The two-story structure is brick measuring 24 X 100 feet. The second floor was used primarily for the lodge and is still in the condition it was when it was the lodge headquarters, with the benches along the sides of the walls and the small podium where the lodge leader sat in his chair.
Re/Max currently resides at this address and is pleased to have their old building be included in the tour, but abstains from giving tours inside their building.
- W.H. McDonald/ C.I. Belton Building 418 North Dewey Street
Current Occupant: The Vault Escape Games of Nebraska
In 1916, when construction on the Brodbeck Building (104-106 East 5th Street) started, plans were made for the demolition of the existing building Brodbeck’s occupied. In its place Miss C.I. Belton and W.H McDonald built a structure, measuring 128 X22 feet. The plans called for a 2-story pressed brick building with terra cotta trim. The architect of choice was B.M. Reynolds and construction started on July 1, 1916. The first-floor design included a beamed ceiling with a terrazzo floor. The balcony has a mezzanine floor with a kitchen underneath. The North Platte Candy Kitchen was located on the first floor, an ice cream factory in the basement, and offices occupied the second floor. Construction was completed on September 1, 1916.
- Keith Theater – 412-414 North Dewey Street
Current Occupants: Excel Screen Print, Pro Printing
The Keith Theater was built in 1908 as a wedding present to Mary Virginia Neill from her husband Keith Neville. The Theater opened on September 23, 1908. It sported an asbestos curtain; full equipment drops and scenery. The furniture was considered “tasty, artistic, and serviceable.” It opened with 650 seats, a fire escape and numerous exits, and was considered to be completely fireproof. Elaborate stained glass skylights, once part of the building, were removed and now decorate the second floor of the Prairie Arts Center. In 1920, the building was painted and partially remodeled and the first “talking picture” was shown on December 26, 1927. However, by 1932, the theater had closed its doors.
- Knights of Columbus – 408-410 North Dewey Street
Current occupant: Just Right Boutique
In October of 1915, the Catholic Church announced plans to build a Knights of Columbus lodge north of the Hotel McCabe building. By August 23, 1917, the plans, developed by architect Beck, were completed and the estimated cost was $32,000($650, 573). McMichael Brothers was awarded the contract for construction on September 6, 1917 for $30,300 ($616,011). The 3-story building measured 44 X 126 feet. The first floor was designed for retail businesses, the second for offices and the third for lodge rooms. The dedication of the building was held Sunday, March 10, 1918 and 99 members were initiated into the organization.
- Hotel McCabe – 404-406 North Dewey Street
Current Occupant: Good Life on the Bricks, Apartments
Dr. McCabe build his hotel right North of the McCabe Building in 1915. The estimated cost was $30,000 ($772,957) and the contract was given to Howard & Jim McMichael of North Platte. The second floor had 50 guest rooms, of which 28 were equipped with baths. The Lobby was built on the north half of the first floor and the Nyal Drug store occupied the south half. The dining room took up the entire rear of the building from north to south and the Kitchen was located in the extreme rear of the hotel. It opened to the public on March 23, 1916 at a final cost of $55,000 ($1,417,089). A unique feature in that era was the central vacuum system which allowed a vacuum hose to be plugged into each room for cleaning, which sent the waste to a room in the basement. In 1917, Dr. McCabe began plans to enlarge his hotel by adding a third floor and remodeling the second floor. In January of 1918 construction began. Architect Victor Beck drew up the plans. He went to Omaha to make sure that there would be enough of the matching supplies to use so that the building had a uniform pattern and color in appearance to the original building. Sunderland Bros. Co. of Omaha, furnished the material. The third floor added another 100 rooms, all complete with a shower bath and toilet. All floors were covered with the new noiseless, waterproof, acidproof, and fireproof “Rezelite.” A large elevator was constructed at the rear of the hotel for handling guests’ trunks.
