We're all familiar with Omaha Steaks and Berkshire Hathaway as leading Nebraska businesses, but here are some more that deserve to be on the list.
This article is taken from "Nebraska: 150 Years Told Through 93 Counties," a World-Herald book by staff writer David Hendee. Copies are available at the World-Herald store and at booksellers around Omaha.
IMAGINED IN ST. PAUL
Dorothy Lynch Home Style Dressing — the sweet-and-tangy, orange salad dressing with a signature flavor associated with Nebraska by Dorothy enthusiasts — was invented by a woman named Dorothy Lynch when she and her husband ran the Legion Club in St. Paul, Nebraska. Tasty Toppings of Columbus bought the brand in 1964. The dressing is bottled in nearby Duncan. The company and the product celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2014.
KINGS OF CARDS
Adam and Nannie Bozarth Hall homesteaded southeast of Brainard in 1870. Their three grandsons, Joyce, Rollie and William Hall, above, pooled their money and opened the Norfolk (Nebraska) Post Card Co. in about 1907. Three years later, they started selling greeting cards in Kansas City under the Hall Brothers label, which later became the Hallmark Co.
A MEANS TO GROW
Neligh Mill, built from locally fired brick in 1873 by John D. Neligh, was the first business in the newly platted town of Neligh. Popular brands produced included Neligh Patent Flour, So-Lite Flour and Crescent brand feeds. A good mill was a major factor in the growth of Nebraska communities during the 1870s and 1880s. Mills turned locally grown grain into flour, reducing expensive long-distance shipping. Mills with an ample water supply and situated on main rail lines were able to produce quantities in excess of local needs and sometimes received lucrative contracts with the Army and Indian Bureau or for overseas export. The Neligh Mill’s original 1880s equipment is still in place.
U.S. CAPITOL IN NEBRASKA?
Moses H. Sydenham was a Buffalo County pioneer who founded a newspaper in Kearney and used it to promote his idea to make Kearney the capital of the United States.
Kearney Cotton Mill was the largest manufacturing plant in Nebraska when it opened in 1892. Raw cotton came from the South by barge and railroad. At peak efficiency, the mill employed about 450 workers and produced 26,000 yards of muslin daily, with some of it shipped to Asia. The plant never operated at a profit and closed in 1901.
BANK ON IT
Banking came to Belden when Fred Kimball, a bank clerk from Coleridge, arrived on horseback with a gunnysack of money on his saddle horn. He set up a “banking shop’’ in front of the combination post office, drugstore and general store.
PICK UP A RENTAL
Located in a former horse stable, Ford Livery Co. at 1314 Howard St., was America’s first car rental company, dreamed up by Joe Saunders in 1916. Saunder’s Drive It Yourself System expanded to 56 cities by 1926. Saunders and his partner brothers sold to Avis in 1955.
AN EARLY START
Ponca is one of Nebraska’s five oldest communities. The town got its start in 1856 when 11 settlers crossed the Missouri River into Nebraska Territory and camped south of Aowa Creek. Land on the north side of the creek was Indian territory and marked off-limits. Two settlers, however, knocked down the warning signs and laid out a 24-block town. Flour and saw mills along the creek helped the town grow in its early years.
Sleepy Hollow Field in Red Willow County is Nebraska’s most productive oil field. It has produced more than 55.6 million barrels of oil since its discovery in 1960.
Cody was a notorious gambling and bootlegging center. A train-car load of sugar a week was used for manufacturing moonshine in hidden stills.
The Rogers Motor Car Co. in Ralston produced eight vehicles in the early 1900s.
A NAME BRAND
Dairy products from Beatrice Creamery Co. (started in 1894) were shipped across the nation early in the 20th century. The firm’s headquarters moved to Chicago in 1913, and the name changed to Beatrice Foods in 1946. The company has had the Meadow Gold brand since the 1890s.
GOOD BUSINESS SENSE
Nannie J. Osborne, who worked as a cook and housekeeper for the families of ranchers Ed Cook and Dr. George Towar, also was an astute businesswoman. She claimed a homestead as a head of household, and her 160 acres were along the railroad right-of-way in the new town site of Ainsworth. In addition to providing building sites for two churches — Congregational and Methodist — she filed a deed designating one full block for a courthouse. When the county was organized and Ainsworth was named seat of government, Osborne was ready.
TALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN
It is said Cairo got its name when a railroad surveyor thought the land around a water stop 14 miles west of Grand Island resembled the African desert. Street names followed the Egyptian theme: Alexandria, Egypt, Nile, Said, Suez, Syria and Thebe. The village promotes itself as an “Oasis of the Prairie.’’ (It should be noted: Nebraskans pronounce the town name Cairo: “Kare-Row,’’ not “Kye-Row.’’)
‘HOUSE OF NINES’
La Vista was created in 1959 by a developer who planned to sell 335 houses priced at $9,999 each. It soon became known as “House of Nines.” The village incorporated in 1960.
FIRST FINISHED INTERSTATE
Construction of 455.3 miles of Interstate 80 across the state was formally completed with a “Golden Link’’ embedded in the roadway west of Sidney in 1974. Nebraska was the first state to complete its mainline Interstate system. Work started in 1955.