- McCabe Building – 400-402 North Dewey Street
Current Occupant: Good Life on the Bricks
Looking north on the corner of 4th & Dewey Streets on the west side of the street you will see the progression of buildings starting with the McCabe building. Dr. Nicholas McCabe laid the corner stone of this building in 1913. The west half of the lower floor was used by Hendy & Ogier for their Ford Garage. The east half was divided into three store fronts. The building was 44 X 126 feet with a pressed brick front and heated rooms. B.M. Reynolds was the architect and the contractor was J.M Gray. The building, complete with concrete floors was considered almost completely fire proof.
- Elks Building – 401-409 North Dewey Street
Current Occupant: Hirschfeld’s
The North Platte No. 985, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks purchased the corner lot on Dewey Street and 4th Street on May 28, 1910 from the Presbyterian Church for $3,000 ($82,178) . The lot measured 66 X 132 feet. On September 2, 1910 bonds were approved and issued for $15,000 ($410,888) for the construction. Architect Carl Schaffer was employed to draw the plans and contract was awarded to R.P. Basta on June 4, 1910. Active building began on July 1, 1910. The building was three-stories, 66 X 66 feet when originally built in 1910. It was made of cherry-red pressed brick with Bedford stone trimmings in the Romanesque style. The Main Entrance for the second and third floor was located on the 4th Street side of the building. Both floors were used exclusively for club purposes. They were furnished elaborately with leather furniture made of Mahogany wood and several other types of wood were used on both floors including Oak, Georgia Pine, Flemish Oak and Maple. In May of 1917, McMichael Brothers was awarded a contract for a 3 – story addition to the building going north. The measurements would be 44 X 80 feet using the same style and brick as the original building the final cost was estimated at $12,000 ($243,965). If you stand across the street today and look up at the building you see 10 larger windows across the front of the building. It originally had only 6 until the addition brought the total to 10.
- Morsch Building – 411 N Dewey Street
Current Occupant: River Valley Gun Gallery
Built in 1912 by Huntington & Howard for Joseph Morsch, the two-story building is 44 X 80 feet with a pressed brick front. It was originally occupied by the Doolittle Bakery.
- Howe/ Maloney Building – 413-415 North Dewey Street
Current Occupant: CR Rustic
The plans for the Howe/ Maloney building were drawn up in March of 1913 by architect B.M. Reynolds. The building was completed, but Howe passed away in 1914. In 1918 Maloney built a larger building around the Corner at 214 E 5th Street and sold this building to the McDonald family. The McDonald’s leased the building to the F.W. Woolworth Company. Two years later, when Mr. Maloney extended his new store on 5th street, the two buildings were connected by a party wall agreement this came in handy for Woolworth’s when Maloney built another building in 1938. He leased the 5th Street store to Woolworth’s and tore down the common wall, giving them and L shaped store with openings on both Dewey Street and 5th street. In 1936 a second floor was added to the building, the cost was $15,000 ($280,823). Sadly, in 1990 Woolworths closed the store and lunch counter that had been a prominent establishment for 52 years.
- The Masonic Temple Building – 417-23 North Dewey Street
Current Occupant: Espresso Shop, Jazzercise
The Platte Valley Lodge No. 32 of the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons began as a room above Charles McDonald’s store in Cottonwood Springs near Fort McPherson (near the town of Maxwell, NE) The room measured 24 X 24 feet and only 5 members attended the first meeting on November 15, 1869. Having trouble with a commander stationed at Fort McPherson who punished soldiers wanting to join, they decided to move the lodge away from the fort. In 1872 they built a two-story frame building on the corner of Dewey & 5th Street. The cost of the building was $2,600 ($55,459), raised by each Mason selling a share for $50 ($1,067). The lodges soon saw the need for a more permanent and larger building. Plans started coming together in January, 1900. However, the second temple was not begun until 1907 and was completed on February 22, 1908 at the same location. In 1929 there was a need for more space so in February 1930 a 3rd Floor was added, along with 2 elevators; one for freight and one for passengers. The 2nd floor remains mostly in its original state. The temple area has seats on risers along the north and south walls. Only the Grand Master’s chair at the head of the temple is missing. The banquet hall and stage area are in excellent condition with shiny wood floors. The windows have since been replaced on the main floor and the lower level of the building has been altered several times.
- Maloney Building – 214 East 5th Street
Current Occupant: Wilkinson Companies
In 1918 William Maloney, who had been in business with C.A. Howe at 413 – 415 North Dewey Street until the latter’s death in 1914, saw the need for a larger store to expand his business. He purchased a lot at 214 East 5th Street measuring 44 X 132 feet and constructed the major part of the building you see today. It consisted of 2 stories and an elevator. Both levels have metal ceilings and hardwood floors. The windows on the second floor indicate the location of a chapel and helped display his casket selection. (Maloney was a funeral director, as well as a business man.) He eventually sold the Dewey Street building to the McDonald family who leased it to the F.W. Woolworth Company. 2 years later, Maloney added another 22 feet to the west side of the building, connecting it to the Masonic Building at 417 -423 North Dewey Street and his old building on Dewey Street. There was a common wall agreement signed between Maloney and McDonald to connect their two buildings. In 1938 Maloney constructed another building on South Dewey Street and leased his former on to the F.W. Woolworth Store, allowing both the 214 East 5th Street and the 413-415 North Dewey Street building to become one store. Today that connection no longer exists and the building has been remodeled.
- Paramount Building – 220-224 East 5th Street
In 1931, Keith Neville opened the Paramount Theater. The corner of 5th Street and Bailey Street could really be called the Neville Corner because in 1929 he opened the Hotel Yancy (Pawnee Hotel) to the north and the Fox Theater across the street. The Paramount Theater was built in the Art Deco Style with a stepped-up parapet above the main entrance and brick and limestone to create an interesting façade. The Grand Opening was held on Sunday, April 5, 1931. A major draw for the theater was the Barton Organ which was installed in the orchestra pit. The organ was entirely electric with thousands of organ pipes of various sizes. New seats were added to the lower floor and lower balcony in 1954. In April 1956, the theater went through a major renovation costing $50,000 ($478,362). There were 290 seats added to the upper balcony. Also added were new carpet, new birch front doors, and new lounges for the men and women on both floors. The wall murals were cleaned and retouched and new draperies and a snack bar were added. Stage curtains were also added during the renovation. The theater was updated with new cinemascope and stereophonic sound systems. Unfortunately, the life of the Paramount was short lived and the curtain fell for the last time on February 6, 1963.
- Hendy-Ogier Building – 207-221 East 4th Street
Current Occupant: Bruce Furniture
In July 1917, the Hendy-Ogier Auto Company bought a lot measuring 66 X 123 feet east of the Elks Building, with intentions of putting up a two-story building. This was an excellent location as the Lincoln Highway passed right in front of their lot. They also took out an option for an additional 44 feet to the east. The construction cost totaled $11,000 ($223,634). In 1925, the east side of the building was constructed by Raymond Ogier to match the older two-story building of canary brick. The second floor of this addition was a 44 X 66 feet machine shop. In October of 1929, Beck remodeled and added to the building a total floor space of 70,000 square feet which included a warehouse and parking space on the roof. Sometime after 1929 a wall was put up and the east sided became a Pontiac Dealership while the west side remained a Ford Dealership. In 1961 the building became O’Connor Five and Dime store. The ramp used to drive cars up to the 2nd floor was left intact and became a favorite with the kids as the toys were on the 2nd floor.
- Wilcox/ Hinman Service Station Building – 301 East 4th Street
Current Occupant: Sherwin-Williams
In 1928, Allison Wilcox announced his plans to build a four-story hotel with 120 rooms. Over the next 2 years plans changed and on April 22, 1930 Wilcox had the grand opening of his new Wilcox Garage building. The L-shaped brick and steel structure was modeled after the latest in garage convenience and could store 150 cars. Not only was the building used as a storage facility for cars, but it was also home to the Schierbrock Motor Co. dealership for Willys-Overland cars and the Hinman Service Station run by York Hinman Jr.
- Higgins Chevrolet Building – 317 East 4th Street
Current Occupant: Hot Tub Pros
Work began on this building in August of 1928 with plans for a 66 X 132 foot garage. It was built by owner William Hupfer. A 10-year lease was signed by Higgins Chevrolet Company as the first occupants of the building.
- Fox Theater – 301-305 East 5th Street
Current Occupant: North Platte Community Playhouse
In 1928 a McCook, Nebraska owned company entered contract with North Platte Realty Company, owned by Keith Neville and Alex Beck of Omaha, to build a theater on the corner of Pine (now Bailey) and 5th Street. The Building was designed by F. A. Henniger of Omaha and was built in the “Picture Palace” Style. The theater opened on November 22, 1929 with seating for 1,100. The interior of the building was designed in the Renaissance style with elaborate decorations. The number of seats was reduced to 900 in 1956 during a $50,000 ($478,362) remodeling project to provide more leg room. The sides of the interior are lined with finely woven fabric panels and columns with gold cornices embossed with intricate plaster patterns. Atop the columns are plaster gargoyles of various designs. The exterior of the building is richly accented with terra cotta moldings, bas relief, and sculptor and geometric patterns. The original terra cotta is tinted in mellow shades of lavender, green and coral. The moldings are interlaced with floral and vine patterns and accented by silent faces. In 1963 the Fox was “revamped” and reopened as a movie theater. Shortly after closing the theater in December, 1980, the Neville sisters, daughters of Keith and Mary Neville, gave the theater to the North Platte Community Playhouse for use as the Neville Center for the Performing Arts. A major remodeling project was undertaken costing $250,000 ($789,530). The building re-opened December 9, 1983 and was named as the recipient of the 1983 Governor’s Arts Award. During the remodel, a fire curtain was found in the fly loft and was put back into use as the grand stage curtain. It is painted with a classic western scene. The Fox Theater is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Hotel Pawnee (Hotel Yancey) – 221 West 5th Street
Currently owned and being renovated by Jay Mitchell
Hotel Yancey was built by Keith Neville and Clarence Beck in 1929. It was described as having 13 rooms with bath, and was Georgian architecture. The cost, including land and furnishings, was reported to be $500,000 ($7,609,035). Over 200 guests attended the grand opening dinner on October 16, 1929. The name of the hotel was changed to Hotel Pawnee sometime between 1932 and 1934. The hotel continued to operate successful for many years with the Crystal Ballroom boasting a beautiful crystal chandelier. Several small shops came and went over the years next to the lobby of the hotel. The Neville family eventually sold the hotel in 1970. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
- Hinman Building – 505 North Dewey Street
Current Occupant: The Cedar Room
The Hinman family has a long history of settling in the plains area. Mr. Hinman was an attorney as well as a rancher and realtor. Not much is known about the building except that it was built around 1921.
- Hahler Building – 511 North Dewey Street
Current Occupant: Discount Vac and Sew
Built prior to 1927, the Hahler building was home to Clinton & Son and Twidale. The upstairs was completely remodeled along with the exterior stairs to the alley. The entire upper level was re-designed for a clinic to be operated by Dr. F.J. Wurtelle. The second floor had a large reception area with natural lighting staff offices, x-ray and developer rooms, library, consulting rooms and operating rooms. Dr. L.A. Snavely also operated a general dental practice in the building. The upper façade of the building still retains its original condition, while the street level has been changed several times.
- Lincoln County Court House
Construction of the second Lincoln County Courthouse started inconspicuously enough in 1912 with the driving of 150, 16-foot cedar wood pilings pulled from the South Platte River bridge to support the foundation of the building. However, the project began running above the bond issue with costs completely out of control. The problem was so severe that work was halted on January 27, 1923. The voters had demanded an audit of the books. So, on April 30, 1923 at 1:00am, the day auditors were to begin their work, with the new courthouse still sitting unfinished, a fire broke out in the old courthouse. After an investigation, arrest, and convictions of the persons involved, it took Lincoln County another 10 years to completely finish the new court house. The building was designed by George Berlingh of Lincoln, in the Beaux Arts Style. The final architects on the project were McMichael brothers. An addition was added to the east side in the 1960’s. The building was put on the National Register of Historic Buildings on January 10, 1990.